Whether you love to spend hours on dorm decoration or just want to do the bare minimum, it is undeniable that loving your dorm room is very important. After all, how comfortable you are with your personal space determines how much sleep you get, which affects your ability to get up for those 8am classes, which determines your GPA. I guess I’m going down a rabbit hole here, but I speak the truth. To help you find some decor inspiration before the semester gets too busy, I’ve compiled a list of a few commonly seen decor themes, as well as some essential items you’ll need for each. Check the Instagram handles for more inspo!
1. Urban Minimal
With minimalism, you’re looking at decor that is solely functional. I would say that anyone who would like to live in a neat, simple space would enjoy this theme. What ultimately brings personality into play are the minute details in placement and textures. Bright and natural lighting is key to this type of decor, so make sure you keep your curtains open whenever possible! If you’re looking to emulate this theme, I would recommend literally not buying any decor at all (other than essentials like bedding of course). Only make purchases when you find it absolutely necessary, and when you do, make sure to stick with the monochromatic blacks, whites, and grays. Other versions of the minimal theme also include neutral beiges, baby pink, and baby blue. If you generally have a lot of clutter in your room, try getting solid-colored organization pieces and storing your things inside (no one will ever see the mess in there, I promise).
2. Fancy and Luxurious
If you’ve ever seen a news article about the ultimate “gorgeous dorm room”, it was probably decorated according to this theme. There’s a reason why people are impressed at this though—it takes a ton of money, time, and effort to keep up the princess-y and luxurious feel of the room. I mean, you’re getting headboards, a million pillows, fur-lined everything, throw blankets, curtains… and all in white or pearl finish. So if you really want to be 100% extra and go all out, I give you all my respect. Just make sure you don’t eat that hamburger from Nasties on the white bed sheets. That being said, this theme is definitely more high maintenance than the rest, but you can find a lot of inexpensive dupes of the essentials at department stores.
This is one of the most popular types of dorm themes. Boho stands for Bohemian Homelessness, and was historically used to describe European refugees and travellers. Nowadays, much of the boho look is influenced by 1960s hippie culture. The trend was first popularly reflected in clothing and fashion (think Urban Outfitters), but rapidly spread to include decor. If you want your room to exude grunge and wanderlust vibes, this theme is perfect for you. It’s also super easy to maintain this theme, because you don’t really have to wash gray/brown/maroon decor. And another good thing about boho wall tapestries? A single tapestry fills your entire wall with color and personality—so you won’t need any other wall decor…
4. Wanderlust and Travel
Most of us are too broke and busy to actually travel, but at least we can pretend that we do. On first glance, dorms with this theme don’t look completely functional, but you’ll find that that a lot of the items double as useful organizers. For example, suitcases can be used as storage, and thick leather bound books can be used as book stoppers. Maybe the maps and globes are a little extra, but hey, that’s the point of decor right? One of the benefits of this theme is that you can personalize it to make it more vintage (with old leather and yellowing paper) or modern (with simple frames and quotes in contemporary fonts).
And last but not least, the nature theme! I’m not sure if it’s just in California, but succulents have been all the rage these years (maybe because of the drought?) and seem to be rising in popularity. They’re the little chubby-looking plants you see on super hipster Instagram and Tumblr accounts, and are rather modern. On the flip side, plants like herbs and vines can be a bit more difficult to handle for a dorm, just because they grow in wild directions, but the pro is that they are practically impossible to kill. Even if you don’t dig this nature-y theme, I would definitely recommend getting a small plant for your dorm—caring for it will literally cleanse your soul of unnecessary stress.
– Plants?!- Check out the nurseries in Ithaca
There are obviously a million other ways to decorate your dorm, but these are the five most characteristic styles I know of. Keep in mind that you can also mix these themes together when designing your own dorm! I hope that you have been inspired, and happy decorating!