best ofDIYdiy projectsDorm

Back To School: 16 Great Projects for Decorating Your Dorm

by Maxwell Tielman


If you’re a college student, the beginning of classes is likely right around the corner. With the beginning of the fall semester comes the requisite return of familiar friends, exorbitant textbook prices, sleepless nights, and the oh-so-dreaded Dorm Room. Even if you’re fortunate enough to be paired with a roomie who is even the slightest bit bearable, the whitewashed blandness of standard dorms leaves much to be desired in the way of comfort and beauty. If dorm decorating has you stumped (and who hasn’t been there?), here are 16 great, affordable ways to spruce up and personalize your space. They might not solve the snoring roommate issue, but they’ll certainly get your dorm feeling like home. —Max

1. Iron-Transfer Floral Bedding  (pictured above) — One of the first things you’ll need for your dorm is bedding, so why not make sure it’s pretty? Personalize it with images printed onto iron-on transfer paper. Check out the full DIY here.


2. Tape Picture Frames — Frames are a wonderful and organized way of displaying art on your wall. Unfortunately, they can also be pretty expensive, especially on a student budget. These “frames” are created using colorful and patterned tape—a pretty and cost-effective solution! Check out the full DIY here.


3. Faceted Wood Alarm Clock Digital alarm clocks are usually pretty unattractive. Try dressing yours up with some simple plywood! Check out the full DIY here.


4. Customized Beanbag Chair Cover — Beanbag chairs have been a dorm room staple for what seems like forever. Still, if various shades of neon plastic aren’t your thing, you might want to try making one of these easy-peasy covers. Check out the full DIY here.


5. Embellished Wood Pencil Block — You gotta have pencils (and pens), right? So why not display them nicely? Try your hand at this cute wooden pencil block, embellished with tiny nails. Check out the full DIY here.


6. Instagram Magnets — Your mini fridge probably looks awfully sad without anything on it. Dress it up a bit with these simple magnets using Instagram photos printed at the photo counter! Check out the full DIY here.


7. Secret Storage Books As a college student, there are likely instances in which you’d like to hide things from the prying eyes of roommates (ammiright?). Hide yo’ stuff in style with these faux books, crafted from cardboard boxes! Check out the full DIY here.


8. Hanging Notepad — Sometimes the best way to organize your thoughts is to have them written out in front of you. This hanging notepad, constructed from a tree branch, does the trick beautifully. Check out the full DIY here.


9. Budget-Friendly Mod Chandelier — Finding chic lighting at the campus bookstore can be difficult (or impossible) . Luckily, this stylish chandelier is easy on the eyes and the wallet. Check out the full DIY here.


10. Cat Magnets — Made with plastic figurines and gold spray paint, these gilded magnets are fancy, playful, and super easy to make. Perfect for magnet boards or decorating your mini-fridge! Check out the full DIY here.


11. Gold Nugget Bookends — As a college student, you’re pretty much guaranteed large amounts of books, papers, and course packets. Rather than having them stacked willy-nilly, try making these cute bookends! Check out the full DIY here.


12. Spool Hooks — Old spools of thread are relatively easy to come by at flea markets, making them perfect tools for craft projects. Here, they’ve been repurposed as hooks—perfect for jewelry or clothing. Check out the full DIY here.


13. Gem Pushpins — Dress up your bulletin board with these cast gem-shaped pushpins. They’ll add a touch of elegance to even the most mundane reminders. Check out the full DIY here.


14. Wax Paper Luminarias — Candles (and anything with a flame, for that matter) are restricted in pretty much every sort of dorm. You can still create a lovely ambiance with electric tea lights, though, and these wax paper holders are a lovely (and delightfully easy) way to house them. Check out the full DIY here.


15. Paper Picture Stand — This photo “frame,” constructed with just paper and tape, is surprisingly cute and couldn’t be easier to make. Check out the full DIY here.


16. Geometric Wall Hanging — An update on the whole paisley tapestry idea, this geometric hand-printed wall hanging is a great way to cover lots of wall space. It’s like wallpapering without all the hassle! Check out the full DIY here.

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