The 10 Best DIY Dorm Décor Ideas

Posted -

Whether you’re moving in to a new dorm room or a new apartment, the start of the school year means new digs and an opportunity to make your space your own. Instead of purchasing a bunch of new decorations, why not DIY some new décor instead? Check out these craft ideas to take your drab, neutral-toned dorm room to the next level!

1. Dry-Erase Calendar


Keep yourself organized and your dorm cute with a calendar! Use this more visual method of organization to balance the many events and assignments in your day-to-day life. This craft from the blog The Aesthetic Writer is a great way to plan ahead.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 12-inch-by-16-inch frame
  • 35 2-inch-by-2-inch paint chips in various colors
  • Dry-erase marker

Directions:

  1. Organize the paint chip squares into seven columns and five rows, using the first row as the days of the week.
  2. Tape the paint chips to the blank side of the picture insert of the frame.
  3. Next, assemble the frame so that the colorful swatches are now behind the glass of the frame.
  4. Use a dry-erase marker to write on the glass of your new reusable calendar.

2. Scarf Organizer


You can never have too many scarves… except when you’re stuck in a cramped dorm room and have nowhere to put them. Make the most of your limited space and abundant wardrobe by using this scarf organizer from Stacy Vaughn’s blog to consolidate your massive collection.

What you’ll need:

  • Wire hangers
  • Masking tape
  • Scraps of fabric
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • A 20-ounce can

Directions:

  1. Straighten out the wire hangers using your pliers.
  2. Wrap the wire all the way around the can to give it a circular shape. Hold one end of the wire down while wrapping tightly because the wire will unwind and create a larger circle than the can when you’re finished.
  3. Cut each of your wire spirals into two wire rings. Tape the ends of the wire together to prevent any potential poking.
  4. Arrange the rings in any formation you’d like and tape them together where they meet.
  5. Next, cut your fabric scraps into one-inch-thick strips.
  6. Dab a bit of glue on the wire ring, and then wrap the strips around the glued area. Continue gluing and wrapping the fabric strips until all the wire is covered.
  7. Let the glue dry, and then you’re free to hang your scarves!

3. Rotating To-Do List


Instead of the usual to-do list you offhandedly maintain in the corner of your history notes, jazz up your nightly or weekly goals by organizing them in a fun, visually appealing way with this to-do list from Cornflower Blue Studio.

What you’ll need:

  • Card stock
  • Sticky notes
  • Markers

Directions:

  1. First, designate just how many goals on average you’d like to accomplish at a time. This example shows six spaces for to-do entries.
  2. Draw six squares (or however many goals you’d like) that are slightly larger than your sticky notes on one end of the card stock. At the top of the card stock, title your list however you’d like.
  3. Next to your title, draw a square slightly larger than your sticky notes denoting a space for a note that will state your deadline for accomplishing your set tasks.
  4. Finally, fill in the squares with notes, each describing one item on your to-do list.
  5. Take the sticky notes off your card stock when you’ve accomplished that goal.

4. Crate Seats


Storage space is limited in a 10-by-10 room you share with another person. Use this craft from the blog Tupelo Honey to maximize the space you do have while also creating more seating options for any guests who may stop by!

What you’ll need:

  • Plywood
  • Foam mattress pad
  • Fabric
  • File crates
  • Staple gun and staples

Directions:

  1. First, measure the plywood and fabric so that you have enough to cover the top opening of the crate. You want the cushions to be able to rest on top of the opening so you can still store things in the bin.
  2. Once you’ve measured everything out, cut the foam to match the size of the plywood squares.
  3. Next, cut the fabric so that it comfortably covers the foam and wraps around underneath the wood.
  4. Staple the fabric in place.
  5. Rest the cushion on top of the crate. Now you’re ready to store all of the potentially unnecessary things you brought to college in one fashionable place!

5. Cupcake Twinkle Lights


A colorful twist on the classic twinkle-light craze, this craft from the blog The Cubicle Chick uses cupcake wrappers and a strand of lights to beautify your space and give you a break from that fluorescent lighting.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 packages of different-size cupcake cups (one should fit inside the other)
  • 1 strand of twinkle lights
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

Directions:

  1. Before starting this craft, be sure to check the list of decorations and lights allowed in your room. Certain schools have different regulations for lighting fixtures.
  2. Take the large cupcake cups and cut a scalloped edge around each of them, creating the effect of flower petals.
  3. Next, do the same with the smaller cups or leave them circular.
  4. Glue each smaller cupcake cup inside each larger one.
  5. Once the glue has dried, use a pencil or the tip of the scissors to poke a hole in the center of the cups.
  6. Poke each light bulb through a hole in the cups. Make sure the holes aren’t too big so that the cups don’t fall off of the light bulb.

6. Burlap Wreath


This wreath craft from the BurlapWreath.com proves wreaths aren’t just for the winter months and holiday season! They can be hung year-round outside your dorm room, where you can decorate it for your roommate’s birthday and each season.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 12-inch metal wreath frame
  • 20 feet of 6-inch burlap ribbon
  • Floral wire to secure the burlap to the frame
  • Scissors to remove any excess ribbon

Directions:

  1. Tie the burlap ribbon to the innermost part of the wreath frame using the floral wire to fasten it in place.
  2. Pull about three inches of ribbon through the inner part of the wreath frame, creating a loop.
  3. Repeat this same process two more times, pulling about three inches of ribbon through the two other openings in the wreath.
  4. Flip the wreath over and repeat.
  5. Pull three inches of the burlap ribbon through the first opening, followed by the second and third.
  6. Then, flip the wreath back over to the front and continue this process until the remaining openings of the wreath frame are filled.
  7. Cut off any excess burlap ribbon, and secure the end of the ribbon with the floral wire.
  8. Add flowers, buttons, photos and anything else you want to place on your wreath to jazz it up.

7. Braided T-shirt Rug


Those old high school T-shirts aren’t doing you any good just collecting dust in the back of your closet at home. Use them to add a splash of color and personality to your new space while still holding on to the glory days. While this may be a bit of an ambitious DIY craft, this excellent tutorial from My Poppet will walk you through it.

What you’ll need:

  • About 13 old T-shirts, which makes the rug approximately 5 feet by 3 feet (the more shirts, the larger the rug)
  • Large needle
  • Yarn
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing thread, any color
  • Scissors
  • Hair clip to hold the braid in place when not working on it

Directions:

1. Cut your T-shirts horizontally into about 2-inch strips.


2. Next, braid, braid, braid. Take a combination of your fabric strips and begin to braid them together. Cut a hole in the end of each strip to thread a new strip through it to continue braiding without as much sewing.


3. Then, lay out your braid in the shape of the rug you desire. If you’re making an oval rug, lay out your long braid clockwise on the floor, starting with an approximately three-foot-long loop that will be the center of the rug.


4. Start sewing at the first turn or loop of the braid, snaking along the length of the braid.


5. Continue sewing your rug and wrapping your braid in a circular rotation until it is in the desired oval shape.


6. Finish it off by tucking the end of the braid under the rug and sewing it in place.

8. Homemade Mugs


This is the perfect present for your roommate who may or may not be a total stranger. Do you want to get her something, but you just don’t know her well enough? Make her a personalized mug as seen on Craftaholics Anonymous and fill it with miscellaneous candy that she will surely devour during a late-night study sesh.

What you’ll need:

  • Plain coffee mug
  • Sharpie
  • Rubbing alcohol

Directions:

  1. First, wipe the mug with alcohol and a paper towel to clean it.
  2. Draw on your design. Try a funny quote, a picture or a name—anything works!
  3. Wait 24 hours, and then put the mug into a cold oven right on the rack.
  4. Next, set the oven to 425 degrees, and set the timer for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the mug has been in the oven for 30 minutes, turn the oven off, but leave the mug in the oven until it has completely cooled off, which could take several hours.
  6. Finally, hand-wash the mug and run it through the dishwasher just to make sure your design stays on.

9. Stencil Pillow


Throw pillows are decorative and chic, and they look even better personalized! You don’t have to stick to the ones that came with your comforter set; you can create your own pillow design to add a bit of zest to your sleeping space using this tutorial from Wit & Whistle.

What you’ll need:

  • Pillow or pillowcase
  • Cardboard (for added stability if you’re using a pillowcase)
  • Pencil
  • Letter stencil
  • Fabric marker

Directions:

  1. Pick a quote or favorite saying to stencil onto the pillow.
  2. Next, if you’re using a pillowcase, put the cardboard inside to make sure the marker doesn’t bleed through to the other side and to keep the fabric stretched out.
  3. Sketch your letters onto the fabric of the pillow or pillowcase using a pencil and the stencil. This will help you figure out spacing and give you a chance to fix mistakes before graduating to the permanent marker.
  4. Once you’ve penciled everything in, you can remove the stencil to color in the letters with the marker more freely and easily.
  5. Let the marker ink dry for several hours, and then plop your pillow on your bedding.

10. Flower Wall Display


For those collegiettes with a green thumb, living in a 10-foot-by-10-foot dorm can make gardening a bit difficult. However, it’s still possible to put fresh flowers on display in a cute way with these flower cones, as seen on the blog Oh So Very Pretty.

What you’ll need:

  • A few sheets of 8.5-inch-by-11-inch cardstock (each sheet makes two cones, so however many you want, divide that number by two, and that is the number of cardstock sheets you need)
  • Scissors
  • Tape of any sort
  • Hole punch
  • String
  • Flowers

Directions:

  1. Cut the 8.5-inch-by-11-inch cardstock paper in half (landscape) so the size of the paper is now 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches.
  2. Roll the sheets into cones.
  3. Secure each cone in place by taping each cone along its edge.
  4. Punch two holes near the top of the cone on opposite sides of the cone.
  5. Next, cut the string into various lengths ranging from 3 feet long to 6 feet long, depending on how high and low you’d like these cones to hang.
  6. Pull the string through both holes of the cone so that it can be seen cutting across the middle of the inside of the cone.
  7. Hang the cones at various heights along the wall using whatever form of wall fixtures your dorm allows (Command hooks, nails, pushpins, etc.).
  8. Add fresh flowers to the cones. Cut the flowers to a length that allows the blossoms to be clearly seen over the top of the cones.

Crafting is not for the faint of heart. It takes dedication, patience and quite possibly all the supplies available in an elementary school art room. However, it’s not hard to go from dull and boring to eye-catching with your dorm room—you just have to know where to start! Now get crafting!

About The Author

Marisa is a sophomore at the University of Missouri - Columbia (Mizzou), where she is pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Magazine Writing and a minor in Spanish. In addition to writing for Her Campus, she is an avid blogger of all things boys on her blog lifeisarom-com.blogspot.com.

A Saint Louis native, she’s a Midwestern girl with big dreams. After graduation, she hopes to put her love of writing to work by becoming a contributing writer at one of her favorite magazines: Allure, Glamour and Seventeen. But until then, she’s perfectly content with spending time with family and friends and sipping strawberry-banana smoothies by the pool.