austinou88

How could I make my dorm room look better?

Austin
last month
last modified: last month

I'm a guy, live in a dorm with a roomate, and my side of the room is just so empty. What are some things I could add to make my side of the room look better? I'm open to anything.










Comments (53)

  • jay06

    What's your passion or something you're really interested in? Think about it and find some artwork that expresses it. Think about the music you love, science you're interested in, movies you've liked, sports teams you follow. Find art that expresses your personality. But hey, be proud that you keep your side of the room so neat!

    Austin thanked jay06
  • bpath reads banned books too

    That's really interesting dorm furniture, btw. I've visited plenty of dorms and they all have the same furniture, but not like that. But, didn't they provide a chair?

    Austin thanked bpath reads banned books too
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  • Trish Walter

    Wall over Bed -- a Big Map / Banner / or A collection of smaller pictures/posters that = big. Wall over head: a smaller poster / picture on wall; some accessories on shelf with a nice lamp. Better Chair or bean bag. Nice throw blanket to add color to bed. Looks nice and neat.

    some ideas.



    [picture lamp on shelf below]




    not sure what's on tall chest on right but perhaps a nice basket up there also.

    Austin thanked Trish Walter
  • christine 5b

    I agree with the others, you need something on the walls, I also agree putting plants on the headboard shelf with a cool lamp, maybe string some lights around the window which needs curtains. If money is tight find the local thrift shops, you'd be amazed what great stuff you can find in there at awesome $$.

    Please post pictures after your done, we love seeing before and after....

    Austin thanked christine 5b
  • katrina_ellen

    You need a reading lamp. Any other needs? Make it comfortable and efficient, which would be my main goals, Add whatever floats your boat. Art, objects, etc. Have fun with it.

    Austin thanked katrina_ellen
  • rocoad123

    Instead of artwork on the big wall I would hang a tapestry. There are tons of choices on Amazon and much cheaper than even framed posters. It would add color and pattern. You can hang it with Command Strips so you don’t damage the wall. You could also hang twinkle lights on the wall above head of the bed. They are a great way to add ambiance! Google “string lights bedroom“ and you will see lots of great ideas. A nicer desk chair and something to hide the garbage can, like a side table. I’m posting a pic of my son’s dorm room for ideas. You could add some pillows for more color!


    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • soyu1962


    Pictures can add a lot of colors and personalities to the walls, there are also some awesome wall decals nowadays, trees, landscapes, your favorite objects, etc., add a lamp to the headboard, a decorative object (or a plant) to the top of the cabinet. Have fun and make it special!

    Austin thanked soyu1962
  • Jill Krol

    When your friends come over, they will probably sit on the bed. I would get some body pillows -- you'll need 2 -- to line the length of the bed so there's something to lean against. Put up a tapestry, add a bulletin board and a poster over the bed, some low light plants on the headboard that are upright rather than sprawling (you don't want them hitting you in the face while you sleep) and maybe for the window, and a lamp for the headboard. Unless it is a pull-out table top from the armoire, I don't see a desk. Get a small table (30" wide) you can fold up and put it by the window so you can do homework (believe it or not, college is not just about partying). Get another lamp for this table, which can probably go on the window sill. Put the trash can under it rather than by the bed. Put a plant stand type table next to the bed for tissues or whatever. Ask your roommate if he cares about the lights before you spend the money on LED strips. Use another color rather than navy (keeping everything you already have but adding the 3rd color).

    Austin thanked Jill Krol
  • simplynatural

    Is your roommate's side of the room a mirror image of yours? Is the window wall long enough to take the two beds foot-to-foot? If that's possible, turning the beds like that would make better use of the center of the room, giving you the look of a long sofa under the window. Your dresser/desk could go where your headboard is now, leaving usable space between bed and dresser for a nice chair and a bedside table or small low bookcase with a lamp. (Ceiling lights only are depressing, like jail cells; rooms need warm lamplight to feel welcoming.) Add something that you love on the walls, maybe a bigger rug, books, plants: home sweet home!

    Austin thanked simplynatural
  • K R

    I think a tapestry would be great on the wall. My daughter has a huge celestial one on her dorm wall, along with a million pictures of friends and family - yes printed out ones LOL! She had me print them for her before she left. Also definitely get a closed garbage can... your nose will thank you! 😉

    Austin thanked K R
  • who? me?

    Hey Austin,


    I’m assuming you’re new to this college/dorm thing, so congrats on entering a great new phase in your life.


    A word of caution: Yes, you’ll absolutely want to personalize your space. But always keep the size/weight/volume of your stuff in mind. You’ve got a small space to work with in the first place. And anything you bring into that space will have to be dealt with at the end of the year.

    I helped a family member move out of her dorm a while back. The sheer volume of stuff all the kids had accumulated over the school year and were having to deal with in the crazy rush to move out for the summer was truly mind boggling.


    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/18788923/ns/us_news-giving/t/trashed-college-students-leave-lot-behind/


    Anything you do to minimize weight and volume will pay off later. A poster that can be rolled or folded will be a fraction of the hassle of one that’s in a frame. As much as I hate to admit it (because I love books and still have almost all of my textbooks), getting as many of your textbooks in e-formats as possible rather than paper will go a long way in simplifying your life. Fight the urge to get any piece of furniture. But if you feel you must have some extra bit, get something that folds up or can be dismantled.


    A least you young’ens have streaming and downloads for music these days. We old-farts had to haul around records, cassettes and CD’s everywhere we went. (Uphill, both ways, in a blizzard. ;-) )


    Since you’re stuck with your school’s generic furniture, I would try to disguise/personalize it. A white board over one door and cork board over the other of the armoire would cover a lot of the generic surface area with something functional. Hanging some sort of organizers over the sides of the armoire and headboard would produce similar improvements.


    I would be tempted to maybe add one little piece of useless stuff for color/interest/conversation, like a pile of Legos or a lava lamp.

    Austin thanked who? me?
  • barb13l

    The walls need dressing. Poster, pictures, wall sculpture. Should be a subject you are interested in. For the headboard: Lighting, a lamp so you can read in bed. A box of tissues and a container for all your small items like a watch, ring, fitbit, etc. Do you have a hobby? Perhaps something from that on the wall. Hang your guitar on the wall on an angle to make it interesting. Do you have a collection? Work that into an arrangement. Hope I helped.

    Austin thanked barb13l
  • Austin

    I really appreciate all the advice. What do you think of some of these pieces of art, do you think any of them would look good above the bed? https://imgur.com/a/22C9QXs

  • soyu1962

    Are you into science? I like the map, the double helix, and the cosmo ones. It also depends on what is your favorite color. The ones I mentioned will make you look smart, but the skull one is fun.

    Austin thanked soyu1962
  • rocoad123

    I would vote for the map or the cosmos because of their shape (horizontal) and because they both have blue in them, which goes with the comforter. I’m assuming you are asking about the long wall. If you are asking about the wall above the head if the bed, then I would choose a vertical format instead.

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • Austin

    How big would you recommend the Cosmos one being if I hang it up on the long wall? Something like this, or is there an ideal size you should have the wall art be based upon the dimensions of your bed?


  • rocoad123

    That looks about right! I wouldn’t go any smaller.

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • Austin

    For above the headboard, do you think this would look good?




    It also comes in different colors.



    Or would something like this be better? (also, I just changed around the placement of the bed)

  • rocoad123

    Either of those will work. I would also consider using your own photos to get a collage poster made. Artwork is a personal choice. You should put up what you like best!

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • soyu1962

    The size of the cosmo picture is about right. If you introduce another above the headboard, you want to compliment the colors of that since they are so close together. The planet picture will keep things in the same theme, and I like the blue (if that's your favorite color), or something even brighter but in the similar color group of the cosmo picture. I strongly suggest you use a large picture board or message board above the headboard (you can find ideas or products online, or better, make your own). You can tuck your pictures, pin messages/schedules on it; it's functional but sterile.

    Austin thanked soyu1962
  • who? me?

    Gotta agree with rocoad123, art's very personal. You do you.

    It's also not permanent. If you like something now but get tired of it later, you can always change it.

    One place I will weigh in, big props for choosing a flag that's U.S. made with sewn and embroidered details. That's quality you can fly proudly for many years to come.

    Austin thanked who? me?
  • rocoad123

    Walgreens has 50% off all photo products right now. I like the idea of a large bulletin board!

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • barb13l

    Austin I very much liked "The magic of the internet" poster. Think of it as an explosion of the mind, learning , thinking. Fits a dorm room.

    Austin thanked barb13l
  • l pinkmountain

    When I was back in college, I splurged on high quality, colorful sheets. Nothing beats nice thick cotton percale sheets for comfort. White is great but colors are easier to wash and not look yellowed. Once you get the artwork up, maybe sheets that match one of the colors in the art. Also incandescent lighting can make such a difference in the "feel" of a dorm room. Those florescent overhead lights should not be used unless you need to blast yourself awake in the morning. You would not believe what a difference soft lighting can make to your mood. Those were two of my best investments in dorm life. That and I should have gotten a really nice area rug. One made of high quality materials, natural if possible like cotton or wool. I finally got one late in the game. The cheap ones are colorful but worthless. Sometimes you can get good deals on a carpet remnant. That's how I finally got a nice rug for my first apartment.

    Austin thanked l pinkmountain
  • Austin





    So I changed the position of where the bed was, and put it against the window. Do you think this looks better, or should I put it back to how I had it before?


    Also, I was wondering if this white blanket looked better than the blueish one I had before? I also bought a lamp, and plant to put on the headboard. Is this the best spot to place them on it at?

  • rocoad123

    I definitely like the white better than the previous blue. It looks fresher and brighter. I do like that blue throw with it, especially with your rug! I don’t like seeing the plugs above the bed. If you hung a tapestry there, you could hide them. Otherwise I would switch it back and get an extension cord for the lamp. If you keep it in this position, I would consider a small nightstand table.

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • Olychick

    It looks really nice - the white with the dark blue looks great. I like the position of the bed - the plugs don't bother me - it's a dorm room! If they bother you, maybe look for some string lights to hang there. They have really fun ones, not all are too girly...these are kind of fun...LED with clear clothespins to hang pics or postcards or whatever....

    paper lantern string lights

    or if you're science minded: test tube lights



    Or even something like one of these - there are many more colors and styles on the website https://www.paperlanternstore.com/starlamps.html:
    Or even one of their large globe paper lanterns would look great in the corner above the head of your bed.

    Austin thanked Olychick
  • Austin

    How would you recommend arranging the items on the headboard and armourie?

  • Olychick

    I think in a dorm room you have to be a little more utilitarian than decorative for things like that. Your room looks neat and clean and the things you need are at hand. The little plants are a nice touch, as is the fabric box. Look for some decorative things to put on the walls and enjoy your nice room.

    Austin thanked Olychick
  • barb13l

    Austin I agree with Olychick. Keep what you need there and keep it neat. Something nice on walls.

  • Austin

    So for above the headboard, would a vertical piece of Canvas art be good, or would a bulletin board/message board look better?

  • Olychick

    What are the white rectangles? Can they be covered by a piece of art on canvas or do you need to be able to use them?

    Austin thanked Olychick
  • Austin

    Its just a Wall and Cable outlet. I never use them, so covering them up wouldn't be any issue.

  • Olychick

    I'd be inclined to look for a large painting you like, maybe a frame less one on stretched canvas, which would cover that whole area including the outlets. There are lots of places that sell inexpensive pieces like that (since it's for a dorm room you just have to like it, not look at is as an investment)....Pier one, World Market, Ikea, etc.

    I sorted these by "under $100" Inexpensive wall art

    It could be anything you'd love to look at every day, but this is the shape I was thinking, if you can get it big enough to center above the headboard and still cover the outlets:



    The above one is $99 at World Market

    Or a horizontal piece, that you could center, yet still cover the boxes. Or two or three pieces hung horizontally.

    Also, when things return to normal, you can look at goodwill and thrift stores for even better deals.

    If you need a bulletin board, I'd probably put one on the inside of a cupboard/closet door to minimize the visual clutter.

    Austin thanked Olychick
  • Austin

    Here's an updated picture of what the room is looking like currently. (I had to photoshop the map on the wall, since it hasn't arrived in the mail yet).




    I like a lot of the pieces they have in this shop on Etsy. Do you think anyone of them in particular might go well, and complement the other colors in the room?

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/LDawningScott?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=260946703&page=1#items

  • rocoad123

    Love the lights Austin! I think the map is great. It goes with the colors and the size is perfect.

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • rocoad123

    I just looked back at your first photos. You have come a long way since then. It’s looking really great! The only other thing I would do is something above the head of the bed.

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • Austin

    I really appreciate it! I've received some great suggestions and help from everybody.


    I'm still trying to figure out what art to put above the headboard. I know I need something that's in a vertical layout.


    I like this piece, but I don't think it would fit in with the other colors. Here's the shop on Etsy that sells it- https://www.etsy.com/shop/LDawningScott?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=260946703


  • Olychick

    Since you have the one large map already, I might look for 2 or 3 smaller pieces (not too small) to hang horizontally above the bed. You could pull the bed away from the wall a bit to make it a little easier to make up and also center it more on the headboard wall.


    I would not hang a vertical piece there because of the height of the headboard, the art will have to be hung too high and won't look right. Something horizontal or a horizontal arrangement can be hung closer to the top of the headboard/lower down and will look more a part of your furniture arrangement.


    You're doing a great job!

    Austin thanked Olychick
  • rocoad123

    I agree. Two or three smaller pieces would look better now that you have the map on the other wall.

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • Olychick

    PS, I would look for a piece or pieces of a size that will put the upper part of the frame fairly even with the upper part of the map when you hang it. And how you've photoshopped it hanging looks wonderful. As do the lights.

    Austin thanked Olychick
  • Austin


    Would something like any of these look okay, or should I go for something bigger/ a different color?

  • rocoad123

    what are the dimensions?

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • Austin

    Dimensions:
    1.) https://www.etsy.com/listing/453092046/canvas-wall-decor-large-abstract-wall?ref=lp_rv-3
    2.) 24" x 16" x 3 panels or 36" x 24" x 3 panels
    3.) 24" x 16" x 3 panels or 36" x 24" x 3 panels

  • Olychick

    the best thing you could do is use some paper and/or tape and do a mock up of the different sizes. I think the one shown over the couch is definitely too big and the last one looks like it's the same too large size. The first come in many different sizes, so I'd experiment with tape/paper to see which works best. But, personally, I think that style is a little incongruent with the map.

    Are you sure you think you need something over the headboard? With the large graphic map and the lights, I think you should call it done. It looks terrific as it is.

    Austin thanked Olychick
  • rocoad123

    I have an idea! How about sitting the artwork on the shelf rather than hanging it on the wall. I would get something tall enough to cover the outlets and no wider than a third of the shelf. Move the Kleenex to lower shelf where your fan is. Move plant to your windowsill. Now you will have three items on your shelf that are all different sizes and shapes. Put the artwork off center to the left, turn the bin lengthwise and put in center and lamp in the right. What is the distance from the upper shelf to above the outlets?

    Austin thanked rocoad123
  • Austin

    I really like that idea Rocoad! The distance from the upper shelf to the top of the outlets is 21.5inches. The width of the headboard is 42inches.

  • Austin

    Also, what color nightstand would you recommend getting? I'd like to try and find something that's level with the top of my mattress, which would need to at least 31.5inch in height. If not, I could always buy something to put under the legs to lift it a little bit in height.


    - Overstock Nightstands

    - Wayfair Nightstands

    - Ashley Furniture Nightstands

    - Home Depot Nightstands

    - Amazon Nightstands

    - Ikea Nightstands

  • rocoad123

    I would get a natural wood. It’s very versatile If you use it somewhere else later and easier to maintain compared to painted ones because the paint chips off.

  • rocoad123

    Also get one with storage!

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