11 Ways to Designate Different Rooms in Your Dorm Room

Find room in your dorm for every room in the house.

Confession: I never lived in a dorm room. Since I went to school in the same city I grew up in, I figured there was really no point in spending a ton of money for a tiny, shared room. And truthfully, I was mostly okay with that decision…until after college. Once I saw just how fun it could be to take that small, basic room and turn it into a stylish, functional home away from home, I immediately regretted never having had that experience.

Cork Board Dorm Room Decorations

No Nail Dorm Decorating Featuring Painted Cork Hexagons, Turquoise Duvet Cover and Colorful Throw Pillows

Deck out your dorm room with stylish decor ideas that won't break the rules, like this wall of painted hexagon-shaped cork pieces, attached to the wall with removable adhesive strips. You can paint the cork in hues that compliment your color scheme. Placing them over the bed allows you take advantage of wall space and display pictures and personal items without taking up any counter space.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

I want to see if I can survive on ramen for months at a time! I want to have a scary roommate who proves to be a misunderstood sweetheart by the end of the semester! But sadly, it’s too late for me. But not for you! That’s why I’m showing you just how incredible a dorm room can really be with a peek into a REAL-LIFE college dorm room that our own Marianne Canada decked out for HGTV.com.

We’re going to break it down by room. Yep, you read that right. It may technically be one small room, but with these awesome ideas, there’s a place for everything, including a totally adorable kitchen. Believe it.


Turquoise Washi Tape Door Decor

Dorm Room Takeover From Door "Hello" Turquoise Washi Tape Geometric Design

Make your dorm door stand out with a ceiling-to-floor greeting to your fellow dorm dwellers. To recreate this look, use scraps of painter's tape to divide your door into five equal sections, then outline each letter with colorful wash tape. Go back and add geometric details, if desired.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

Most homes don’t just open straight into the bedroom, right? That’s why a welcoming entryway is the perfect start to your well-designed home. Plus, a bright, friendly saying is bound to make your dorm a primo destination spot.


Contemporary Dorm Room Bed Decor

Dorm Room Takeover Turquoise Cat Duvet Cover, Mixed Throw Pillows and Painted Hexagon Cork Boards

Painted cork hexagons highlights the color scheme and creates an abstract art installation that won't break the bank. Mix and match big and small patterns and textures on throw pillows for a designer look. Using a duvet cover allows you to easily and affordably change up your bed when the mood strikes.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

Your bed will definitely be the focal point of the room, so don’t you think you deserve a comfy spot that’s just as stylish as it is cozy?

Contemporary Dorm Room Nightstand

Dorm Room Takeover Colorful Nightstand Decor With Patterned Adhesive Top and Stainless Steel Lamp Under Hexagon Cork Board

Save money on dorm room decorating by bringing items from home and restyling them in a fresh, new way. Vivid colors create a bright and bold display perfect for showcasing personal style. The hexagonal corkboard wall doubles as wall-mounted storage for favorite necklaces and bracelets.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

I know what you’re thinking. "That colorful memo board is so cute, but you can’t put anything on dorm walls." Think again, my friend.

Dorm Room Wood Wardrobe

Dorm Room Wardrobe Decor With Over-The-Door Hooks Displaying a Poncho and Handbag

Fashion is art, so why not put it on display? Show off your favorite clothing pieces and accessories (or just tomorrow's outfit) on over-the-door hooks for added color in your dorm room decor.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

And with your love of decor, we just know you’re a style star as well. Try cute baskets above the wardrobe and an over-the-door hook or two for extra space and a cute way to display your favorite pieces.


Dorm Room Mini Refrigerator and Food Storage

Dorm Room Takeover

Mini refrigerators are useful, but they aren't all that attractive. Personalize your dorm room refrigerator using strips of washi tape. We created an abstract stripe design with metallic gold tape. Chalkboard adhesive over the freezer allows you to further personalize the appliance. A light turquoise stacked shelf creates a cute and useful pantry for food and kitchen accessory storage.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

Guys. This kitchen setup makes me so sad I’m not allowed to have a mini fridge by my desk. But a totally versatile snack cart? That sounds like a pretty good compromise.

Chalkboard Dorm Freezer

Chalkboard Adhesive Dorm Room Freezer Cover With Gold Lettering and Pink Magnets

Turn a dorm freezer into a reusable spot for notes and grocery lists by adding a sheet of removable chalkboard adhesive. Metallic accents and colorful magnets give instant personality and color to the small space.

As if you needed another reason why washi tape is one of the best, most versatile inventions ever, this fridge will be your friendly, fashionable reminder. The chalkboard decal isn't bad either.

Rolling Storage Cart

Turquoise Rolling Cart For Moveable Food and Kitchen Accessories Storage in Dorm Room

Dorm room space is at a premium, so movable furniture is key. That's why we love this rolling, open storage. It's perfect for pantry storage, and you can steal a shelf for beauty essentials or office supplies when your kitchen stash is running low.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

You’re not likely to find a lot of storage space in your dorm room, but seriously, you’ll be amazed just how much a rolling storage cart can come in handy.

Coffee Service Set Up

Cute Coffee Setup for Dorm Room Life With Bacon and Eggs Mugs and Glass Storage Jars

College and coffee go together like bacon and eggs. Dress up a pair of inexpensive mugs with a fun permanent marker design, and keep coffee-making essentials on hand. If your dorm rules don't allow hot plate-style coffee pots, bring a French press or pod-style coffee maker. Glass jars are the perfect storage containers for beans and sugar.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

Will you have a roommate this year? These oh-so-cute bacon and egg mugs are the perfect way to say, “Wow, we both like coffee! Now let’s be best friends forever…” Or, you know, ”Nice to meet you.”

Living Room

Layered Rugs Under Dorm Coffee Table

Layered Textured Rugs Under Dorm Room Table With White Tabletop and Gold and Turquoise Breakfast Tray

Dress cold, bare dorm room floors with indoor-outdoor rugs that are inexpensive and hold up to a lot of traffic and spills. Here, we layered a black polypropylene rug on top of a larger sisal rug to add style and texture to the space. The black rug allows the white table top to pop, while the additional rugs compliment the light gold and turquoise tones of the breakfast tray.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

It would be easy to let your entire dorm room be one big, messy bedroom with no purpose. But a rolling coffee table shows that you really know how to plan a space and make the most of it. Plus, it can be rolled under the bed when not in use. Win, win.

Contemporary White Coffee Table

Dorm Room Takeover DIY Coffee Table With Drawer Storage and White Tabletop With Turquoise and Gold Breakfast Tray

Short on storage? Try this DIY shelf hack. We turned two wall shelves into a mobile coffee table by adding two sets of casters and mending plates. It can hold makeup, games, craft supplies and more! And when you need more space, you can simply roll it under the bed.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

Bonus: The drawers create perfect storage for craft supplies, playing cards and beauty supplies.


Wallpaper Covered Dorm Desk

Dorm Room Desk Top Covered With White and Gold Peony Patterned Wallpaper Layered Over Blue and White Wallpaper

Dorm room furniture can be pretty plain, but there's a quick solution — removable wallpaper! Mix and match patterns to create a layered look. Here, we paired a large, organic floral pattern with a smaller, structured geometric X pattern.

From: HGTV Crafternoon

Photo by: Jennie Andrews Photography

Jennie Andrews Photography

I saved it for last, but chances are, you will have to do some homework. But at least you can do it in a chic office space with just a little customization. Use removable wallpaper in a few coordinating prints for an instant update your neighbors will envy.

40 DIY Dorm Room Ideas

See All Photos

Shop This Look

Next Up

Dorm Room Decorating: Must-Know Tips From College Students

You may think a bland dorm room holds no decorating potential, but just wait. We have savvy design and storage tips to turn your new college digs into home sweet home.

Dorm Life Realities Every Freshman Needs to Know

It's not parties and sleepovers every night.

Low-Maintenance Plants for Dorm Rooms

These succulents aren't just beautiful, they're super low-maintenance, too. Plant them in bright, hand-painted pots and they instantly become the perfect addition to an apartment or dorm room.

How to Make a Multipurpose Room Divider

Separate your spaces with a multifunctional room divider that is upholstered in a patterned fabric on one side and painted with chalkboard paint on the other.

Make Your Desk Accessory Set

Use various containers like Mason jars, vases and tin cans to create a matching desk accessory set that will keep all your school essentials organized and within reach.

Take Your Workspace From Drab to Fab With These 10 DIY Office Refresh Ideas

Feeling uninspired at work? Boost creativity by giving your boring office a chic update.

How to Ombre Dip-Dye a Duvet Cover

Transform a simple set of white bedding into a fresh and modern masterpiece with your favorite color dye and just a few hours.

Turn a Flea Market Frame Into a Wipe-Off Board

Every college dorm room needs a wipe-off board for messages from friends and to jot down to-do lists. Use a flea market frame and a funky fabric to create a one-of-a-kind message board that will make your space look chic.

How to Make a Recycled T-Shirt Rug

Don't throw away those old T-shirts — they can easily be turned into a one-of-a-kind doormat to decorate the inside of your dorm room.

How to Make a Fabric Pouf Ottoman

A multipurpose decor item, this fabric pouf can be used as an ottoman, extra seating for guests or as a coffee table with a tray on top. Use a fun, patterned fabric that matches the other decor in your dorm room.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.