Depending on your budget, you might want to help give your teen’s college room a style upgrade from the dorm essentials that all first-year college students need. Some extras can make any dorm feel cozier, and more personal and can reflect their unique personalities and interests.
Note: Check the Residence Life section of the college website to find out what items are prohibited before making a mistake on a decor purchase.
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Choosing a comforter and sheets is typically the first step toward picking a particular style for a dorm room, and there are dozens of sites where your teen can look.
Dormify has a stylish selection of dorm bedding, pillows, and accessories. Your teen can use their “bed visualizer” and chat with a stylist about room ideas at this online retailer.
Another favorite site is Pottery Barn Teen Dorm which emphasizes quality and sustainable merchandise in its wide range of styles. Check out their new collaboration with LoveShackFancy for some very cute decor ideas.
If your teen wants to see and feel the fabrics, Target has a wide range of dorm merchandise with thousands of bricks and mortar stores.
Target has an extensive selection of college dorms shopping online and in stores. These reversible comforters offer great style, especially for the price point, and allow your teen to switch their look by simply making their bed differently.
No nails decor
Colleges typically prohibit nails, so look for decor that uses adhesives (if the dorm allows that) to create a look your teen will love. Some adhesive strips are included in the following decorative items, but pack Command double-sided strips and hooks along with your toolbox when you help move your teen into their dorm.
Smart headboard (Pottery Barn Teen)
These cute headboards solve two big problems with dorm beds — an uncomfortable wall to lean back on and a lack of a covenant plug to charge electronics. Stylish and functional, this smart headboard would be a much-appreciated addition to your teen’s dorm room.
Large bolster pillow (Amazon)
An alternative to a headboard is this large triangular bolster pillow, which is large enough to prop up while in bed but comfortable enough to sleep on. It is available in seven colors and comes in different widths.
Wall organizer (Pottery Barn Teen)
Staying organized in a tiny shared space is a challenge for most students, and this desk organizer can be a big help. Pair it with a matching pinboard for notes, photos, and more for a stylish, functional look. Both mount with 3M double-sided adhesive strips (included.)
Tapestry (Pottery Barn Teen)
Lightweight tapestries help disguise ugly dorm walls and can be stylish complements to your teen’s bedding choices.
This one at Pottery Barn Teen is gorgeous (and what a dreamy space if your teen needs a room divider), but there are many different styles, including sports imagery and world maps. They have loops that make them easy to attach to the wall (or ceiling) with Command Hooks.
Society6 also has an exciting and unique selection of tapestries, posters, and wall coverings designed by artists. Once your teen finds a print they like, they can choose from a selection of sizes to cover as much of a dreary dorm wall as possible.
Look for the offer for a 25% discount for students!
Garland with lights (Amazon)
Ivy garlands are very popular now; this one has tiny lights that offer magic forest illumination.
LED strip lights (Amazon)
These come with remote control and can be synced to music via Bluetooth.
Display ledge (Amazon)
The maker makes these easy-to-install ledges of Command strips and can be fixed to walls with enclosed strips. They are available in different lengths and finishes.
Buying oversize flags is a popular way to cover dorm walls, and they become instant conversation items as your son or daughter gets to know their roommate and hallmates.
Check out Fanatics for a wide selection of officially-licensed team flags and banners for the NCAA and many pro teams.
Butterfly chair (Amazon)
Extra seating, for when friends drop by or when your student wants a comfy place to read, is accessible with this folding butterfly chair. Personalize with a pillow or throw blanket. This chair is available in several colors.
Elevated storage rack (Amazon)
This storage rack can serve multiple purposes: placed between elevated beds, one of the two adjustable shelves can be used as a nightstand. A mini-fridge can fit underneath it, and the other shelf can be used for nonperishable snacks and supplies. No tools are required for assembly.
Desk hutch (Amazon)
If your teen’s college desk does not have a bookcase or storage unit on top, this is a great addition. A desk hutch can store books and supplies and has space for a few personal items, like photos or other reminders of home.
Study and desk organization
If your teen loves to stay organized — or if you want to help them become better organized as a college student — consider getting one of these gorgeous planners. A college professor created the Centered Student Planner to help students with time management, including many tips and positive messages to help them stay on track. It is available in several fantastic colors.
Buy the College Bundle with coordinating pens, pencils, stickers, and more at savings.
Rolling cart (Target)
This cute little cart is one of the most versatile dorm items. It can be used for makeup, snacks, paper towels, mugs, etc., and works equally well for storage in a bathroom as in a dorm room. Available in three colors.
Folding ottoman chair (dormify)
This is an excellent solution for stashing stuff and providing extra seating.
Peel-and-stick wallpaper (dormify)
Dormify has an extensive collection of stick-on wallpaper in many cute colors and patterns.
Vinyl peel-and-stick decals (Amazon)
For an easy splash of color, look at these inexpensive dots that can be easily arranged on a dorm wall. It comes in dozens of colors.
Photo Display (dormify)
Decorate with photos from home with this cute frame set with clips to hang your favorite images.
Bed shelf (Amazon)
Another popular idea for creating a nightstand for an elevated bed is this shelf that attaches to the bed stand.
Area rugs (Pottery Barn Teen)
Pottery Barn Teen has an excellent selection of area rugs including washable rugs.
Look at how elegant this student’s dorm room looks with the cutout monogram above her bed. It can be painted (and repainted) to match her decor choices.
Buying matching pillows with each roommate’s initials can help combine two styles in one simple step. Dormify has a fantastic selection of throw pillows to match any style.
You Might Also Want to Read:
Favorite College Dorm Room Ideas – Adorable and Easy
The 12 Things All Freshmen Need to Bring to College
College Checklist: The Most Popular Freshmen Dorm Extras