A movie poster, a collegiate pendant, a psychedelic tapestry haphazardly hung with thumbtacks—at one time these items constituted the full extent of dorm room ideas for students across America. But these days, many college kids have upgraded their approach, swapping in custom pieces in place of standard-issue furniture, investing in high-quality quilts rather than average bed-in-a-bag sheets, and even hiring professional interior designers. “Last year, we did 10 dorms in one day—it was a marathon,” says Dawn Thomas, the principal designer at After Five Designs in Jackson, Mississippi. Thomas and her team have decked out dorms from Tennessee to Southern California.
Whether they’re leaning on the pros or sourcing dorm room ideas from dorm-centric online shops—like Dormify and Room 422—college students are paying extra attention to dorm room design. That’s why we’ve reached out to the experts to get the scoop on dorm room decorating ideas, which Frances Lacefield Hovis, founder of Room 422, says really boils down to three principals. “The key is to create a space that reflects your style, is functional, and makes you feel comfortable during your time in the dorm.”