Categories: Do It Yourself

10 DIY Dorm Decor Ideas For You When You Go Back To College

DIY dorm decor is a great solution when you want to decorate your dorm on a budget! If you have a little extra time and want to add your own personalized touches to your room, here are 10 DIY dorm decor ideas to help you get started! Whether you’re a freshman moving into a brand new room or already have a dorm but want to spruce it up a bit, these ideas are stylish, easy and will brighten up your room in no time!

1.) Recycled T-Shirt Rug

Recycled t-shirt rug: a creative and budget-friendly way to help cover up and brighten those dreary dorm floors. This DIY dorm decor idea will make a unique and stylish rug, and is a great way to re-purpose those old and worn-out tees that we all have. You’ll need about 5-8 t-shirts and one flat foam mat. Start by cutting the t-shirts across in strips from the bottom hem, 2 inches in width. Cut those strips into smaller strips that are about 4-5 inches long. Then, tie each small t-shirt strip to make a knot in the center. After you have all the pieces knotted, you’re ready to add your first row to the rug! Take your foam mat, and place a strip of hot glue along one side of the doormat. Then, simply stick each knot into the glue, and continue gluing and adding more strips as you go. Be sure to glue the t-shirt strips in one straight line around all the edges of the mat, then move onto the next row and work your way up in one direction. You’ll have a completed rug in no time! Just make sure the strip of glue is placed 1 inch from the previous row, and that there is 1/2 inch space between each knot to give the rug an even effect. 

2.) Vintage Book Planter

This DIY dorm decor will add a vintage and whimsical touch to your dorm room. An old book can be turned into a one-of-a-kind home for a succulent in seconds. Find an old leather-bound book, and run some glue along the sides so that the pages are glued together (just make sure you don’t glue the pages to the cover). Let it dry completely, then measure and mark a square on the top page for your succulent to be planted in. This really depends on the size of your succulent, but you want to give at least an extra 2 inches to leave room for growth. Take an X-Acto knife, and carefully cut out the box you just drew. Keep cutting until you’ve created a hole deep enough for your succulent. Then, line the square hole with plastic, add your succulent, cut off the extra lining and you’re all set!

3.) Ombre Pillowcases

This DIY dye project will have plain white pillowcases looking stylish in no time! Add liquid fabric dye of your choice to a large container filled with water and stir together. Then, fold a soaking-wet pillow case in half. Dip the folded side of the pillowcase into the dye, and let the rest of the pillowcase drape over the edge of the container (so only one half is in the dye). Let it sit for a few hours, depending on how dark you want the color to get. After a few hours, take the pillowcase out of the dye and hang up to let dry completely. Now you have a stylish and one-of-a-kind pillow set!

4.) DIY Key Tray

This is a DIY dorm decor idea that is both cute and highly practical! Never lose your keys again with this simple hack. Simply fashion a bowl of your own design out of air dry clay! This type of clay is easy to find in all craft stores, and comes in all sorts of colors and designs so you won’t run out of options. Simply roll out some clay into a flat round circle, and add whichever design or texture you’d like! For example, press on some old lace to create a lace design, use the end of a pen to create polka dots, etc. Once you have a design on, mold the clay into a bowl or tray and let dry. Now you’ve got yourself a catch-all tray for jewelry, keys and other small essentials.

5.) Faux Floral Initial Monogram

Add a personal touch to your room with this feminine and fashionable monogram. On a large piece of cardboard, draw the letters of your first and last name with a pen. The letters should be a few inches in width, and in a similar style to typewriter font. Then, take an X-Acto knife and carefully cut out the letters. Next, take a selection of faux flowers and cut the stems off so you’re only left with the buds and leaves. Use hot glue to glue the faux florals onto the monograms, arranging and gluing them in an aesthetically pleasing way until the whole letter is covered. Then, hang the monogram over your desk or bed to add a very personal and designer touch to your room.

6.) DIY Headboard

Dorm beds can be flat and boring, so this DIY headboard will be sure to have you feeling like you’re sleeping in luxury in no time. To start, first measure out how long and wide you want your headboard to be (according to the size of your bed frame). Then, have a piece of ply-wood cut according to these dimensions (having it cut at Home Depot is the easiest). You can either leave the ply-wood square, or you can cut out a headboard design of your choice. Then, roll out some quilt batting onto the floor, and center the headboard on top. Staple the edges of the batting to the back of the headboard, so that the fabric is nice and taut and there are no bumps or loose edges. This will give the headboard an upholstered look. Continue adding as many layers of batting as you want, depending on how soft you want the headboard to be. After your batting layer is done, pick out an upholstery fabric with a design of your choice, roll out and center the headboard onto the fabric and staple the edges again. Then, rest the headboard between the mattress and the posts of your bed, and voilà! For around $30 you now have a personalized headboard to make your dorm feel a little more like home.

7.) DIY Neon Sign

Neon signs are a great way to brighten up your space, and the best part is that you can make them yourself! It is a DIY dorm decor idea that will make it look like you had a neon sign custom-made. Using a marker, write a word in cursive on a large piece of paper. This word can be anything you like, such as “hello,” “dreamer,” your name, or anything else you want! Once you have the word written, use pliers to bend a 16-gauge steel wire into the shape of the word you’ve written. Once you have the word bent, squeeze some heavy-duty glue onto a few inches of the steel wire, and carefully lay battery-operated neon electroluminescent wire on top of the glue (starting with the empty end without the battery pack). You can easily find this type of wire on Amazon or at Walmart. Use clothes pins or binder clips to hold the wire in place until it dries. Repeat this step until all the wire is covered and dried, then unclip and hang it up!

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8.) DIY Brick Book-ends

This is such an easy, cheap and chic way to hold all your books and textbooks in place! A pair of bricks can easily be decorated to make a fabulous pair of bookends. Take two old bricks and sand down the edges so they’re nice and smooth. Paint a white base-coat over them and let dry. Then the possibilities are up to you! For am ombre effect, stand the bricks upright, then use spray paint to paint the bottom one color, and then use another color for the upper-half. Or, you can wrap a colorful string around the brick and tie it off to create a softer look. Feel free to get creative with this fun and versatile craft!

9.) DIY Desk Organizer

A classic DIY dorm decor method is to repurpose old tin cans to make cute desk organizers! Save 4-5 tin cans from your canned goods, then take the labels off so that they are empty and bare. Then, paint a white base coat over them before you add a color of your choice! This step is completely up to you, but gold, monochrome or geometric designs look especially good over the tin. Let dry, then glue them onto a reclaimed board to create the perfect little desk organizing system! 

10.) DIY Dry Erase Board

In college, there is always something to do. Keep track of your priorities with this DIY dry erase board! It’s practical, cute and easy to make! Start with a standard 8 x 10 inch picture frame. Remove and clean the glass, then use some patterned masking tape to give it some flair! Line the tape around the edges, then carefully wrap it over the edge of the glass to create a frame. Continue lining up rows of the tape until the whole glass is covered in a new design. Then, pop the covered glass back into the frame, with the tape side facing the back of the frame. The design will show through the glass, and now you have a place to write your to-do lists! And when you’re not using it as a dry-erase board, you can lie it flat on your desk to create a handy organizing tray for small office supplies.

Decorating your dorm on a budget does not have to be limiting! These 10 DIY dorm decor ideas are the perfect ways to add some style and personal touches to your room without breaking the bank!

Which of these DIY dorm decor ideas are you excited to try first? Have you tried any of them before? Let us know in the comments!

Allison Havermale

Allison Havermale grew up in sunny San Diego, California. She is a senior at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and is majoring in English Language & Literature. She has a passion for food, literature, traveling, fashion, and beauty, and is hoping to pursue a writing career in one of those fields. When she’s not reading or writing, you can usually catch her at the beach or grabbing brunch with friends!

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