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10 DIY Projects to Make Your College Dorm Feel Like Home

10 DIY Projects to Make Your College Dorm Feel Like Home

It’s a hot August morning, and you just said goodbye to your family and friends as you embark on your college journey. As you move into your dorm, you notice that the cement walls and aluminum floors remind you more of a prison cell than a cozy and homey bedroom. How on earth will you grow into this stark and unfamiliar space? DIY projects are the perfect way to make your mark on your new digs. College will now be your home away from home, and although it may not feel like that at first, following these DIY projects will bring that feeling along sooner. Try out these 10 DIY projects in your dorm space, and with a little creativity and TLC I assure you that your new 114 square foot room will become more of a sanctuary in no time. 

1. Define Your Space

We all know that every put together room has a “vibe”, so what do you want yours to be? Head to Pinterest, Instagram, and even Tik Tok to get some necessary inspiration for your DIY projects. Then, think of a few words that you want your room to speak. Trendy? Calming? Vibrant? Once you establish your own personal “vibe” it will be easier to pick a direction for your decor and DIY projects. The excitement and passion that you have in your room will make the DIY projects so much better. Save images of whatever you find for inspiration so that you have content to refer back to if needed!

2. Claim Your Wall Space

Let’s face it; the walls that confine your dorm space are down right ugly. Giving your walls some character is essential. There are many ways to do this- for example, tapestries and photo walls both take up a lot of space, and yet are not too distracting to look at. Making a photo wall can be a fun DIY project to do with your friends before you all head off to conquer your future endeavors. In order to perfect this DIY project, first, pick a color scheme that you want to follow, and head to VSCO or Pinterest to pick out some filler pictures. You can use different art of your favorite clothing brands, scenic photos, photographs of your favorite travel spots, and quotes for the filler pics. Then, pick out your favorite flicks with friends and family, and edit them all with the same filter so that you can stay consistent with the color scheme. Finally, you can print out the photos and start playing around with the layout! This DIY Project is one of my favorites because it gives you a chance to add some personality to your room. Now your dorm room will have little pieces of the people and places that you love. Check out this photo wall below for some inspiration.


Collage to take up wall space made up of photos and quotes

3. Warm up the Floor! 

I can think of a million surfaces I would rather wake up to than the plastic feeling floor of a dorm room. A rug both warms up a space and also makes for a cozy first step every morning. Try to stay away from light colors, as there will be a lot of foot traffic from all of the new friends that you are going to be making. I also would suggest avoiding rugs with shaggy or frilly surfaces as late night eats might get stuck underneath the pieces. Check out this rug for some inspiration! There are so many color and patterned combos out there to choose from.  Although finding the perfect rug is not necessarily a DIY project, it will spark your inner interior design fire, and inspire you to get even more creative with your space. 

A fuzzy rug that is perfect for warming up the vibe of a dorm room


4. Twinkle Lights! 

The ceiling lights of a dorm room sometimes make the space feel more like an operating room than a cozy tranquil space. Different light sources can make all the difference when you want your room to feel like your sanctuary. The dimness can be more soothing than those glaring ceiling lights. You can hang them around your bed, or on the perimeter of the ceiling! Turn your lighting choice into a DIY project by playing around with the placement of your lights, you can either hang them on the ceiling like this photo below, or around the perimeter of you room. 
Twinkle light example in a dorm room

5. Make your Room Smell Like Home!

Candles and air diffusers are an easy and great way to give your room a signature scent. There is no better feeling than walking into your room after a long day of classes, and being greeted with a clean refreshing scent. Air diffusers come in many forms that can actually add to your dorm room decor as well. Anthropologie even sells air diffusers in the form of flowers in glass jars! Candles can be found with the same color scheme as your bedroom, and along with being soothing, they give any room a cool ambiance. If you want to turn your candle hunt into a DIY project, then you can look up tutorials on how to make your own! This DIY project is super fun, and you may even learn a new skill! 

6. Make Your Bed Cloudlike!

College is expensive. Luckily, there are many easy ways to skimp out on costs, but one thing you should definitely invest in is your bed. College dorms are not known for their comfy beds. They are notoriously stiff and pretty much a slab of foam covered in scratchy plastic. In college, your bed is not just for sleeping, it also functions as a study spot, and a place for all of your friends to hang out on. Making it all the more reason to make your bed feel like a little slice of heaven. For this DIY project, it’s all about the layers- start with a mattress cover, then a mattress pad, then a foam mattress topper. Finally, top it with high quality sheets and your favorite comforter and sleeping pillows. 


Example of a cozy college dorm bed

7. Pillows, Pillows Pillows!

Let’s face it, one can never have enough pillows. The more pillows means the more decoration, and the more coziness. When I’m picking out pillows I love to find ones with cute sayings and phrases that go along with the vibe of my space. Body pillows are also great for when you are studying on your bed, or having friends over to hang out in your dorm. Although this is not necessarily a DIY project, strategically placing your many decorative pillows on your bed is an underrated skill. 

Example of decorative pillows on a bed


8. Comfy Seating!

Now that you’ll be making all new friends, you’re gonna need some seating options for them. Whether it’s floor pillows, a bean bag chair, or a comfy futon, extra seating can both invite more friends in to hang out and also give your room a homey vibe. Urban Outfitters carries the cutest floor pillows that are such to match any space perfectly. 

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Floor pillow example which can be used as comfortable alternative seating


9. Organize your Workspace!

At home, it was easy to differentiate where you did homework, and where you slept and watched Netflix. Now that this 12 by 19 foot room is really the only space that is yours and yours only on campus, it is important that you can have a set workspace and hang out space. Desk organization is key to hold yourself accountable on doing work. It will also make your dorm feel more like a functional and soothing space than an overwhelming area. To make organizing a fun DIY project, you can color code pens and markers, and label baskets or containers!

Desk workspace example

10. Bring a little piece of home with you

For most people, college is your first time being away from home for a long period of time. It can be anxiety-inducing for most people and a scary concept. Breaking in your room with these DIY projects, and adding a little TLC and creativity is the perfect way to break into your brand new life. As you move on to your next chapter, bringing along some items from the chapter that you are closing can be a reminder that you can have a home, away from home.