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10 Vintage Items To Make Your Dorm Unique

10 Vintage Items To Make Your Dorm Unique

Authenticity is the tool of the genuine, of those who are original and true to themselves. We should all strive for every part of our lives to be authentic, for everything to be an extension of who we truly are. Self-expression is no longer limited to your personal style; it is now about anything that is ‘gram-able. And what is so wrong with that, anyway? Spread the self-love beyond your wardrobe to everything around you. Here are 10 vintage-inspired items that will help in your journey to make your dorm decor as unique as you.

1. Books As Décor

As a bibliophile, one of my dreams is to have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves bursting with books I have collected over the years. As a vintage girl, I have found that one of the more intriguing finds are vintage books of all kinds – 1950’s cookbook, 1930’s textbook on mental illnesses, 1900’s collection of fairytales, you name it! These two parts have woven together perfectly to have some of my favorite vintage and antique hardcover books as apart of my décor. Leatherbound books between geode bookends, books about flora and fauna stacked together with a succulent on top, books about navigation and the Navy under my grandfather’s compass…, there are endless possibilities to make your collection and dorm decor unique and sophisticated.


2. Polaroids

With the rebirth of instant cameras, this is one of the easiest and most fun additions you can do. Either with an actual Polaroid camera or the Instax Mini alternative, you can easily fill albums and walls with memories. These instant cameras can be found just about anywhere, from Walmart to Best Buy to Amazon to your college campus bookstore. The film is just as easy to find and comes in fun options such as black and white or with special frames. There are accessories, too, such as string fairy lights that come with metallic clips, so you can display pictures of friends, family, pets, and your adventures on any wall as specific-to-you dorm decor.

3. Framed Flora And Fauna

One of the most unique and special items I have collected over the years that I will cherish for the rest of my life is my framed butterflies. I found these pieces in a random, eclectic, art gallery and store in Orlando. But! After doing a little digging, I found the same artist posting new pieces for sale on Etsy. There are also a lot of artists and shops that sell similar items with other insects, animals, foliage, and flowers. What’s more you than your favorite flower pressed and framed, hanging above your desk? Or, more seasonably, glorious Autumn leaves used with all your other decorations? Every time you see it, it will spark joy and bring a little fresh air into your stuffy pre-move-in dorm decor.


4. Posters Of Your Favorite Masterpieces

Art isn’t just for museums anymore. Some of the most famous and beloved artworks are now replicated in all shapes and sizes. One of the most unique and personal touches that will transform the blank walls of your room is hanging a poster of your favorite masterpiece as a headboard. Even more fun with this dorm decor and individual to your taste, you can use different push pins and then wrap strings of fairy lights to make a frame. That way, when you are trying to relax after a stressful day, you can have the warm glow around one of the most beautiful pieces of art.


5. Clothing Rack

Before the wide-spread building of closets, clothing storage fell into one of two categories: a wardrobe or a clothing rack. Recently, with the surge of fashion-focused blogs, vlogs, and social media accounts, clothing racks have made a stylish comeback. Not only are clothing racks perfect for planning outfits, but they can also be a picture-perfect way to make your favorite pieces easily accessible. From Target to Urban Outfitters, there are endless possibilities to style, height, width, and it is with shelves or without. Mine holds my jewelry box and favorite Coach purse on top has my monogrammed hangers full of winter favorites, then has a bottom shelf for my boots! This item as dorm decor is the perfect way for any fashionista to stay organized.

6. Faux Plants And Flowers

Not everyone can be a #PlantMom, myself included. But, nevertheless, there is something so uplifting and special about having plants in your room. Luckily, there is an alternative! Faux plants and flowers aren’t just for craft stores anymore. No, in fact, most places that sell home goods now have fancy and fashionable options. From hanging pots to glass terrariums, from little rose bouquets to succulent gardens, there are faux plants and flowers of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. No sun nor water needed, just some light dusting every once in a while. Whether it is for the aesthetic or because you cannot have live plants as dorm decor, this is another way to bring the outside in.


7. One-of-a-kind Antique Finds

You are one-of-a-kind, so why not have your dorm decor be as one-of-a-kind? Though most of the suggestions on this list are applicable to anyone anywhere, this is something truly unique, individual, and special to you. Taking the time to search through vintage stores and antique malls can be rewarded with finding something truly one-of-a-kind, something that cannot be replicated by big companies in chain businesses. Maybe it’s an antique necklace that is so you, you can pass it up. Or maybe the first edition of your favorite book. Maybe, just maybe, it is something even more spectacular and you did not even realize it was missing from your life until now. Either way, that something is going to be cherished for the rest of your life.

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8. Perfume And Peals

“Vintage Parisian”… what does that make you think of? More often than not, that would be the Eiffel Tower, pink roses, white lace, sweet macarons, and bubbling champagne. Though you can always frame a picture of the Eiffel Tower and pick out a faux bouquet of pink roses, there is another trick I learned to bring elegance and grace to any space: perfume and pearls. Sampler perfumes and small bottles are a little addition to your nightstand or clothing rack that brings a sense of fashionable sophistication to your décor. But also, you can add faux pearl bracelets or earrings to the display to add another unique dash of femininity and Parisian aesthetic to your dorm decor.

9. Seasonal Candles

Every month, every season, every holiday brings fully sensational memories to the forefront of our minds. Days by the lake in hot July, the golden forests of Autumn, decorating the fresh Christmas tree in the living room…. Whether this is your Freshman year or Senior year in a dorm, there is a cheap and easy way to bring in all the wonderful memories from August to December: candles! Walmart, Yankee Candle, Bath and Body Works, Wicca shops, grocery stores… almost everywhere you can go will have candles for sale and as the weeks go by you can find unique and festive options for the season. (And if you are worried about a flame, there are wax-melting alternatives and plug-in options for the wall so you can still keep this fragrant trick a part of your dorm decor.)


10. Inspirational Quotes

As you get ready for class or push through the last of your homework, being able to look up and something that fuels your drive is always helpful. It does not have to be a stock photo with a lame quote, either; there are now many artists and shops that sell unique and dynamic cards and posters. My two quotes, (listed above), are from an Etsy shop that strategically places the cursive words in a wreath of floral design. I put them in the gold frame and wah-la! A normal thing anyone might have is now a special dorm decor feature and individual to you.


Your dorm is one of the first steps of your journey into adulthood. Soon enough you will be living with roommates, significant others, or alone! Soon enough you will have a whole home to yourself that you can decorate exactly as you imagined as a kid. It is not about what is trendy and new, it is about being you! Comment below on how you transformed your space into your happy place.