You live in a dorm! That is very exciting because it means it’s probably the first time you’re living on your own. And you know what? Cheers to that! Moving out of your parents’ house is a great feeling, and what better way to celebrate than by going all out and decorating your new place. Only problem is, students are usually on a bit of a budget, and space is limited in a dorm room. Fear not! I’ve compiled a list of the top DIY decorations for any dorm room (all of which are within a student’s budget and crafting abilities)!
15. Paint Swatch Wall
A cute, colourful, and ridiculously cheap way to make wall art. Head down to your local hardware store and grab some paint chips. Warning: this may take numerous trips to the hardware store so as not to arouse suspicion. Once you’ve subtly stolen as many paint chips as you can, lay them out in a pattern of your choice. You could go for the whole wall or just a small portion of it – be as creative as you like. Once you’ve laid out the pattern just as you want it, it’s time to pull out the big guns: sticking the paint chips on your wall. If you are a worry wart like me you want to do a practice run with sticky notes just to make sure it is exactly as you want it. Be careful about what adhesive you choose as some will be more permanent than others. Assuming you are only living in your dorm for one year, it is probably a good idea to find a non-permanent adhesive. One thing is certain, you won’t regret this gorgeous wall design. It will be a form of dorm decor that all of your new freshman friends will be eternally jealous of… until they try it out for themselves! Get the full instructions here.
14. DIY Flower Mirror
Another ridiculously easy DIY project that only requires a quick visit to the dollar store. Glam up an old mirror with the addition of colourful flowers. Think about a colour scheme that would suit your room first. If you like blue, maybe opt for a range of flowers from baby blue to dark blue, with a little white thrown in there. More a fan of pinks? You might want to opt for a range of pink and purple flavours, or go on the redder side with the addition of some red and fuscia flowers to those baby pink roses. Whatever fake flowers you choose, be sure to get them cheap from the dollar store (or make some yourself if you want to get really crafty). Once you’ve bought them, simply glue them onto the frame of your mirror. If you are a bit nervous about how permanent glue is, you could also grab some adhesive stickers while you’re at the dollar store. That way you can easily peel them off if you get sick of them. Check out the instructions here.
13. DIY Dot Wall
A super easy way to spice up a bland dorm room. All you need is a pair of scissors, a pencil, parchment paper, and some washi tape in a design of your choice (once you try washi tape you will find a million uses for it) to create this simple yet decorative polka-dot design. Washi tape is seriously all the rage lately because the gorgeous designs they have. From simple stripes like above to polka dots and flowers, washi tape is super versatile. Spice up your bland, beige dorm room in an instant with these fun and colourful polka dots! Looking for more washi tape inspiration? Continue scrolling and discover the gorgeous technique of creating picture frames with washi tape. To get more information on how to lay the polka dot design above, click here.
12. Gilded Animal Bookends
Get a little wild with these animal-inspired bookends. Perfect for storing your textbooks, these gilded animal bookends are very simple to make. Grab some super glue, gold spray paint, two thick pieces of wood, and a plastic animal of your choice (this website uses a polar bear, but you can also find dinosaurs and a ton of other animals at the dollar store). I would also recommend finding some newspaper and even a space outside to do the spray painting so that you don’t get any paint in your room. Oh, and if gold is not your thing, these bookends would also look killer in a neon green or a hot pink. Get creative and be inspired by whatever spray paint colours you can find at your local hardware store! Regardless, you are going to have the coolest bookends in the entire dorm. Get the full DIY instructions here.
11. DIY Vertical Garden
Looking to bring a little life into your dorm room (literally)? Then check out this DIY vertical garden. It’s both pretty and practical. Paint the wooden backboard in a design of your choice, attach the mason jars to the board and fill with any type of potted plant Herbs give off a nice scent – which let’s face it, many dorm rooms need. Alternatively, plants would work well too as long as they are ok to live indoors with limited access to sunlight. Not only will this make your dorm room prettier, it will make your dorm room smell better and will teach you a little bit about responsibility. Are you a cat person? Being able to keep a plant alive is a good beginner’s test to know if you have what it takes to take care of a pet. Get gardening! For full instructions on how to make this fabulous DIY planter, click here.
10. DIY Fairy Lights
Fairy lights are all the rage, whether it’s Christmastime or not. Fairy lights will transform any room into a magical fairytale land, so not only should you string them up wherever you can, BUT you should add a few pictures to make them even more special. Oh, and rest assured, you can get fairy lights any time of year. So don’t think just because it’s not Christmas that you won’t be able to find them. Amazon is your friend. You can get several yards of string lights for next to nothing. Once they arrive in the mail, hang them up in a pretty pattern like above, grab some clothespins from your local dollar store, print off your favourite pictures, and you have got a gorgeous wall design! Check out how to create the design above here.
9. DIY Glitter Lamp
Can you say glamourous? If you’re a fan of sparkle, this is the lamp for you. Liven up your dorm room with this DIY glitter lamp, all you need is some mod podge and glitter in a colour of your choice. Remember, glitter can get pretty messy. You’ll definitely want to put some newspaper down and maybe do this at home in your backyard before you move into your new dorm. Rest assured, the glitter that sticks in your hair for weeks will be totally worth it. This will be the shiniest, most glamourous lamp in the whole dorm. Insider tip: if you’d like to go all out, put the glitter on the outside of the shade rather than the inside. While gold is pretty, you can get glitter in almost any colour. So if you know that you’re going to have a blue-themed room, then don’t hesitate to buy that blue glitter. Note: make sure the glitter is larger (as pictured above) as opposed to tiny little bits. The larger they are, the more likely it is to stick to the lamp and not shed throughout the year. Get the instructions here.
8. Easy Dorm Room Bed Canopy
Fit for a princess, this bed canopy is a romantic and easy way to get some much-needed privacy from your roommate. And let’s be honest, even if you and your roommate get along, living in such close quarters can be a bit overbearing. Tune out the world by letting your canopy down and create a secret oasis where you can indulge in some alone time (even if your roommate is only 5 feet away from you). To make it even more magical, intertwine some fairy lights into the canopy. You’ll have your own personal starry night to look up at anytime you like. Use the leftover fairy lights from the DIY dorm decor described above, or order some off of amazon. As for the canopy, go into any local fabric shop and they are guaranteed to have the material you need. You can find more info about this DIY dorm room canopy here.
7. DIY Garland
A garland or some bunting is the perfect way to make your room both whimsical and colourful. And guess what? Bunting is ridiculously easy to create. All you need is some string, rope, or ribbon – whatever you fancy. From there, get some tissue paper, construction paper, wrapping paper, fabric – once again, the sky’s the limit. Cut your material into the shape you like, poke holes in the tops of each and string it throughout the piece of rope or string that you’ve chosen. This arts and crafts project may even allow you to bond with your roommate. With so many options, you won’t know which to choose! From hearts to tassels to lace, this article showcases 18 different ways to make a garland perfect for any dorm room (just be sure to get your roommate’s approval first).
6. Washi Tape Frame
Wall art is all the rage, and to make your wall art look instantly professional all you have to do is add a frame. Seriously, your wall will look instantly more professional with the addition of a few picture frames. Plain posters in your dorm? That’s so last year. These colourful and stylish frames are created out of washi tape, so technically they aren’t real picture frames but they honestly look just as good. What are you waiting for? Grab your favourite photos, magazine clippings, or birthday cards cards, and put some tape around them! Create cool frame designs like above or keep things simple and let the washi tape speak for itself. Whatever you choose, this will make a great accompaniment to your dorm room decor. And hey, if you have any leftover washi tape from the polka dot design above, you can use it here. Get the full instructions here.
5. Yarn Art
Be the hippest student in the dorm with the addition of your very own piece of art. Sure, it’s not exactly Picasso but I guarantee you it’s more than your fellow freshman will have in their dorms. As easy as pie, all you need is some yarn (which you can buy at the dollar store), and a branch (which you can take from outside). Be sure that the yarn you buy is thick enough and I would suggest choosing a colour scheme in advance. Pick a colour that matches your room, or go all out and choose bright and vibrant colours like above. Alternatively, an ombre version of the picture above would make a beautiful accent piece. For the full instructions on how to create your very own work of yarn art, click here.
4. Magazine Wall Art
Create a more realistic piece of dorm art using magazine, a canvas, tape, and a glue gun. It’s really that simple. First, find a canvas. It can be made out of any material you like. Second, decide what shape you would like to feature on your campus. It should be one whole shape. For example, a flower or an animal. Once you’ve decided on the shape, print out a picture of that shape so you have the silhouette to work with. After that, rifle through some old magazine and begin ripping out pages that have colours you might like to add to your silhouette. Roll your magazine pages up and glue them onto the silhouette (it’s ok if you have some excess page extending beyond the outline of your silhouette). Once you’ve covered the whole shape, cut around the outline of the silhouette, getting rid of any extra bits. Finally, glue your shape onto your canvas – and voila! You have a beautiful piece of DIY wall art. To learn more about the process, click here.
3. Dixie Cup Garland
Fairy lights not doing it for you? Why not test out this dixie cup garland. After all, dixie cups and inexpensive and easy to obtain and I guarantee you, they will look damn good when all done up in your dorm room. Aside from dixie cups, you’ll need scissors, patterned paper, a pencil, and some fairy lights. After buying the dixie cups you’ll first want to cover them in a some sort of pretty patterned paper. It’s not that dixie cups are ugly, it’s just that they are a little boring on their own. Covering them in polka dot, striped, or floral paper will take your garland up a notch. Be sure to cute out the paper so that it wraps fully around the dixie cup. Secure the paper to the dixie cup with glue. Afterwards, poke holes in the top of each dixie cup using a pencil. Now it’s time to insert the fairy lights into the dixie cups. Once there is a twinkly light in the centre of each dixie cup, your job is done! Now it’s up to you to decide where to hang it. For more information, click here.
2. Sprinkle Pen Holder
This one is ridiculously easy. And I mean that, it is so easy a monkey could do it. The secret to the sprinkle pen holder is lots and lots of sprinkles! First off, grab an empty mason jar (or just use an empty pasta sauce jar). From there, wash it out. Once it’s clean, all you need to do is add the sprinkles. You will likely need at least one package of sprinkles for this. Once you’ve bought the sprinkles, simply pour them into your mason jar creating a colourful bed for your pens to rest in. That is it! You’ve just added a pop or colour to your room. The hard part is going to be refraining from eating some sugary sprinkles during study sessions. Insider tip: Change your sprinkles based on the season to add a festive accent to your dorm. When it’s Halloween, add little black and orange sprinkles. Valentine’s Day? Why not add some heart-shaped sprinkles! The possibilities are endless. For more information, click here.
1. Circle Cork Board
Rectangular cork boards are so last year. Spice things up by creating your very own DIY set of circular cork beds. Small and colourful, but just as useful, these circular cork boards will be the envy of all your new college friends. To get started, buy some wooden discs and paint from the dollar store. The next step is finding the cork board. This can be a bit tricky but most craft stores will have it. Alternatively, if you have an old cork board at home and you’re not afraid to cut it up, you can also do that. Once you have your materials, you can start by painting the wooden discs in the colours of your choice. Go for a mix and match or stick with a theme, whatever you choose it’s up to you! After the paint has dried, make sure your circular pieces of cork board are the right size (i.e. smaller than the wooden disc) and when they are ready to go, you can use a hot glue gun to stick the cork board to the wood. Use an adhesive to stick the mini cork boards on your wall and pick up some push pins from the dollar store and there you have a unique cork board design perfect for hanging pictures, exam schedules, or study notes. For more information, click here.