Make Your College Dorm Room a Retreat with These Ideas

In case you missed my original post that discussed the main items you’ll want on your college student checklist for campus life, make sure you check that out, as well as my new post: Dorm Room Decor: 10 Must-Have Items Under $20

For those of you that have your dorm room essentials already taken care of, let’s talk about how you’re going to make your space feel more like a retreat. I know from experience how bland dorms can be and trust me, you’ll want to have some stuff to make it feel more like home!

*Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I will receive compensation if you purchase a product through one of the links. Please note that I only include products I personally support and recommend.*

Dorm room ideas for college students. Tips for making your room feel like home, no matter how bland it looks at first. Take college life to the next level without spending a ton of money. Click to read!

It Starts with Quality Bedding…

It’s really easy to go to the store and buy a cheap comforter to get you through your undergraduate years, but if you are looking for something a little more stylish and fun, then check out this Dusty Blue Trellis bedding set, or this these hypoallergenic down alternative comforters that will be sure to keep you warm and cozy.

And a Comfy Blanket

A lot of college dorm rooms won’t have their own thermostat, and that means you are at the mercy of whoever is controlling the temperature for the entire building. I remember living in a corner room that was awesome because it had two windows but it was AWFUL in the winter because it go so unbelievably cold. I’m talking ice forming on the inside of the window cold (no joke).

You know what I did to remedy the situation?

I got a blanket.

A blanket is just one of those items that you need to have to make your college dorm room feel more like a retreat (instead of an ice chamber).

Shutterfly has some super cute monogram and photo blankets that you can personalize to fit your style. I like being able to make things my own because it gives me the ability to have something unique.

If you are looking for a cozy blanket to cuddle up while watching hours of Netflix (admit it, you know it’s going to happen), then I highly recommend getting a heated blanket. Just thinking about it makes me want to come up with excuse to stay at home on the couch with a cup of hot chocolate and watch a happy movie.

Don’t Forget the Pillows

You can’t have a retreat-like bedroom without having some awesome pillows.

I’m all about getting a comfortable pillow to sleep on, but I also think that adding in some patterns or prints can really make your college dorm room come to life.

Wayfair is one of my favorite places to look for unique and fun products that make my living space feel more inviting – be sure to check them out!

Stock Up on the Kitchen Itemsnessie

I know that most dorms don’t have individual kitchens (unless you’re lucky enough to get an on-campus apartment), but you’ll still want to have some kitchen items for the food that you can prepare.

For example, check out these adorable Nessie ladles (featured in the picture)!

Am I the only one that thinks this is the best thing ever?!

And for anyone who has a sweet tooth, check out this ice cream maker!

Make Sure to Add Some Decor

One of the things I failed to do when I lived on-campus was decorate my room to make it feel more like a space where I could relax and enjoy myself. Instead of putting up picture frames, I stared at mostly white walls that honestly did nothing for my productivity.

Do yourself a favor and get some frames, trinkets, and other items to make your space feel more welcoming. Here are a few ideas:

  • Wall clock
  • Picture frames (or collage posters)
  • Vinyl wall stickers

Find more fun decor here!

Let’s Talk Styling Your College Dorm Room

Now that you have some ideas for great items to make your dorm room feel more like a home, let’s talk about how you are going to style everything and make the colors work for you, not against you.

I’ll admit that I’m a big fan of black and such, but too much black in a room makes me feel shut down and feel extra sleepy.

Your room is probably going to have a fluorescent light shining from the ceiling. Let’s be honest… it sucks and it’s just one of those things you can’t control.

Thankfully, you can offset that home decor no-no by adding in some stylish lamps that provide the right amount of light. I recommend having a few different types on hand (one for studying, one for having people over, etc.).

With the lighting taken care of, you can now focus on what colors will work best for your space. I recommend going with something a little brighter, like a nice turquoise or light gray, rather than darker colors for your larger items.

For example, you could have a light neutral bedding set mixed with splashes of color in the pillows, wall art, or desk accessories.

You can also create a more ‘zen’ living space by adding in things that look more natural, like the pen stand that looks like a plant!

Simple Changes Make All the Difference

When it comes to decorating your college dorm room, don’t focus on buying a ton of items. I think some students think that because their room has literally nothing in it, they need to overcompensate by purchasing a slew of things.

Don’t do that!

Instead, focus on getting those items that can really upgrade your room and make it feel more like a retreat. Buy some throw pillows and blankets that you’ll want to cuddle up with every now and then. Find some simple decor that represents you personality and interests. Also, find a color scheme that promotes productivity and relaxation rather than sadness and laziness.

One of the key points I want to make is that a cluttered space does not lead to a more comfortable living environment. Think about those things that you enjoy, that you’ll use often, and that you won’t get tired of after one year.

If you follow those steps, you’ll have no problem making your college dorm room feel like your second home!

Make sure you follow me on Pinterest for more college tips and other fun info!

Also, make sure to read Wayfair’s College Dorm Decoration Guide for pointers from several college bloggers, including myself!

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  • Cole
    July 24, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    These are all excellent tips! And I am loving all of the items you’ve featured, especially that ladle!

    I agree that getting a comfy blanket is a must, no matter where you live, because cuddling up in a blanket makes life better and it’s too difficult to curl up in a giant comforter when all you want to do is watch TV.

    I’ve never lived in a dorm, but I feel all of these tips work no matter where you live!

    • Tori
      July 24, 2015 at 2:58 pm

      I STILL have a comfy blanket within close proximity at all times (unless I’m at work). There’s just something so comforting about them.

  • Vanessa
    May 18, 2018 at 11:02 am

    THanks for sharing! I love my Nessie ladle! It’s so cute and cozy!

  • Suzanne
    May 18, 2018 at 11:04 am

    This was a good read! Purchasing good bedding is helpful since the bed also could be the couch too .