With a fresh school year approaching, a new crop of students are heading to start their first year of post-secondary education. And that means a new opportunity for decorating! If you’re looking for dorm room decor ideas to help personalize and brighten up that all-too-sterile-looking space, look no further than our predictions of the best (and most easily achievable) dorm design trends that won’t go out of style.
Ditch the office-like lighting vibes and make your dorm room feel so much cozier with soft ambient light sources. Adding different colour tones, like with these squishy multi-coloured gummy bear lamps, will add a bright splash to any humdrum space. While these lights aren’t necessarily a viable study lamp, they’ll create great vibes for watching movies in bed or listening to music and lounging with new friends.
Squishy Gummy Bear Light, Uncommon Goods, $56 each.
An easy way to brighten up a boring dorm room and add literal life is by incorporating plants. Try easy-to-care for picks like pothos or aloe. If the dorm room doesn’t get much light, check out our list of low-light tolerant plants (plus tips to keeping them alive).
Funky Wall Art
We’re predicting that tufted rug art will continue its reign, and dorm room walls everywhere will be brightened up with funky pieces like this handmade sassy strawberry. This versatile artwork by Toronto-based Studio Flora can be used as a coaster, wall art or displayed on a shelf. It’s a great way to add colour, personality and texture to a small space.
Sassy Strawberry with Boots Rug, Etsy, $275.
Create comfortable corners with alternative seating areas around the room. These floor poufs are comfortable enough to lounge for hours, yet compact enough to easily tuck away under a bed. We love that they add a boho look and tons of function.
Shauf Court Pouf, Article, $129 each.
Plenty of Pillows
One of the challenges when designing a dorm room is adding style to such a small space where you often can’t change out the furniture. Make the most of it by creating the coziest bed for sleeping or studying. Comfy accent pillows can help complete a space, like this needlepoint throw pillow.
Everything’s Fine Needlepoint Throw Pillow By Furbish, Urban Outfitters, $139.
Small Statement Pieces
For any petite pieces that you’re bringing yourself (and not just the school-mandated furniture that reads a bit blah), go with items that are useful and practical, but still spark joy like this iridescent rainbow side table. We love this one in particular for its quirky bubble shape and retro feel that’s so on trend for 2023 and beyond.
Acrylic Coffee Table in Iridescent Glass, Amazon Canada, $260.
The goal here is to add as much personality as possible to the standardized room, and another easy way to do that is through textiles. Sure, you can go with a monochromatic set if that’s your thing, but what new student doesn’t want to express their personality through a funky bedspread like this colourblocked design? If you’re after a more delicate look, experiment with textured bedding to add a subtle touch of interest.
Pieced Angles Quilt in Pink, West Elm, from $135.
A rug makes a room feel so much warmer and cozier (plus, it’s just practical for students who like stretching out and working on the floor). We love this retro checkerboard rug for fans of a vintage ’70s aesthetic (we’re looking at you, Harry Styles fans).
Amier Handmade Black/Ivory Rug, Wayfair Canada, $230.
Wall Art and Organizers
Letter boards and wall grids (like this rose gold metal variety) are always a popular choice for dorm rooms, especially those with strict rules about drilling holes in the wall to hang art, shelves or furniture. Options like this allow you to hang the things you need most so they’re always at hand. They’re great for storing school supplies, hanging artwork or personal photos, or even for displaying small air plants.
JOVONE Wall Grid Panel in Rose Gold, Amazon Canada, $30.
Depending on the rules at your particular school, you may not be able to hang curtain rods, but drapery can really enhance the feel of a space. Light and airy curtains can be installed using temporary command hooks. You’ll just want to ensure you avoid anything too heavy that could easily tear down your hooks and potentially damage paint.