Published on May 18, 2019

041918_CG_EmilySimms_web-0267 Pin It
Photography by Cody Guilfoyle

Dorm room decor isn’t exactly what one would call design-forward. At best, it’s all about functionality with aesthetics coming in as a distant after-thought—plastic storage bins, cheap task lights, and throw pillows with cringe-worthy quotes…you get the gist.

But just because you think of your dorm as a temporary place to live, doesn’t mean you should be content with a lackluster space. It’s never too soon to start building your home. Curating a collection of home decor essentials that can evolve with you over the years is a process, so don’t feel pressured to do it all at once.  Ahead, we handpicked the functional decor that can live with you beyond your college years.

Establish your style

Begin by creating a mood board with the colors, textures, and spaces that emulate the aesthetic you’re aiming to achieve. We pulled a look together inspired by this made-for-Instagram Brooklyn apartment that’s equal parts colorful and functional.

Invest in big-ticket items

It may feel tempting to skimp out when it comes to buying a bed or sofa, but consider investing in those bigger, classic elements that you can live with long-term.  

Save on the accents

Your smaller scope of pieces, such as art and accessories, can be more daring and palette-driven; they’re also easier to swap out as your style preferences evolve.  

Store wisely

Smart storage solutions never go out of fashion. Under-bed boxes (spoiler alert: you’re probably still going to need it after you graduate) are perfect for storing off-season clothing, bed linens, and extra towels. A desktop organizer from your college years can become a handy vessel for your makeup, and a streamlined ladder functions as the ultimate catch-all/accent piece.

Items that do double duty

Over time, a utility-driven piece can transition into a bar cart, kitchen cart, coffee cart…you get the point.

Embrace textiles that pop

Cheeky bedding, vibrantly patterned towels, and linens that go the extra mile, decoratively speaking, are subtle and easy ways to make your space stand out. Plus, they’ll invite a lived-in element to your home and you’ll feel more inclined to take them with you to your first apartment.  

See more color-filled homes we’re lusting after:
Inside Our Social Media Editor’s Primary-Colored, 650-Square-Foot Apartment
Inside an Artist’s Bold, Rebellious Georgia Home
A Sweet California Bungalow Filled With Storied Treasures

Discussion