By Sarah Bracy Penn

Published on July 27, 2017

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Photography by RENE QUICKLE VIA PINTEREST

Dorm rooms have come a long way from the days of hand-me-down linens and band posters. Traditional design elements are now implemented in college dorms like never before. Think: headboards, gallery wall , slipcovers and light fixtures. What’s more, these impeccably designed dorm rooms are full of ingenious small space hacks that will work in any tiny apartment We’ve also found a few innovative dorm design services along the way if you’re designing your own dorm room this fall.

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Photography by AFTER FIVE DESIGNS

Dawn Thomas, designer behind After Five Designs, knows a thing or two about dorm room decorating. The designer transforms dorm rooms with clever upholstery, furniture arranging, and artwork.

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Photography by AFTER FIVE DESIGNS

One of the designer’s trademarks is the use of one or two statement lamps between the twin beds, creating a unique focal point for each room she designs.

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Photography by AFTER FIVE DESIGNS

She also amps up your average futon with sheepskin pillows and fabulous wall art. To conceal closet clutter, she hangs drapery panels—a genius small space hack. For those living in close quarters, hanging drapes will ensure that your doors won’t constantly bang against other furniture.

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Photography by @LAURELANDWOLF

We love the mix of patterns in this small space! This dorm room strikes a perfect balance — pillows and wall fixtures pump up the color palette, while a white and black windowpane duvet keeps the space grounded.

Pssst: The artwork is available on Minted.

Photo by Laurel and Wolf.  

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Photography by DORM-DECOR.COM

With the help of Dorm Decor, you can easily design and shop for your dorm room online. The design team specializes in bedding, furniture (like their trademark bed cubby) and clever storage hacks for even the tiniest of rooms.

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Photography by DORM-DECOR.COM

By using one of the dressers as a shared nightstand, you can create a symmetrical vignette between two twin beds. Choose two tiny lamps instead of bulkier ones to avoid clutter.

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Photography by DORM-DECOR.COM

Dorm Decor also specializes in a universal headboard design, which they ensure fits any style bed. This headboard and bedding combination introduces fun pattern play in preppy navy and green.

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Photography by APARTMENT THERAPY

For those who have a more minimal aesthetic, take note of this clean, well-designed dorm room. A pink sisal rug introduces subtle texture, while funky light fixtures and wall art add character.

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Photography by JILLIAN HARRIS

A gallery wall and chic open shelving kick this dorm room design, created by Jillian Harris, up a notch. Instead of shoving textbooks or school supplies in the shelves, this student chose to style them with trinkets and small books.

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Photography by ROOM 422

Remember those hard-to-buy-for extra long beds? Room 422 is making that process much less of a headache. Choose one of 11 color ways and customize your new dorm room decor.

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Photography by ROOM 422

Room 422’s two-toned design creates a serene space for studying (or midday napping). The graphic, grey and white rug adds an additional layer of pattern to this neutral space.

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Photography by RENé QUICKLE VIA PINTEREST

This eclectic SCAD dorm room designed by Rene Quickle is doing so many things right. A perfect mix of prints, pom-pom garland, and a gallery wall add serious personality to this space. And of course, a bedside table that doubles as a vanity is one of our favorite small space hacks.

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Photography by @_SAY.GRACE_

Charcoal grey, cloud white, and blush pink come together to create a seriously glam space. Another dorm room necessity? Two matching stools so you don’t have to approach those high-lofted beds with a running start.

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Photography by Homestoreky.com

In this bright and clean space, it’s all in the details. We love the small gallery wall hung in the corner and wreath hung from the window. And that gray ikat settee? We’re sure that beats the average industrial-style futon that was in your freshman dorm.

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Photography by JESSICAIRC03.WIXSITE.COM

In this casual and cool space, bedding in shades of blue-green are accented by a bit fresh greenery hanging from the ceiling. A dorm room may be tiny, but there’s always room for fresh plants.

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Photography by WHITE BUNGALOW VIA FACEBOOK

These beds are just begging us to curl up and take a snooze. An all-ivory room gets a subtle pop of pattern with gray and white printed curtains hanging behind the headboard. Ugly dorm room walls, be gone!

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Photography by SOCIETY 19

In this all-white space, twinkle lights add a bit of charm while a black and white lumbar with pebble-motif breaks up the white linens.

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Photography by EMMA PSOMAS VIA PINTEREST

This dorm room design masters a rustic aesthetic in a small space. A subtle mix of prints and texture create a pattern-filled, but not overwhelming, living space.

Originally published August 2016. Updated July 2017.

Get more dorm room design ideas:

Stylish Small Space Solutions for Your Tiny Dorm Room
The Top Dorm Room Decor Trends You Need to Know
Ikea Wants To Help You Decorate Your Dorm Room

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