Looking for some great ways to turn your dorm room into a cozy, comfortable home away from home? We asked students at Carthage College for their best decorating and space-saving tips and ideas. Get inspired by the photos below and make your dream dorm room a reality.

Decorating a College Dorm Room

College Dorm Decor: Layout

1. Save space by playing with possible layouts

Carthage students often arrange their beds in an “L” shape or bunk beds to create more space. 

2. Start with the big stuff

“When packing your car, try and make it so that the big, important stuff is accessible first,” says London Shanahan ’25. “I make sure my carpet, fridge, microwave, and storage furniture are the first stuff I get to, and things like clothes and decorations come in last. It makes the move go so much faster.”

Dorm Decor

3. Choose a color scheme

“Every aspect of my room plays off of each other, almost like musical notes on a sheet music,” Kasia Kurz ’25 says. “The whites and creams are major keys, and the pinks and greens are minor keys, each in tune with another creating a harmony of decor and furniture wrapped into my room with a large ribbon bow.”

4. Organize your space with extra storage

Add storage with shoe racks, bins, key hooks, door hangers, and more. “Get as many organizational pieces as you can,” says Alli Pacocha ’25. “Having a clean, decorated room makes being at college so much more comfortable!”

Dorm decorating with your roommate

5. Coordinate decor with your roommate

“My roommate and I coordinated our color scheme over the summer as a fun way to get to know each other better, ” says Ellie Pavletich ’27. “We ended up going with light pink and sage green, which are our two favorite colors. We went shopping for posters together as a way to make our sides look more similar.”

6. Use your door sign to make friends

Hanging a whiteboard on the outside of your door is a great way to interact with other students in your building. Carthage students often leave messages or questions of the day on their boards to get to know each other better!

College dorm inspiration, Marija Mahorcic '27.

7. Bring yourself — your family, your culture, your passions — into your space

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Marija Mahorcic ’27 decorated her room with a national flag and other cultural items. “I really bring my culture out with my traditional Serbian dance objects and my Serbian flag.”

8. Decorate your walls

Personalize your dorm room by hanging photos, band posters, or inspirational quotes on your walls. “Fill up empty wall space! Oftentimes, the room will end up looking blank no matter what bed or desk decor you end up using,” says Avery Peters ’27.

Personalize your bedding in your dorm room. Gianna Pokorney '25

9. Incorporate things you just love

“It makes me very happy having what I love in my room,” says Gianna Pokorney ’25. “I decided to stick with my country roots, and it even makes it better when I play country music.”

10. Make your bed comfortable

Add blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals to make your bed especially cozy. “The throw pillows make my room feel homey every day when I set my bed! They are also versatile because they fill the space behind my bed when I go to sleep,” Madeline Bandomir ’27 says.

Deocrate your dorm room with plants, Samantha Vonbernewitz '27.

11. Liven up your room with plants

Bring the outside indoors with hanging leaves or potted plants. “Our dorm has a lot of leaves and real plants; it gives it a nice cozy and homey feel,” says Samantha Vonbernewitz ’27. “We call our room the jungle, and everyone on our floor refers to it as that too. We love it!”

12. Consider a rug and fun lights

Rugs are a great way to add color to your dorm room. You can also elevate the mood of your room with different lights. “Our favorite part about our room is the ambience,” Marisa Pacocha ’26 says. “The lights give it a warm touch — our normal lights are almost never on!”