Roll Call: College Room Ideas to Make It Feel Like Home

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on August 14, 2019

If you’re in college, there’s no better time to start implementing interior design into your life. College is all about making new connections, socializing, and of course studying: you need an inviting space whether you’re hosting new friends or cramming for that final. A well-designed living space can improve your productivity, time-management, and relationships, all while helping you feel a sense of home—even when you’re far away from home.

We spoke with three Havenly interior designers for their must-have picks for college spaces, whether you live in a dorm room or a shared apartment. Add these budget-friendly college room ideas to your back-to-school shopping list, stat!

1. Treat your feet to a super-soft rug. Because no one wants to feel a cold, unwelcoming dorm room floor when they wake up in the morning! 

2. Display curated art. Try a website like Society6 for a sophisticated spin on the dorm room poster—our designers suggest a set of framed, black-and-white sketch art for an instantly refined look.  

3. Choose cotton sheets. Skip jersey sheets and opt for 100% cotton, which holds up better in the wash. Sateen is best for a wrinkle-free look, or choose percale if you’re a warm sleeper.

4. Layer in cozy blankets. Equal parts functional and pretty, throws or blankets can add a pop of color, texture, and pattern.

5. Toss decorative pillows into the mix. Just like blankets, accent pillows are an affordable way to add comfort and style.

6. Incorporate family photos. Arrange a gallery wall featuring family and friends so they’re never too far away! Added bonus? You’ll help cover up a beige wall.

7. Go antiquing or thrifting. Target and IKEA have great options for college students, but a unique thrifted desk chair or funky antique mirror will set your space apart from the rest.

8. Bring something from home. If you’re missing home, quite literally bringing a piece of it into your dorm can help — incorporate a furniture piece from your old room to give your new space a familiar feel. 

9. Add an accent chair. If you’re in a dorm, you’ll have spare seating for a friend, and you can take it with you to various apartments for years to come.

10. Buy better lighting. “Fluorescent lighting is my favorite,” said no one ever: a mix of task and table lamps can soften otherwise-harsh spaces, and you can easily take them with you to your next place.

11. Hang or lean a full-length mirror. Reflect your great sense of style, and help amplify light at the same time.

For a customized plan and even more expert advice, Havenly’s here to help. Get started with our style quiz today.

Words by Sara Watson