Dorm room decorating

Minimalist taste for minimal space

My room in residence (left) in contrast with my room now.

When I moved away for university, one of the things I was most excited about was getting to decorate my new dorm room and I chose a bohemian theme involving lots of colours, patterns and elephants for my small single room — a design decision I came to regret fairly quickly as my taste changed.

It’s important to make the space your own, since it’s a small room you’ll be spending a lot of time in. If I could go back in time, I would re-do my res room and apply the same minimalist aesthetic I chose for my off campus house, featuring a pale blue, suede headboard, all white bedding, lots of fairy lights and light coloured paintings and fixtures. The combination of minimalist pieces and light breezy colours creates an oasis that I can escape to whenever school stress becomes overwhelming.

Knowing what I know now, here are some tips I’ve learned for decorating dorm style spaces:

Plain bedding, to add colour and texture, accessorize with tasteful throw pillows. If you’re like me and are prone to spilling, something other than plain white is best.

Don’t hesitate to move the dorm room furniture! Some of my floor mates switched the position of their desk with their bed, which gave them more floor space.

Buy bed risers and under-bed storage bins, while bed risers may not look the nicest, they add priceless extra space that you will not find anywhere else in your dorm. I kept the majority of my clothing under my bed. Not only did this give me easy access to my clothes, it also made cleaning my room super fast and easy!

No photos taped to the wall. Use picture frames or your corkboard for displaying your photos. A cheap and trendy alternative to tape is pinning a string of twine on your wall, and hanging pictures using clothespins.

Plants (real or fake). Plants are a great way to keep a space feeling more natural. If you don’t have a green thumb, get a cactus (very low maintenance) or even fake plants to add some flora.

Art instead of posters Sure, a movie poster is cool for a while, but you’ll probably throw it out once you leave residence. In my new room, I have seashells and a starfish in a white shadow box that’s a less in your face form of decoration.

An area rug. Questionable carpeting is sometimes better off covered up by a neutral area rug.

My own desk chair. Every room comes with a chair, but since you’ll likely end up studying most of the time in your room, it’s best to get one that will be good for the long haul.


Dorm, Frosh, housing, Kingston, rent, Residence, Student

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