Solutions for Decorating Dorms and Apartments

In this example, the gallery wall has a wide variety of sizes of items as well as the overall shape in which they are placed together. The span of colors draws interest as well. 

Brittany Moon

For many college students, being able to feel comfortable with themselves and where they are living is very important. Attempting to make a dorm room or pint-sized apartment livable and ‘homey’ can be incredibly difficult. There are many regulations regarding these living environments as well, such as restrictions on paint or nails on the walls.

The options of decorating an apartment or dorm on a budget are quite endless if one is looking in the right places. A few options would be a gallery wall, a DIY canvas or even floating shelves and twinkly lights.

For some, a gallery wall may seem quite intimidating or even impossible, but it is rather simple. The main idea to a quality gallery wall is having things of varying shapes, sizes and textures: big and small, flat and three-dimensional. Depending on the living space, the gallery wall could be vertical or horizontal. The big thing to remember here is to make the gallery piece geometric in shape, whether that be a square, rectangle or any other basic shape.

To complete a DIY canvas to place on your gallery wall, there are a few things needed. First is a canvas and paints — acrylic work best for this idea and was what was used in the photograph — along with a phrase, quote or simple design. A variety of craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels offer different types of canvas. The classic white is a favorite by many, but the burlap style painted with white paint adds a cool, rustic element to your wall. These canvases are perfect for a bedroom or dorm room, as well as a kitchen in an apartment. The final important thing to remember with this DIY is to hang them with sticky hooks, not nails, as sticky hooks do not damage the wall.

Floating shelves for a bedroom or living area can be used in many different ways. Putting small toys or staples from childhood mixed with more mature pieces can be dynamic and creates a bold look. One drawback many face with floating shelves is that the single best way to use them is by nailing them into the wall, so unless the student is comfortable filling the holes at the end of the semester, as is allowed in many apartment complexes, this may not be the best idea.

The last decorating elements are to place twinkly Christmas-style lights somewhere in the room. The best place for these lights to go is a focal point of the room or a place where a little extra light would be helpful. Around a desk is practical because it adds a bit of extra light to the workspace. Another popular option is around a headboard or if in a dorm, on the rail along the side of the bed. This gives the benefit of having a bit of extra light without having the overhead light on. One last placement option for these lights would be along a plain wall. This option is used mostly in apartments. Another option is to line the inside of a window with them to add a soft glow throughout the room.

Coming to college as a freshman, or even returning after a summer at home with family can be difficult. Using one or more of these quick and easy decorating ideas can assist in making the dorm or apartment any college student resides in more appealing, homey and livable.