How to decorate your dorm room to feel like home

By Hayley Thompson
October 6, 2018

My collection of soccer jerseys copy 3

Moving out of your room at home and into a college dorm may be a hard adjustment for some students. I know that I wasn’t too excited about it. That’s why I chose to decorate my dorm room in a way that reminded me of home and could ease any potential stress during the school year.

Before moving in freshman year, I was anxious about living in a different room and sleeping in a different bed. I realized that the only way to ensure that I would be comfortable living on a college campus was if I was comfortable sleeping there at night.

The biggest investment for my dorm room was my mattress topper, and I will never regret it. No matter how rough my day may be, I know that I have a good night’s sleep ahead of me. The beds on college campuses are extremely hard and, personally, I don’t know how anyone can sleep on them without a mattress topper. I never thought that I would be more comfortable in my bed at school than I am in my full-sized bed at home. I absolutely sleep better at school.

My junior year dorm room. Photo by Hayley Thompson

The boring white walls in college dorms definitely give me a blank, “I’m stuck here” kind of feeling. I decided to cover the plain walls with tapestries to help make the room come to life. I wanted the walls to be covered with calming colors and illustrations of my happy place, the beach, to help me feel more comfortable in the environment. The color scheme I was aiming for was shades of purple and blue because they are my favorite colors. I primarily used purple because my walls and carpet at home are purple and it reminded me of my room. The colors I chose and depictions of my happy place help me feel very calm and relaxed in my dorm.

The first place I searched for tapestries was Society 6. This company is not only great because of their wide range of beautiful art decor, but they’re also home to hundreds of thousands of independent artists from around the world. Society 6 may be a little pricey, but I really like the idea of supporting self-employed artists.

I purchased an amazing ocean tapestry titled “Crash Into Me,” by Leah Flores. This tapestry is my favorite because its pretty sunset view makes me feel happy and free. I also purchased two decorative pillow cases. The first has an ocean waves design and is titled “Perfect Sea Waves,” by Cascadia. The second pillow case I bought is space-related and titled “Galaxy.” by Matt Borchert (not to get confused with “Galaxy” and Galaxy!” by Matt Borchert).

Lastly for my bed, I purchased a blue fur pillow case from Target as well as a purple fur body pillow that I got from Costco. Body pillows are so essential in college because the walls are awfully hard, and you don’t want to accidentally hit the wall at night.

The next place I bought decorations from was Trippy Store. This company sells psychedelic decor for low prices. I purchased a blue and purple tie-dye tapestry and a long, purple crescent moon, sun and stars tapestry that is no longer available. I also bought an eye-catching purple dreamcatcher. One great thing about this company is their amazingly responsive customer service.

The first lamp I purchased from Lamps Plus. Photo by Hayley Thompson

My favorite part about my room and one of the most essential elements to making it serene is my indoor fountain. I bought a three tier tabletop fountain from Lamps Plus. Lamps Plus is currently the nations largest lighting retailer and has plenty of exclusive home furnishings. This fountain is a necessary part to my room because of how calm it makes me feel. The sound and sight of water dripping from tier to tier is incredibly soothing and I love hearing it at night.

I wanted to decorate my room with lights, but nothing too bright so I could have it on during the night. I found a wonderful gold moon light sculpture from Urban Outfitters. Although this company may be a bit on the pricey side, their selection of light sculptures is phenomenal.

My room at night. Photo by Hayley Thompson

The last idea I wanted to get across aesthetic-wise was an underwater feel. Everything is so quiet and weightless underwater. It’s a very humbling and peaceful feeling. I wanted my room to have these qualities at night so I can completely wind down to a quiet, mindful state. I purchased a very large and affordable underwater tapestry from Amazon as well as an ocean wave projector. The wave projector has seven different color settings, a built in music player, and comes with a remote. The tapestry and wave light combination is magical. At night, my room truly does look like its underwater and it is incredibly relaxing.

Another great addition to my dorm room is a Himalayan salt lamp. I got mine from Bed, Bath & Beyond. As well as being a salt lamp, the lamp I purchased is also a mood light. I love watching the colors slowly change at night because it’s very soothing. Salt lamps are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they have plenty of health benefits, too.

Living away from home can be difficult at times, but feeling comfortable and calm in the environment you’re in can make everything a lot easier. Having a comfortable bed, living area and beautiful decorations to look at never fails to make me feel at home no matter how far away I may be.

Editor’s Note 11/22/19:

Below is an updated slideshow of some of my favorite decorations that are currently in my dorm room as of my senior year. *Important: Click on each photo to open the item in a new tab if you want to purchase it.*

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Hayley Thompson

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