37 Creative DIY Dorm Decor Ideas to Liven Up Your Space

Moving into a dorm, whether it’s your freshman or sophomore year, is an exciting time. With new friends to make and new things to learn, there is so much to soak in and experience. Decorating your dorm room in your own personal style will give your peers an idea of who you are and what you like.

Whether you want a relaxing vibe for some serious studying or a place where friends can kick back and chill, design a space that’s right for you. To give you inspiration, we’ve gathered 37 DIY dorm decor ideas. From colorful rugs to unique photo boards, there’s something here for every style.

To personalize your space even more, add wall art like a collage poster or framed canvas print. Choose favorite photos from a senior trip or family vacation so you can be reminded of all the good times and make your new space feel more like home.

1. Colorful DIY Rug

a colorful rug is on the floor

Source: My Poppet

Add a pop of color to your space with an accent rug. Repurpose your old t-shirts into a beautiful rug for your dorm room. Braid strips of fabric together then sew them in a shape that will fit your space.

2. World Map Frame

Wrap a map of your favorite place—whether that’s your hometown or a National Park—around an existing picture frame. Adhere your map to the frame and make sure all of the corners lay flat. Finish by inserting your favorite photo of you and a friend!

3. Decorative Shelving

washi tape on the side of shelves

Source: Aunt Peaches

Accent your shelves with patterned washi tape. Show off your personal style by choosing a simple design or one that’s more festive like florals and hearts.

4. Monogram Wall Art

Paint a wooden picture frame with a fun color like teal or purple. Place scrapbook paper underneath the glass, then add a letter for your first or last name.

5. String Art

string art in the shape of california

Source: Nat2Shabby

The best DIY dorm decor ideas are personalized to you. Choose an image, like your home state or favorite animal, to make into string art and decorate a blank wall.

6. DIY Votives

Decorate glass jars with thin fabric to make beautiful votives. Place battery-operated tea lights inside instead of real candles to make sure you and your roommate stay safe.

7. Lettered Coasters

drink coasters sit on table

Source: Gourmet Gab

If you’re a literature buff or just enjoy word play, make your own coasters using lettered tiles. Form words like ‘love’ and ‘café’ to personalize each one.

8. Hanging Photo Display

photos hang on wall

Source: Shutterfly

Construct wall decor with your favorite photos from recent vacations and hangouts with friends. Tie pieces of string onto a wooden dowel, then secure your printed photos along each one.

9. Wall of Hats

Do you wear hats in fall, winter and spring? Turn your trendy accessories into decor by hanging them on the wall with clothespins.

10. Clipboard Decor

Cover your wall with things that are important to you: photos, magazines or your bucket list. Hang clipboards across the wall, then place each item in a sequence that feels right to you. The best part of this DIY dorm decor is that you can switch out photos or magazines any time you like.

11. Paper Lanterns

Add relaxing lighting to your dorm room with beautiful paper lanterns. Place battery-operated candles or fairy lights inside, as candles would likely cause the paper to burn.

12. Festive Book Covers

When you’re in college, there are plenty of books on your shelves. Cover them with festive paper and designs—they’ll brighten up your dorm room and your backpack.

13. Photo Collage

photo collage hangs on wall

Source: Shutterfly

Build a collage filled with all of your favorite memories: spring break, family vacation and late nights with friends. Add a caption or an inspiring quote for truly personal decor.

14. Glitter Frame

Put some sparkle in your life with a glitter picture frame. Choose a color like pink or go more neutral with gold or silver.

15. Pixelated Wall Art

washi tape art sits on dresser

Source: Karen Kavett

Take a blank canvas and create a plaid design using different colors of washi tape. If you layer them in a random pattern, you will end up with a pixelated look

16. Potted Succulent

Succulents are easy to take care of and don’t require much light—making them the ideal plants for a dorm room. Place your succulent in a neutral colored pot or one that’s more decorative.

17. Wall Calendar

Keep track of important dates and deadlines with a wall calendar. Customize yours with photos from family gatherings or bonfires with friends.

18. Clothespin Garland

cutout paper hangs on clothespins

Source: Rosie Kerr

To hang above your desk, make a festive garland out of twine and mini clothespins. Clip on photos or decals to make it personalized.

19. Braided Rug

Pieces of scrap fabric and old t-shirts make for great rug material. Choose a blend of complimentary colors for a vibrant rug that brightens your space.

20. Shoe Organizer

Make organizing your shoes and saving space in your dorm room easier with a homemade shoe rack. Form triangles out of cardboard for a geometric design.

21. Decorative Mason Jar

Store your pencils, pens and markers in a fun mason jar. Accent it with sprinkles or paint to match your unique style.

22. Metallic Monogram Art

Place thumbtacks in the shape of your initial to create metallic monogram art. With a foam board as your base, you can play with your design until you get it just right.

23. Yarn Ball Chandelier

Make colorful chandeliers out of pink, yellow or orange yarn. Hang several close together for an energetic vibe.

24. Eclectic Photo Wall

wall is covered in photos

Source: Shutterfly

Print your favorite photos in a range of styles and sizes and secure them to the wall with tape. The diversity of your display, which may include a calendar or photo collage, will add texture to your wall.

25. Washi Tape Frame

Customize a picture frame with the exact color and style you want. Adhere washi tape evenly across a picture frame for this simple yet stylish DIY dorm decor.

26. Paper Flowers

people make paper flowers

Source: Rawpixel.com

Cut flowers and leaves out of colored paper for accents you can hang on your wall or dorm furniture. Try to make your designs as life-like as possible.

27. DIY Fabric Headboard

Give your room a sophisticated look by adding a headboard. Make yours out of cardboard and fabric for an easy DIY project that will make your dorm feel more like home.

28. Macrame Curtain

Bring texture and personality to your room with a homemade macrame curtain. Hang this trendy piece inside your door or in front of your closet.

29. Heart Photo Wall

photos arranged in the shape of a heart

Source: Shutterfly

Arrange photos in the shape of a heart for DIY dorm decor that bursts with love and warmth. Choose candids from summer outings with friends or skiing in the winter with family.

30. Concrete Geometric Planters

Create planters for succulents and cacti out of concrete. Form geometric shapes like triangles and trapezoids for a unique touch. Place them on your desk to add some life to the space.

31. Watercolor Art

person painting circles

Source: Roman Kraft

Have a knack for painting and creating? Make your own wall decor with watercolor paints. Design your art on canvases or small circles of paper.

32. Hat Rack

Hang everything from your winter hats to your baseball caps on colorful racks. Make them double as wall decor or place them in the closet to save on wall space.

33. Photo Board

photos hang on wire frame

Source: Shutterfly

Personalize your college dorm room with a large photo board. Fasten string or wire across a metal frame then clip your favorite snapshots throughout.

34. Skateboard Shelf

Show off your passion for adrenaline sports with this skateboard shelf. Tie rope to each end of the board to form a shelf that’s bound to start some fun conversations.

35. Rainbow Rug

Liven up your space with a rug that’s full of personality. Form thick rings of each color, like blue and yellow, for a sleek, professional appearance.

36. DIY Light Garland

Create an oasis with this DIY light garland. Secure small paper cups to each bulb on a string of lights. Hang your garland above your desk or in a spot where your friends usually hang out.

37. Personalized Accents

dorm room bed with fun pillows

Source: Shutterfly

Matching your dorm room decor with your personality is important. Choose unique color schemes, photos and pillows to create a vibe that will make you feel relaxed and happy.

Make the most of your time in the dorms by personalizing your space. For the final touch, customize a fleece blanket that can lay on your bed or futon. This will come in handy on those late nights of studying or weekends of watching movies with friends.