Dorm Room Hacks You Can Take to Your First Home

Here’s how to repurpose your dorm room décor after graduation.

By Catherine Stansfield


After four years of hard work, graduation marks new opportunities, ventures, and spaces. It is a time for moving on, and potentially even moving out. But your first homes and apartments mark new and interesting design challenges. Your apartment may be lacking in space, or you may not have the budget for a home’s worth of furniture with your first few paychecks.


Thankfully, there are ways to have the space of your dreams if you repurpose the accessories from dorm room and give them new life. Follow these design tips to take your dorm room designs and expand them into the home you have always wanted.


Filling Blank Space with Tapestries and Wall Art

Perhaps you have always envisioned your own space with an eye-catching accent wall in a unique color or texture. However, if you do not have the budget for a feature wall, you can hold on to and dust off the tapestry you kept beside your twin bed in college and give it a new and functional purpose.


Hang a tasteful tapestry behind your bedframe for a bedroom accent wall and pair it with your comforter and bedding set. This will create cohesion in your room and add an element of design with accessories that you already have. You can also hang your tapestry in creative places, like a reading nook or desk space, for an artful design to match your creative spaces.




Much like accent walls, wall décor is a transformative design element that can quickly add up and break your budget. If you are looking to beautify your walls and are disheartened by the price of custom wall pieces and paintings, one solution is to update your dorm room wall art with inexpensive frames.


Frame the photos you have taken over the past few years with minimalist and budget-friendly frames to dress up your walls. Take your creative collages and frame them behind glass for a sophisticated look. Even framing your posters of inspirational quotes or band photos can transform dorm room chic into sophisticated wall art.




Substitute New Floors with Old Throw Rugs

Flooring can be one of the most expensive parts to a new home or space, and unfortunately, can make or break the appearance of your entire room. If new hardwood floors or carpets are not within your immediate budget, consider keeping that cheap throw rug you once used in your dorm room. With thoughtful pairing, your faux-fur rug can look more expensive than it is, and cover your outdated floors.


As long as your throw rugs are simple in color, dress up your accompanying furniture pieces, like sofas, beds, and chairs, with matching accent pillows. Throw rugs will give your room a consistent and thoughtful design while also covering up unwanted floors.




Saving Your Storage Solutions

One crucial tip after moving from your dorm room to a place of your own is to not be in a hurry to toss the storage solutions you relied on in tight dorm quarters. Your first apartment, or even your first home, can be on the small side, and downsizing the furniture you intend to purchase is key. Thus, keeping your plastic storage units, shoe racks, and baskets can save you a fortune without ruining your design.




Under-the-bed storage space is a key feature of many dorm rooms. Just because you have traded in your standard twin or bunk for the queen- or king-sized bed of your dreams, you should still consider utilizing beneath your bed as valuable storage space.


Keep your out-of-season or excess clothes in storage containers or baskets beneath your bed to free up closet space. Use your shoe racks to house your very many pairs of shoes rather than investing in an armoire or extra dresser, which are bulky and expensive. Dorm room storage solutions can work perfectly in your new space by keeping your items in place and free from clutter.




Miscellaneous Dorm Décor with a Stylish Twist

Your dorm room accessories do not have to be left out of your mature designs. Using your old décor in new ways will preserve your bank account and look nice too.


For example, keep your dorm room calendars or whiteboard as a piece of quirky décor with a functional twist. Instead of listing your class and club schedules, use these pieces to decorate your desk with drawn art, or continue to use the piece as an outlet to plan your day.




String lights have become a staple feature of dorm rooms across the country. While you may have used them as accents to your bunkbed, or strung them along the wall, there are some stylish updates you can consider to accessorize your home with this offbeat lighting.


Accent your shelving units or mantle with lights to draw the eye to your design and décor areas. Create stunning focal and centerpieces by adding your string lights to vases for an eye-catching light fixture.


If chandeliers or hanging lights seem impossible on your budget, use your string lights and lanterns as overhanging features in your eating and kitchen areas to create a dynamic room.


Moving on from the college experience and facing a new place filled with nothing other than bare walls can be exciting yet intimidating. When you’re starting from the ground up in your design, it is important to utilize what you already have to stay on budget. Give your dorm room décor a second life in your new home with thoughtful planning and design.


Images used with permission, courtesy of

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