Student bedroom decorating ideas

Updated July 19, 2017

Whether high school or college, home or away, students require comfortable, private spaces that also are functional for working on homework. Creating a space tailored to your student's personality and needs is not difficult. There are many resources for help, including popular cable channels like HGTV that often showcase bedroom and dorm room decorating ideas.

What Can You Fit?

Measure the room you are decorating. Never purchase items for a room before knowing its size. Using oversized furniture dwarfs a room. If your student is going away to college, contact the school and request a room floor plan. Find out what furnishings the dorm room includes.

Make a List

Write down what is needed. Most schools provide suggested supply lists for incoming students. Doing a job is easiest with the proper tools. Equip your student with the tools to be successful. For college students, that means bedding, storage, lighting, microwave, refrigerator and toaster oven. Have your student contact his or her roommate and coordinate what to bring. If possible, roommates can share the expense of small appliances if they are allowed in individual rooms.


Since bedding is the largest decorating item in the room, have your student select it. With the advent of the "bed-in-a-bag," this decision is easy. A bed-in-a-bag includes sheets, pillowcases, comforter, dust ruffle and pillow shams. Pick up an extra set of sheets or two and encourage your student to change them often. Many bedding ensembles have coordinating accessories, such as throw pillows and drapery, which makes it easy to coordinate.

Paint the Walls

Choose a colour you like from the bedding as your wall colour. Or select two or three. Paint one colour, or create vertical or horizontal stripes of two or three colours. The key to painting stripes is having straight lines. Achieve this by first painting the main colour on all the walls. Next, mark off the distance for each stripe. Using a chalk line, pop a straight line for the edges of each stripe. Apply blue painter's tape to frame the area for the accent stripe. Apply accent paint, let dry and remove tape. You should have perfect stripes. Schools generally do not allow students to paint dorm rooms, so college students may purchase complimentary fabrics, and apply to sections of the wall on blank painting canvases stretched over wooded frames. They will not be flush to the wall when hung. Wrap fabric around the canvas frames and secure by stapling to the wooded frame or fabric spray glue. Another way to hang fabric on a wall is to sew a pocket at the top for a window rod and hang like drapery. Hanging fabric is also a simple way to create a headboard. Use a decorative wood pole and its holders, which are equipped with screws and anchors for installation.This hardware is designed for drywall, so you will need to assess what the walls are composed of if in a dorm room and use the proper tools for this application. If the walls are breeze block, stick with the paint canvases which are light weight and can be hung with double stick tape or self-adhesive hooks.

Add Storage

Add functional and fashionable storage -- students rarely have enough: add cubby storage units, towers and bookcases to organise and store everything. Trunks and ottomans can serve double duty as storage and extra seating for friends. Bed lifters will raise a bed 14 cm (5-1/2 inches) creating additional storage under the bed, an area with underutilised space.

Study, Study, Study

Create a functional workspace. Being a good student requires a functional work area complete with a place for computer and printer. Make sure there is space to plug in MP3 players, external hard drive and mobile phone. Have a clear space for writing as well. Filing and book storage are essential. Hang a notice board with a calendar to stay on top of deadlines. Add a decorative pencil cup and paper organisers along with framed photos to ease homesickness. Include a work lamp for late night paper writing. With the right atmosphere and tools, your student will have everything needed for success.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Dr. Eugenia Orr has been a columnist since 2006, with work featured in publications such as "Green Business Quarterly," "Our Annual Green Book" and "N'Digo Magapaper." She holds a Doctor of Education in ethical leadership, a master's degree in urban planning/policy from the University of Illinois and a B.F.A. in interior design from the International Academy of Design & Technology.