12 Good Sources for Dorm Room Decor

12 Good Sources for Dorm Room Decor

Sarah Coffey
Aug 10, 2010

Across the country, parents and college-bound kids are making checklists of all the basics they'll need for dorm life. If you're looking for a few ways to customize a dorm room and make it feel like a lived-in space, here are some of our recommended resources.

Modern Furniture & Accessories for Small Spaces

These stores carry modern and contemporary designs for small spaces. Prices are higher than big box places, but the stuff is nicer and made to last beyond the dorm years.

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This online shop has a college living section with cool-looking bean bags, designer organizers, and high-end accessories. Prices aren't cheap, but you can find versatile pieces, like the $229 Fatboy Lounge, which can be styled in multiple positions.

07614a2c52d1ccf32d35bfd0d19d612bf9ea9217. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Smart Furniture
This web-based store carries affordable and designer furniture for small spaces. Especially useful for dorm rooms are their computer/cord organizers and storage pieces (like the $160 Componibili, which is a little expensive but super durable and will last into the next apartment).

15df5798251587035dfdd0311d65a2786eab02ba. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop At Work Design
This Midwestern store specializes in storage and items for the home office, which makes it a good resource for college kids who care about design. The Droog Wall Strap ($28) is a cool alternative to the traditional bulletin board.

Supplies and Appliances

Mini fridges, cleaning supplies — they're not the sexiest things on the list, but they can impact whether or not a dorm is comfortable to live in.

82c05624d692126bfe48a99c72137925c4dc43d6. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Green Depot
When you're stocking up on basics like laundry detergent and cleaning supplies, look for nontoxic brands. We like the selection at Green Depot, where they also carry air and water filters, which can come in handy when you're living in community housing.

253471fefdef25ab1749b8b2d5b84dbdf4290f65. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop CompactAppliance.com
Shopping for a microwave, mini fridge, travel cooler, or air conditioner? This online store carries a huge range of appliances for small spaces. You can even find a fridge to match your decor — this is the hot pink Haier NuCool Cube Fridge for $127.

42785b5ff9f9c70031fc466f98c89b4dfb21bdf8. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Allergy Buyer's Club
If you're shopping for allergy-proof bedding or air filters, this online store is a resource we've used before. For a dorm, we like the compact size of the HEPA Austin Air Healthmate Plus Jr. for $380.

Big Box and Chain Stores

These are affordable go-to stores for dorm basics: bedding, laundry hampers, shower caddies...all those checklist items that every kid needs.

41fdfc9e14c2534e0feecb9f3fdb311c2e87308d. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop IKEA
Going to IKEA for dorm supplies is a rite of passage these days. It's the go-to home store for college students, for good reason — it's cheap and a lot of it looks cool if you don't overdo it. We like their lighting selection for a dorm; this is the Ljusas Uvas Table Lamp for $40.

695a21edcfad00f2f7f9924548c16c7b4c1e4b2f. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Container Store
Another dorm shopping staple, the Container Store is a good source for laundry baskets, trash cans, shower caddies, and small storage. We prefer their basic, natural cloth pieces, like the Umbra Rectangular Crunch Laundry Basket for $20.

6cb3d8efc15220e03d7f374fba0b090252d51fea. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Target
Their bedding selection lately has been pretty good, with budget designer lines from DwellStudio, Thomas O'Brien, and Rachel Ashwell. Shown left is the Thomas O'Brien Pale Sky sheet set for $70.

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Their rugs, towels, and pillows are usually pretty basic, good, and inexpensive. (We've always liked the bamboo bath towels.) The orange and cream rug shown left is the Switchback for $299.

Vintage Accessories

Individual, one-of-a-kind pieces are the things that really make a dorm room feel more personal and less like a standard issue space.

81287fd193d43699fee832cf4e5c085004c93d1d. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Thrift Store Guide
GoodWill, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul...they all become indispensable resources when you're a poor college kid. What's more, they carry one-of-a-kind things that can save a dorm room from feeling too IKEA-ed out.

db78c0be2e01ea2f2ad1351cef6f6d5fe1a4bfd1. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Flea Market Guide
For unique accessories like artwork and lamps, check out your local flea market. This post offers several ideas for using common flea market finds to accessorize a room.

Photo: The Container Store

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