Dorm Therapy

Before & After: These Three Dorms Are Almost Unrecognizable After Getting Decorated

published Oct 10, 2019
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Your dorm room is brimming with design opportunity, it just takes imagination—and a lot of organization. To prove our point, we rounded up three of the smartest dorm makeovers we could find. From a luxe-looking double dorm at Ole Miss to a transitional-style dorm room in Texas, read ahead for 14 decor and organizational ideas that will transform even the tiniest of dorm rooms into a storage-savvy space no time.

An Ole Miss Double Dorm Room Revamp

If you squint at the after photo, you can still kind of picture what it looked like before the extra-long twins got a much-needed facelift and the linoleum flooring got covered up, among many other things.

“With only 12 feet of horizontal space to work with, we needed to utilize as much vertical space as possible for storage,” says designer Melissa Karl of Room Remedies by Melissa, who turned this Ole Miss dorm room from drab to fab. “We chose a layout where the beds and most furniture pieces would run parallel to each other, which allows each roommate to have both their own personal space on opposite sides of the room but also leaves the option of being able to add a larger storage piece between the two beds.”

It is a dorm, so Karl put in some bed risers to create extra storage, but she covered them up with extra-long bed skirt panels to keep the laundry baskets, storage cubes, and other unsightly containers out of sight.

Those tufted ottomans work triple duty: they offer additional storage and seating, and they also are step stools for getting into the high-up beds. The tufted headboards have a similar look, and made what could’ve been a cold and uninviting dorm room feel much more homey.

Last, but not least, Karl added those quatrefoil mirrors to usher in some more light into the small space—in style. The overall effect? A decor scheme that makes you completely forget about those cinderblock walls.

A Transitional Texas Dorm Room Makeover

This dorm room is proof that even with limited lighting and minimal space, a few key design-minded touches can make a world of difference—seriously! Can you believe this is the same room?!

“It was important to provide ample, easy-to-access storage options that would make it easy for an active university student to keep her space tidy and well organized,” says designer Nicole Guppy Brown of Otium Interiors, who made the transformation happen.

A big part of that was adding in two basic and inexpensive white cube shelving units under the bed. To go alongside the elevated bed, a taller storage unit (similar to this five-drawer cabinet), was brought in to act as a bedside table/nightstand.

Brown also placed a mesh fabric storage organizer over the mini fridge, hanging down on both sides. “The pockets are of varying size and depth which allows for the storage of dishes, cutlery, and cleaning products that need to be easily and frequently accessed,” she says. And to make up for the one overhead flush light that wasn’t nearly bright enough, Brown picked a table lamp and a desk lamp.

A Tall Truman State University Dorm Room Transformation

Like many dorms, this one made up for what it lacked in square footage with vertical height. Karl used that to her advantage to create a lofted bed situation that’s equally pretty and practical. And what a difference she made!

The cube organizer under the bed is great for both vertical and horizontal storage. “The top of it is useful for storing makeup supplies and vanity mirror—you can just pull your desk chair over and it’s a makeup station,” Karl says.

A textured bean bag chair like the one in this room is a comfy, large and fuzzy place to study, while the storage ottoman in front of it acts as a side table that also can store some extra pillows or books.

Karl added some decorative desk organizers help keep everything clutter free, and made good use of 3M hooks to help display purses. In the end, the whole look is adorable, functional, and miles beyond what it started as!