Dorm-Wall Decorating Ideas

  • 01 of 11

    10 Ways to Banish Bare Dorm Walls

    College roommates decorating room
    Yellow Dog Productions/Photodisc/Getty Images

    You’ve chosen cool bedding, picked out a desk and even scored a sweet mini-fridge, but despite your stylish swag, your new dorm lacks personality.

    It’s your first home-away-from-home, and you want to make it your own, but strict rules regarding the use of paint or even tacks and other hardware can make the otherwise exciting prospect of decorating your new space feel like something of a bust.

    Looking for a way to project some life and creativity onto those drab dorm walls? You’ve come to the right place! Get inspired by these clever, dorm-friendly decorating solutions.

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  • 02 of 11

    Removable Fabric Wallpaper

    Green wallpaper in bedroom

    It may sound too good to be true, but a decent stretch of fabric and a few cans of spray starch is all you need to make your very own, completely temporary wallpaper. When it’s time to move on, simply peel the fabric from the walls, and wash away any residue with soapy water. You can even wash and reuse the fabric next year!

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  • 03 of 11

    Scrapbook Paper Mosaic

    Bright squares painted on bedroom wall
    The Swell Designer

    This striking accent wall was created using inexpensive scrapbooking paper and wall-safe adhesive dots. You can create the same look in under an hour and for less than $20!

    Prefer a more conservative color scheme? Try using several shades of a single color, and place them at random for a mosaic look, or organize the shades from light to dark, creating an attractive ombre effect.

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  • 04 of 11

    Vintage Print Wall

    Paper on wall behind mannequin
    Crystelle Boutique

    Vintage sheet music, timeworn newspaper and even pages from old books make for excellent wallpapering material, creating a warm and richly textured setting worthy of any aspiring writer or musician. Place each sheet side-by-side, or go for a more layered effect, securing the edges with double-sided tape.

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  • 05 of 11

    Painted Pegboard

    British flag peg board in bedroom
    Our Fifth House

    The word “pegboard” usually conjures images of a two-car garage with a well-organized tool bench, but given a chic paint job, pegboard can have many decorative uses.

    This over-sized headboard creates a fabulous focal point. It also doubles as a bedside storage unit and light fixture. Muted colors and a light sanding give the piece a somewhat distressed look, adding a charming touch of vintage-rocker glam.

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  • 06 of 11

    Duct Tape Accent Wall

    Grey bedroom design with diamond painted wall
    Nesting Place

    With a good deal of patience and the right kind of tape, you can create a show-stopping masterpiece without ever picking up a paintbrush!

    This stunning diamond accent wall was created using approximately $25 worth of carefully placed Scotch decorative duck tape. Unlike the traditional, heavy-duty grey stuff, this less-sticky alternative goes up easy and peels clean, providing a temporary, no-mess alternative to the old tape-and-paint method. What’s more, you can choose from a dizzying array of colors and patterns!

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  • 07 of 11

    Memo Board Wall

    Blue painted memo board
    Designing Solutions

    Why settle for a simple bulletin board when you can turn an entire wall into a giant, decorative message center?

    Stretch elasticated ribbon across the wall diagonally, securing the ribbon with thumbtacks placed at regular intervals. Then reverse direction, working your way back across the wall in opposite diagonal lines and placing a thumbtack wherever the diagonals meet. When you’re done, simply slide in pictures, notes, and decorative items.

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  • 08 of 11

    Fabric Panel Accent Wall

    Colorful canvases on a wall
    Bella Dia

    Add color and texture to your dorm walls with these easy-to-make fabric panels.

    When choosing a fabric, opt for several different patterns, but try to keep your pattern selections within the same color family. (Limiting your color scheme creates a cohesive feel, tying your different pattern selections together for a polished look.)

    Using adhesive spray and working in small sections, carefully glue a layer of quilt batting onto lightweight, foam core board. Then smooth your chosen fabric over the quilt batting, wrapping the fabric around the back of the board and securing with staples. Hang with wall safe-adhesive tabs.

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  • 09 of 11

    Cork Squares

    Cork board squares over desk
    Kitty Lascurain

    A trendy take on a dorm room staple, these painted cork squares boast practicality and pizzazz. Use them to emphasize your workspace, or even create a colorful, wall-to-wall mosaic.

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  • 10 of 11

    Inspired Decals

    Star design on wall behind couch
    Wall Star Graphics

    Decals have long been the go-to solution for temporary décor, but after several years of the same tired motifs and trite wall quotes, decals have lost much of their appeal.

    Luckily, the good folks over at Etsy have taken it upon themselves to re-invent the concept, creating scores of new, sophisticated and highly imaginative designs. Opt for a stunning focal piece, or fill an entire wall with customizable panels for a more dramatic effect.

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  • 11 of 11

    Washi Tape

    Pink and blue wall in bedroom
    Pencil Shavings Studio

    A favorite among artists and crafters alike, washi tape has boundless decorating potential. Use it to create a “framed” photo gallery, or even a pinstriped or diamond accent wall. Here, a clever designer has used washi to simulate wall paneling.

    Available in dozens of colors and patterns, this beautiful, low-tack, rice paper tape can take you as far as your imagination can go. Tear it, stick it, even reposition and reuse without damage to walls and surfaces.