Thanks for stopping by! I’m Grace van Meurer, a graphic designer and illustrator with a passion for interior spaces. This is where I share my DIY home improvement projects and insights. Cheers!

Dorm decor that can graduate with you

Dorm decor that can graduate with you

I was perusing the dorm collections at Target and wanted to tell every college-bound kid there to save their money. Buy things that will last and please stay away from those hamburger book ends.

I went out and bought all of my dorm stuff back in 2012, and I’m here to report that the weird stuff from the Back to College section at Target isn’t going to grow with you. I’m always trying to buy things with the longest possible lifespan. Versatile. Durable. Timeless. Especially when you’re 18 and your style is bound to change a whole bunch from year to year. With that being said, I am also here to tell you what I purchased for college those many years ago and what has survived the test of time.

All of these items are budget friendly and I promise you’ll be happy about it when you’re trying to fill up your first grown up apartment!

  1. Accent chair

    Skip the futon and get something easier to move. Your parents will appreciate it, and you’ll still have a comfy spot to curl up with coffee and homework. If you’re short on room, try to find a place to store the chair that is at the desk in your dorm room and use your cozy chair for lounging and working. Plus, an accent chair can easily If you want a futon to host visiting friends, try an inflatable camp mattress instead! It packs down to about the size of a water bottle, and in my experience, are actually very comfortable!

  2. Throw Pillows

    It’s true that throw pillows are basically stuffed animals for adults. During college (and for years after) I moved around a lot, and it was always comforting to have a few constant decor pieces that I would take from one place to the next. It instantly made any place feel like home. However, I wish that I would have invested in quality inserts with inexpensive covers instead of buying a trendy pillow off the shelf at Target. As much as I love Target, there throw pillows are not something I can recommend if you’re looking for something to last a while.

    Shop my favorite throw pillow inserts

  3. Rug

    Cover up that ugly dorm carpet and get something that is a little bit nicer on the feet. you can find a small, inexpensive rug that will automatically add personality and coziness to your dorm room.

  4. Laundry Basket

    All dorm rooms are different of course, but mine didn’t have a lot of storage, which required my laundry basket to be out in plain sight all the time. I chose a bright pink plastic laundry basket that was cumbersome to carry and cracked after a couple of months. If I had to do it all over again, I would choose something soft sided that is a little bit easier on the eyes.

  5. Artwork

    Think outside of the typical dorm poster decor and use wrapping paper or downloadable prints from etsy. You can achieve a unique, high end look without spending a lot of money.

  6. Frames

    I still have frames from my college apartment. I remember feeling like I splurged at the time to get frames that were around $15/each, and all these years later they are still hanging on my walls!

  7. Greenery

    You can’t go wrong with welcoming a plant to your room. I always had low maintenance succulents in college, but there are a lot of low maintenance house plants that can be happy in almost any home.

  8. Desk lamp

    Even if you aren’t planning on studying in your room, a desk lamp is great for ambiance. The overhead lights in dorms can feel like you are living in a classroom, so softer lighting options are always a good idea!

  9. Small Storage Jars

    I bought two containers like this when I first went to college and have used them ever since. I’ve used them in the bathroom for cotton swabs, in the kitchen for coffee grounds, and on my desk for miscellaneous paper clips and all that. As I got a little bit smarter, I realized that most jar candles can serve the same purpose (although not food safe). Because candles aren’t typically allowed in dorms, enjoy the candle ahead of time and use boiling water and soap to wash out the wax.

  10. Matching Clothes Hangers

    This one seems so small it’s almost silly, but drastically improved the appearance of my closet. And that was important because my dorm room had an open-closet situation. Matching hangers is a super simple way to clear visual clutter and can make a big difference in a space as small as a dorm room.

Put it all together

With just 10 items, you can put together a cohesive and stylish room without breaking the bank! And hopefully, some of these things will graduate college along with you as well!

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