Dorm Room Decor — Off to College in Style!

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Do you remember?? Oh my gosh, that was so long ago…but I’ll never forget the shopping and packing and driving and arriving at college to ‘decorate’ my first (of many) college housing situations! It’s such a huge move, and I would’ve been lost without my mother’s help. She was so wonderful in really letting me choose things that I liked, but also keeping it to what I needed. We’ll talk about the conversations regarding need vs. want with a 17-year-old later; but we got it done! There are a few keys to successful college comfortable living: a cozy place to sleep, plenty of little ways to eat (other than ordering late-night pizza,) and little comfortable spots to live, study and have fun in.  And it’s always amazing when you can basically set up a mini-kitchen, and learn how to cook a full meal with just a few small appliances! Snacks…snacks are what get us through those long nights and early mornings. Equally as amazing, when you can invite your friends over for said snacks. And also, when you kick them out and get some studying and sleeping in!

Best advice: channel your inner My Mom (Kathleen/Katrinka/Kathy/Kate/Alla); when she left after helping me move in, I felt like I was in a place full of potential, and newness, but also where I felt safe and happy like it was my own. All the while, appreciating that it was only that way because she did the hard work of supporting me, in every way on that journey.

Lessons learned from that exercise, 20-something years ago: keep it simple. We didn’t have ‘online’ and ‘shipping’, and so many conveniences and choices then as we do now. Make it fun, do it together. And here’s a hot tip: you can pretty much find everything your kid needs and a ton of fun things they will want, right here:! Check out some of our favorite selections and have fun…the process should be fun! Love every minute of it and give yourself a pat on the back for even just raising a beautiful human being and getting them off to college!

1.  BLACK+DECKER Convection Countertop Oven, Stainless Steel: It’s AMAZING what you can make with a toaster oven. If you are only cooking for one or two people, you basically can make EVERYTHING you do in a regular oven. Avocado toast for a fraction of what you’d pay at a shop, pita pizza, tuna melts on english muffins, frittata, you name it!

2.  Galanz 3.1 cu ft Compact Refrigerator Double Door, Black: Freezer plus Fridge, reasonable size, done.

3.  Presto PopLite® Hot Air Popcorn Popper: Here’s to healthy snacks!!! Flavor the popcorn with Sugar in the Raw, parmesan and cinnamon, or go for a spicy Mexican or Indian Mix.

4.  Hamilton Beach 1.1 cu ft Microwave: College Must-Have. I remember the very first time I babysat other people’s kids….and the mom asked me to heat up dinner. Easy enough right? Nope. There wasn’t a microwave!!! OMG. Can you even imagine?

5.  Contigo AUTOSEAL West Loop Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Travel Mug: Contigo is my brand of choice for travel mugs and water bottles, hands down. Done. Make your own coffee or get cheaper refills at the cafe when you take your own cup. And there’s the environment. Triple done.

6.  Ello Syndicate BPA-Free Glass Water Bottle with Flip Lid, 20 oz: BPA-free buzz, glass, easy-to-clean, harder to ‘mold/infect’ and super-cute!

7.  Simple Modern Summit Water Bottle + Extra Lid: Oh, the extra lid. If only everything in life came with the extra lid!

8.  Contigo AUTOSPOUT Ashland Water Bottle, 24 oz., Smoke: Favorite water bottle, mostly for ease of drinking with one hand. Stay hydrated. Your brain works better — and your heart will be happier. #truth.

9.  Proctor Silex 1.7 Liter Cordless Electric Kettle: We drink tea, and so should you. And…this is a super-easy way to warm instant oatmeal and soups. And OK, fine, those dreaded high-sodium but super-delicious-in-college Ramen Noodles.

10.  Hamilton Beach Programmable 5-Quart Slow Cooker: What you can’t cook in a microwave or toaster oven, you can in a slow cooker! Many a nephew came out of their college experience a gourmet chef…I think the slow cooker helped.

11.  Hamilton Beach 1 L Stainless Steel Electric Kettle: Another kettle, but this one is stainless. There’s something great about stainless in college. It just feels like grown-up fun.

12.  Keurig K-Compact Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker: For the college kid that wakes up JUST-IN-TIME!

13.  Hamilton Beach 2 Way Brewer: For the college kid that sometimes wakes up just in time, and often wakes up in time to also make their roommate some coffee.

14.  Mainstays 5-Cup Coffee Maker: For the traditionalist. Pure, plain old-fashioned. Perfection!


1.   Walker Edison Premium Metal Full Size Loft Bed: Loft beds are the key to creating enough space to live, study, chill, and sleep in a dorm or small apartment. It’s just nice when your sleeping area is its own. And having the extra space underneath for seating or a desk is the best!

2.  Mainstays Acrylic Rolling Chair, Multiple Colors: If you need to bring your own desk chair…this is it!  Comes in many color combos, but this is our favorite. There’s just something awesome about the “this paper is done ROLL+Swivel!”

3.  42″ Retro Modern Wood Writing Desk: Simple easy, great design!

4.  Coaster Furniture Bunks Full Metal Workstation Loft Bed: Smart design, super-efficient.

5.  Crates and Pallet Large Wood Crate: Organization is an important life skill. These help.

6.  Collapsible Storage Bins, Pack 4: Love these mixed with the wood ones, many colors to choose from!

7.  Better Homes and Gardens 16 Cube Storage Organizer, Multiple Colors: Great storage for space at a premium.

8.  Seward Trunk 30-Inch Footlocker Trunk with Wheels: Wheels! Yes! These things get so heavy, yet they are so wonderful for storing things and having some personal space. The wheels are awesome! And a good trunk never goes out of style!

9.  The Original Big Joe Bean Bag, Available in Multiple Colors: Bean bag chairs are just super-fun and a great place to lounge!

10.  Big Joe Milano Bean Bag Chair, Multiple Colors: These are awesome for something a little more upright, but also still flexible and easy to move around.

11.  DHP Kinsley Chevron Contemporary Style Futon, White with Grey Design: This one is great for extra company, and if the company happens to be Mom…well, this will definitely be the most comfy place to rest your head.

12.  Big Joe Flip Lounger Bean Bag Chair: This thing is fantastic because it folds out for sleeping or movie-watching or long nights of reading.

13.  Safavieh Montauk Saranna Striped Area Rug or Runner: Nothing gets me like a big bold stripe! So many amazing colors and sizes to choose from, but yes, I love the black and white best!

14.  Mainstays Be Bold Loop Pile Script Print 3’x4″ x 5′ Room Rug, Multiple Colors: If we’re having them stand on one message…this might just be it.

15.  5×7 Natco Plaid Area Rug: Modern plaid. The dots are super-fun! And this will handle foot-traffic well!

1. Better Homes and Gardens Chevron Decorative Throw Pillow, 18″ x 18″: Classic, but super-cool and gender-neutral!

2. Ellison Fabric Pillow with Polyester Fiber Fill, Dark Grey: Soft and super-fuzzy as all things in life should be!

3. Nourison Luminecence Fully Beaded Love Pewter Throw Pillow: Philly girl. LOVE never gets old.  Especially when it’s beaded!

4. Mainstays Reversible 17″ x 17″ Sequin Mermaid Decorative Pillow: Flip Sequins. They are a thing. When your kid graduates with honors, we credit this pillow for successful stress-management help!

5. Better Homes and Gardens Shibori Decorative Throw Pillow, 17″ x 17″: Fun, gorgeous, and gender-neutral.

6. Better Homes and Gardens Arctic Faux Fur Decorative Throw Pillow 16″x16″, Ivory: All the fuzzy furry!!!

7. Mainstays Hello Flex Neon on Die Cut Frame: Fun way to decorate a wall!

8. Mainstays LED Geometric Table Lamp, Rose Gold: Functional sculpture.

9. Mainstays Love Neon Lights: More fun messages for a wall!

10. Philips Wake-Up Light Therapy with Colored Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock & Sunset Fading Night Light: For the seasonally affected, needs-a-sleeping-coach kid. These things are amazing!

11. Mainstays LED Wireless Charging Lamp with USB Port: So great when you can light and charge.

12. Mainstays 20″ Wall Clock: We all need a little pressure, in a pretty way.

13. InterDesign Una Bathroom Tote Basket with Handle, Gray/Yellow Chevron: Necessary.

14. Better Homes and Gardens Oversized 2-Piece Bath Towel: Fun towels you’ll know are your own!

15. InterDesign Collapsible Riley Small Storage Bin, Blue/White: Organized fun storage for all the stuff!

16. Mainstays Circle Ruched Solid Microfiber Comforter: Love this comforter set.

17. Honey Can Do Large Laundry Duffle Bag with Bottom Storage, White/Black: Great way to collect and transport laundry! And/or everything you need for a picnic!

18. VCNY Home Navy/Gray Stripe 50″x60″ Throw: Naps. We all need naps. And a comfy throw blanket to take them with.

And there we have it!  Eat, Sleep, and Live your way straight through this next academic year! Free 2-day shipping on most orders $35 or more; free shop online, pick-up, in-store today option; personalized shopping experience on-site; and check-out the website for some inspiration on dorm life too! has everything the kids need and want to be ready to get off-to or back-to college!

xoxo, A

A huge thank you to Walmart for sponsoring this post! What a huge and fun selection for college decor you have! As always, all thoughts, opinions, design, styling and product choices are my own. And readers, thank you for your continued support, it’s always genuinely appreciated.


About Author

The Mom Edit Home Editor. Fierce lover of momming, 3 amazing kids, blessed with the most wonderful family and friends, likes coffee black, wine dry, chocolate dark, and salt chunky, resting position is in motion, particularly where salt water and wind are involved. Moderately obsessed with home design. Feels super lucky to be a part of this community. xo

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  1. I love you guys, but I am so disappointed to see you partnering with/promoting Walmart. Not only does their predatory pricing destroy local businesses, but they are also well known for treating their employees pretty atrociously, especially women. I completely understand the need for sponsored posts and fully support your right to support yourselves, it just seems like there are so many other options out there that would align better with your values and with those of your readers.

  2. I was so excited to see your take on decorating for a dorm–but so disappointed to see it was stuff from Walmart. I echo the above commenter, and truly understand the need to pay the bills–but I just will not support this company–same goes for your sponsored Modcloth posts (who are now owned by Walmart) I truly expected and want more out of this blog.

  3. I love all of your posts but I definitely cannot always afford the things! This is such an inexpensive option and so friggin cute!!!!! LOVE!!!

  4. Perfect for dorm decorating too because it’s affordable so if (when) it gets trashed (and it does) it’s not the end of the world.

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