While everyone’s college experience is different, one thing has largely remained the same over the years – dorm rooms. Walk into any college campus and you’ll probably encounter the same 230 sq. ft. with the same white cinderblock walls, cold linoleum floors, and bulky furniture that just makes you a little bit sad. Drab as most dorm rooms tend to be, we like to think of them as blank canvases for your own creative expression. Because you’re prohibited from making any permanent changes (lest you get on your RA’s bad side), decorating your dorm room is its own special kind of adventure. Think of flexibility, color, and comfort as major keys to success – it’s your home away from home after all, so your dorm room should be a place you relish to get back to after long days in class. Another major key? Affordability. To help you make the most of your dorm room without taking out another student loan, we’ve rounded up our favorite dorm room decor items under $100. For more, visit the Design Milk Shop!

Poketo’s Spectrum Wall Planner is equal parts decorative and functional – perfect for a college dorm room or home office. Each poster-sized sheet of this wall calendar is a different, rainbow bright shade, adding a vibrant pop of color to lifeless brick walls. The oversized scale gives you an up close and personal look at the month ahead, so you never miss an important due date! Hang up one month at a time or a complete semester for a colorful display that doubles as wall art.

$48
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society6 pillow shams

Not to be dramatic, but bedding can make or break your dorm decor. To combat the criminal lack of color, go for something with a vibrant, mood-boosting print like these pillow shams by Budapest-based artist Sandra Poliakov. The pillows’ abstract shapes and bright color palette immediately catch your eye, injecting levity, and playfulness into your decor. To complete the look and maximize the positive vibes, get the matching duvet cover here!

$50.25 (25% off!)
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gingko diffuser lamp

Most dorms won’t let students have candles in their rooms – but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a solid room fragrance. Enter this Diffuser Lamp by Gingko. Just the kind of multitasker that dorm room living requires, the Smart Diffuser Lamp is a portable light fixture and oil diffuser in one compact, modern package. Complete with 3 light settings, a rechargeable built-in battery, and natural wood finish, this stylish lamp projects a warm, ambient light while gently diffusing your favorite scents throughout the room. Just add a few drops of essential oil in the copper plate and enjoy!

$90
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areaware kirby vase with flowers

Having flowers around is an easy way to make a drab dorm room feel more like home (did you catch our crash course on biophilic design?) – we recommend opting for a dried flower bouquet that’ll stand the test of time without any upkeep. The Kirby Vase is the perfect home base for any arrangement, featuring a unique, organic shape that adds whimsy and curves to any corner of your dorm room, and even looks great on its own as a sculptural accent. Choose your player among Kirby’s playful range of shapes.

$55
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claudia pearson cairn canvas art print

Inspired by a meditative moment on a riverbank, the Cairn Ebb + Flow Canvas Art is an abstract reimagining of a delicate stack of river rocks. The piece features a heap of organic forms in delicate balance, along with curvilinear details that bring a bold yet approachable graphic look to dorm room walls. Hand screen printed in illustrator Claudia Pearson’s Brooklyn based studio, this modern canvas is ready to hang thanks to its included oak wood hanger.

$74
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tempaper sticky notes

These dry erase sticky note decals are an easy way to spruce up bland dorm room walls, and keep important notes and affirmations top of mind. Just stick them onto a smooth surface, and when it’s time to move out, they’ll peel right off without damaging the walls or leaving a residue behind. Scatter them around your dorm for small pops of color or arrange them in a tile-like formation for a colorful and functional wall statement. Plus, the dry erase design means you can reuse them and save paper in the process!

$14.99
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bloem planters with succulents

To add some texture to your dorm room decor, look to Mind the Cork’s Bloem Planter. Perfectly sized to accommodate small succulents (a low maintenance plant option fit for dorm living), this compact cork planter doubles as a storage vessel for small items. Something about the playful, craft aesthetic of the cork material feels particularly suited to campus life too, making it a fun and clever add to any dorm room! Style it on your desktop for small succulents or school supplies, or on your bedside table for everyday staples.

$62
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open spaces medium bins

Dorm rooms are notoriously tight on storage. Not to mention that the storage space you do have is often in plain view, exposing your clothes, snacks, and other dorm essentials, causing the space to feel more cluttered. Open Spaces Storage Bins are the perfect solution thanks to their opaque body that keeps all of your odds and ends tidy and out of sight (you can easily add a label to the bins’ half moon accents). They’re durably made, easy to clean, and stackable too – what’s not to love?

$72
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braun alarm clock

Sure, we all have smartphones – but there’s a reason why design lovers everywhere continue to love Braun clocks. Their timeless, modern look elevates any surface, and the reliable, user-friendly functionality makes them a trusted staple. We love the arched shape of the BC22 Alarm Clock and the high contrast clock hands. It’s the coolest analog clock there is, and only requires AA batteries, thus freeing your bedside of extra cables and clutter.

$50
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drool art print in big flowers in a big vase

This illustration print by London-based textile artist and graphic designer, Els Jennings brings an energizing, psychedelic look to tired dorm decor. “This piece represents my love of color and the beauty, shape and complete obsession I have for plants and flowers,” says Jennings. Between the print’s wavy, abstract floral design, overlapping shapes, and the fresh, complementary color palette – Big Flowers in a Big Vase brings feel good energy to your walls.

$60+
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Shopping any of our dorm ready decor? Show us how you style it and tag us @designmilk to be reposted on our Instagram! 

 

This post contains affiliate links, so if you make a purchase from an affiliate link, we earn a commission. Thanks for supporting Design Milk!

Alexa is commerce editor at Design Milk. She lives in Miami, Florida with her fiancé Alex and retired greyhound, Phoebe. A longtime art and design enthusiast, Alexa’s first stops in any new city are the art museums. When she’s not writing about her favorite DM shop picks, she might be buried in a book, binging reality tv or adventuring around her city with her partner and pup.

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