Dorm Ideas: Pinterest Inspired, Viewpoints Approved

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Pinterest is known for having thousands of great DIY project ideas, many of which you can apply to your dorm room or college apartment.

You don’t need a huge budget to outfit your dorm room with personalized furniture. DIY-decorating dorm ideas can be found everywhere, but I’ve found the best dorm design ideas on Pinterest. By following some simple instructions using inexpensive craft supplies, you can organize and decorate your dorm room so it feels like home. See what three affordable furniture pieces you can transform with Pinterest-inspired dorm ideas.

When dorm room shopping, think ahead

Person cutting through roll of wallpaper

Wallpaper is a frequent favorite for DIY-savvy furniture-refurbishing enthusiasts.

When it comes to decorating a dorm room or college apartment, too much furniture is a bad idea. Student housing is usually small, but there are three essential items you’ll want to have in your dorm or college apartment. Don’t throw money away by splurging on patterned, painted or highly stylized items. By buying minimally designed organization items and storage, you get the chance to decorate them yourself, giving you a dorm room that is truly unique.

Dorm ideas for books

diy bookshelves

A bookshelf in a basic color can pop when a bright or patterned fabric is attached to the backsplash with spray adhesive or mod podge.  [Photo credit: IKEA, Pinterest]

IKEA Billy Bookcase

79/100 based on 22 reviews, approx. $60

“The IKEA Billy bookcase is a single power book case that is adequate for a small book collection. It is ideal for a college student who needs to clean and organize his or her room.” - melshufen, Reviewer since 2011

“These book cases are not only affordable but they are also very sturdy.  It is amazing what great quality they are when you look at the ikea selling price. Another thing I love about these shelves are how easy they were to put together. ” - WaltonHall, Reviewer since 2009

For accessories and office supplies

plastic drawers diy for college dorms

With construction or scrapbooking paper, you can turn inexpensive plastic drawers into something special. [photo credit:, Pinterest]

While it isn’t the sturdiest set of drawers (storing heavy items like text books in these plastic drawers can lead to cracking or sagging), the Walmart Organizer Storage Chest (56/100 based on 11 reviews, approx. $15) is a great way to keep beauty products, accessories, and office supplies in order and out of sight.

“This drawer cart is an easy way to solve a difficult and all too familiar problem with young children and their things. Quite possibly this may be the smartest purchase that I made for my family’s needs and has solved a major storage problem for a very little expense. There are many uses for it in and around the home.” - HeatherJebokji, Reviewer since 2010

“The Wal-Mart Organizer Storage Chest, Black appeared to be a great solution to my storage needs but unfortunately it wasn’t durable.” - LaurieM, Reviewer since 2007

“It has held up for over a year now.  My only complaint is that I wish the top were a bit stronger.  If you place any kind of weight on top, then the drawers are difficult to open because it bows down just enough to catch the drawer making it difficult to open.” - ginadance, Reviewer since 2007

For everything else

diy bookshelves storage units

Use wallpaper and spray adhesive to add your personal style to the back of shelves or storage units like this one by Closetmaid. [photo credit: ClosetMaid, Pinterest]

ClosetMaid 9 Cube Organizer (93/100 based on 9 reviews, approx. $40) offers a great way to store clothes, books or knickknacks without the height and bulk of a bookshelf. This organizing unit has optional fabric bins for storage and is easy to assemble.

“Yay for the ClosetMaid 9 Cube organizer! Who ever came up with this organizer should be given a award! I love that it has 9 cubes to store items on! I love the sturdyness of the wood!  love the spaciousness and how compact it is at the same time.” - melissaw20, Reviewer since 2010

“Assembly was quick and painless and they look great! For the price, the ClosetMaid 9 Cube Organizers are an incredible value.” - sbloom01, Reviewer since 2010

DIY is always an option

Making the most of your space is important in college, but so is enjoying the space that you’re living in. You don’t have to sacrifice style for substance with these three furniture options that offer maximum DIY opportunities at minimum price. When you’re back-to-school shopping, keep an eye out for functionality and remember that you can always revamp furniture with a little paper and glue.

Amber Rambharose Amber Rambharose (50 Posts)

Amber Rambharose is a former writing intern at Viewpoints. She graduated from Hollins University with a B.A. in English Literature and is continuing her studies at the University of Cincinnati.