The Comprehensive Dorm Room Staging and Redesign Guide for Parents

Are you a parent of a college student? If so, this article is for you! White walls, cold floors, hard beds and fluorescent overhead lighting make dorm rooms less than inviting. But you can ease your child’s transition from home to campus with stylish dorm room staging and redesign that creates a comfortable place for living and studying. Read on for our tips to do just that.


Bedding sets the tone in a small dorm room. Look for pillows and quilts with bold colors, patterns or even texture. Mix and match fabrics to create a layered designer look. And, to add even more interest to the space, make a custom headboard, using simple materials such as cardboard, scissors and fabric.

Now that we’ve covered bedding style, let’s get practical. Dorm room beds are notoriously hard. Add a layer of comfort by purchasing an egg crate and a mattress pad to hold it in place. Finally, protect your child from mold, mildew and even bedbugs by purchasing a zippered allergen mattress protector.

Pro Tip: Check with your child’s institution first to determine whether their school-supplied bed is standard or extra-long. Then, purchase sheets and quilts accordingly.



Warm the room, and add visual interest, by covering a cold, ugly dorm room floor with a colorful, or patterned, area rug. Look for colors and/or patterns that tie in with the bedding you’ve chosen. Finally, add more visual interest and functionality to the room with pouf floor cushions. Not only do they provide additional seating, but they also bring an added pop of color.

[box type=”shadow”]Do you need help transforming your child’s drab dorm room into a cozy destination for work and play? Contact the Impact Interiors team for details.[/box]


Fabric yardage acts as a quick, inexpensive solution to window coverings. Look for colors and patterns that relate to your bedding and floor covering choices. Then, all you need are a tension rod and curtain rings. Clip the fabric to the rings, and voila! You have on-trend curtains that can easily be changed with the seasons or as your child’s preferences shift. Don’t like those frayed edges? Use fusible webbing tape to fake a finished look. No sewing required! All you need is an iron.



You might not be able to paint a dorm room, but you can bring color and even pattern to the walls with peel and stick wallpaper. (See above photo) Place it on a focal wall where you’d like to draw the eye. This could be behind the bed or the wall you face when entering the room.

Adhesive wallpaper isn’t the only option. You can also affix patterned fabric to walls using cornstarch. Or, take artful photographs and have them printed into a wall mural made just for the space.


Decorative Accessories

Functionality is a primary concern when bringing accessories into a small space. We suggest adding whimsical accessories displays made from creative materials such as a wall-mounted tree branch, framed cork board or a colorful framed pegboard.

Does your child’s dorm room include a mirror? If not, find a decorative, framed mirror to place above the dresser. Place accessories displays nearby to create a dressing station. A tray can be placed on the dresser top to corral fragrances or makeup.

In addition, source colorful. decorative pots, or design your own, to bring greenery and life to the space. The best plants for a busy college student are succulents, as they thrive with little watering or attention.

Pro Tip: Check with your college to find out if personal items, such as mirrors or organizational displays, can be brought in.



Eliminate the need for harsh overhead lighting and provide a softer glow by placing small desk lamps or task lighting within the space. You can also add ambient lighting with LED paper lanterns that come in various colors, shapes and prints. For additional fun factor, a string of bulb twinkle lights will contribute to a warm glow in the room.

Pro Tip: Find out if you can drill or nail into the walls and/or ceiling. If not, use adhesive hooks to hang lanterns and twinkle lights.


Place dorm room beds onto risers, that allows for storage bins to be placed underneath. Remember to purchase an extra-long bed skirt, of between 24 and 30 inches in length, to hide the risers and storage containers.

Many dorm room closets have swinging doors, although some omit them altogether. If your child’s dorm room has closet doors, hang a shoe rack on the back. Other storage bags include those for purses and jewelry. In addition, purchase a closet rod extender with adjustable height and width to maximize the storage capacity of the closet.

[box type=”shadow”]Do you want to turn your student’s drab dorm room an inviting space to work and play? Contact us for details.[/box]

Example photos by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications

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