Yay, college! Learning, parties, leaving home... and ugly-ass smelly dorm rooms. If you're as stupid as I am, you're going to make a lot of very dumb mistakes during the four (or seven or ten, bahaha!) years you're away at school. But there's no need for one of those mistakes to be accepting the standard ugliness of your standard ugly dorm room. Adding a little style and personality to your dorm can be cheap and easy... And (of course, seeing as this is what I do) I'm going to tell you about ten million ways to do it with vinyl decals.
I wish I had known about wall decals like this when I was in school. I imagine my walls would have been covered in kittens, which would have done triple-duty: amuse the hell out of me, annoy the shit out of my goth roommate, and scare off any male suitors. College would have been a breeze. And when it wasn't, I would have had kittens to comfort me.
In other words, these 10 ways to decorate your dorm with vinyl decals might save your life. Or at least help you graduate. You're welcome!
1. Announce Yourself with Door Decals
Before anybody even steps foot into your room, they judge you based on your door. It might be graffitied with a doodle of a happy-faced penis. Or maybe the last person who lived there penned some ironic 90's song lyrics across it. But decorating a dorm room door with wall decals can be a great way to announce to the world who you (and your roomie) are! In a much more stylish way than you can probably accomplish with a piece of notebook paper and a Sharpie.
One great way to do this is to use a personalized door decal with your name (and your roomie's) in a fun design. A great way to let people know that this isn't just ANY dorm room... it's YOUR dorm room. And it is therefore awesome, just like you. And probably cleaner than most. Bonus.
A door decal can also be a great way to tell people to go away. Which, let's face it, is probably the one thing that is most likely to help you graduate. Again, you're totally welcome.
2. Washi Tape Shelf Edging
Okay, so I'm decal obsessed, but not so obsessed that I don't recognize a cool idea when I see one. Got built in bookshelves, or brought your own to your dorm? Decorate the edges with strips of washi tape. It's cheap, it's fun, there are approximately seven gazilion colors and patterns to choose from, and you can swap it out whenever you get bored. It's an easy way to infuse a little personality into your space. Just a tip: don't buy the cheap stuff from the dollar store. It'll unstick itself from your shelving in about a week. Which will be annoying, you cheapskate. Consider yourself warned!
3. Look Up
Decorating your dorm ceiling can be a great way to make it special-- and while pattern ceiling decals can be an awesome way to do that, it's also great to add things like hanging lanterns (lighted or unlighted-- paper lanterns look adorable hanging in front to the windows), cafe-style lights (or twinkle lights if you think you're a Christmas fairy), or paper fans and pom-poms. You're going to spend a lot of time hanging out on your bed, looking up at the ceiling (however you'd to interpret that statement is fine!), so why not make it visually interesting?
4. Poster Frame Wall Decals
I love this idea if you're somebody who's always swapping out your art. Or always getting gorgeous postcards from friends who are way cooler than you and traveling the world while you hang in a dorm that's just 40 miles from your parents' house. Sticking trompe l'oeil frames on the wall will make any photograph or letter or ironic poster of PeeWee Herman look like premeditated awesome wall art.
In the interest of cheapness, I'd like to point out that this can also be done REALLY inexpensively with washi tape. Which is almost as much fun, because while the shapes you can make are a little more basic, they're cool and geometric, and you can have fun with all kinds of washi tape patterns. Like kitty washi tape, for example. Have you gathered yet that I like cats?
5. Pattern Wall Decals
This is the obvious one, and I've saved it for number 5 because I like to be random. Pattern wall decals will SAVE YOUR DORM ROOM FROM DECORATIVE DEATH. Seriously. Polka dots or triangles or little bicycles or nerdy glasses or... whatever. Cover an entire wall in these puppies and your room has gone from blah-blankness to graphic and cool in about 20 minutes. Just don't go too nuts (like, don't do all four walls, please) unless you want visitors to your room to think you're living inside of a 1950's housewife's polka dot day-dress.
One trick to making this kind of dorm decoration more budget-friendly? If you get decent quality pattern decals (like ours, of course!) in simple shapes (think dots, triangles, etc.) you can remove and reuse them again next year if you're in a new room. Just stuff the backing paper they come on into the back of your closet, and pop them back onto it when you remove them from the wall at the end of the school year. They'll be ready to go again next year.
6. Wall Tapestries
Wall tapestries are the perfect reusable wall decor for a dorm room: you put them up, they add a huge decorative impact to your space, and you take them down and use them again. And no, wall tapestries are not just for pot-smoking guys who time-travelled to the present from 1972. They're for pot-smoking everybody (kidding)!
Look at the little haven you can make for yourself with fairy lights and a tapestry. If you don't want your dorm to look like this, you probably ARE high. Because... come on, it's a cozy haven.
These are also fun (and cheap!!) to do yourself with a canvas drop cloth and a stencil or a sponge cut into a geometric shape. You know how to use Pinterest. The ideas are all there for the picking. How did people have pretty things before the internet?
7. Be Inspired Every Day
You are attending university for a reason, right? (And no, sex and parties do not officially qualify as a reason.) College can be a pretty crazy time in your life, and sometimes it can be good to have a little extra help to keep your eye on the ball. I love the idea of inspirational posters and decals with awesome typography-- they'll look amazing and stylish, and they'll act as a daily reminder of what you're working towards, and who you're working to be.
Okay, enough lecturing. Our inspiring quote decals are also WAY PRETTY. So there's that, too.
8. Make Your Own Whiteboard
A whiteboard can be a great way to leave messages, remember important stuff, or keep visitors to your room entertained for hours doodling more of those nice happy-face penises and ironic 90s song lyrics. A plain dry erase board is fine, but if you want it to be part of your dorm decor, a wall decal dry erase board can be stylish, with an ornate doodle frame and lots of space to write out the important stuff. Like "all work and no play makes Karen a dull girl" over and over again. Not that I know anything about that.
9. Decorate Your Dresser
A lot of dorms come with built ins, like wardrobes and dressers, or really ugly storage pieces that come with the room. Vinyl decals are a super simple way to spiff up a dresser or a closet door... or any other fixture in your room to which you'd like to give the gift of prettiness. Or at least the gift of slightly-disguising-the-ugliness. Ugly old yellow-wood wardrobe? Sad. Ugly old yellow-wood wardrobe covered in triangle decals? Vintage, stylish, and a little ironic. It's that easy.
10. Your Daily Reminder
As a person who makes a habit of leaving my straightener on EVERY DAMNED DAY, I think this idea is genius. Are you a person who's great at remembering things and never scrambles to get out on time? Then you don't need this, and you can just move right along, you time-management snob. But for the rest of us lowly humans, a quick reminder not to burn down your building isn't such a terrible thing-- and it can be cute and stylish, too.
Or you could just be extremely rude and hilarious-- and tell everyone "Bye Felicia!" as they leave your room.