Going away to college and living on your own for the first time can be intimidating: not only are you in a new place, you're most likely sharing your address with new people, too. The cramped quarters of a typical dorm room, with its shabby carpeting and bare walls, don't feel very welcoming, either. But there's still a lot to be excited about! A blank space means that you can create your own comforts, like displaying pictures of your friends and family and putting up some art. Tap into a DIY mindset and use these 15 projects to turn your dorm into a destination. From a decorative memo board and a colorful bookshelf to a comfy seat and a chic window shade, your new digs may just become your favorite place on campus.
Keep Clutter Off Your Desk With a Magazine Holder
Since your dorm room is probably on the small side, the last thing you want is a bunch of clutter all over your desk. Keep stray papers and notebooks in one place with a chic magazine holder made from a cereal box and contact paper. If you'd rather not see the papers inside the holder, just turn it around and you're all set.
Get Inspired With a Fabric Memo Board
It can be easy to get distracted when you're away from home, but this adorable memo board will help you stay focused. Hang up your favorite quotes, prints and even your to-do list, so that they're always in sight. Choose a fabric you love and add a stylish nail head trim and the board will double as wall art. When space is limited, double-duty items are your BFF.
Display Your Pictures in Style
Having pictures of your friends and family back home will make you feel like you're not so far away. Instead of sticking them inside a drawer, though, put them on display! This simple wood and yarn organizer is a great solution, since you don't have to put holes in them or fuss with different-sized frames.
Dress Up a Plain Bookshelf
Bring a plain, boring bookshelf back to life with a little paint and scrapbook paper. Paint the bookshelf first, and allow it to fully dry before adding the paper and sealing it with decoupage glue. If the bookcase is the school's property, skip the paint and add the scrapbook paper to pre-measured pieces of cardboard that you can easily remove when the year's over.
Get Some Art on Your Walls
Take advantage of your dorm's white walls and hang up some art. Thin wooden letters are a great way to lay claim to your side of the room, and by hanging them with damage-free tape, they can be removed with ease when the time comes.
Give Your Friends a Place to Sit
Make this simple floor pouf and your new friends will have another place to sit besides your bed. Use a plain drop cloth and paint on your own design to keep this project budget-friendly. Once your buds get a glimpse at how good it looks, they'll be begging you to make them one, too.
Add Some Flair With a Painted Kilim Pillow
Grab a plain pillow and add a dose of your personal style to it with a little fabric paint. The kilim-inspired design is both on-trend and easy to recreate with basic shapes and straight lines. Use a single color for your design to make sure it matches the rest of your stuff and it'll be a piece that sticks with you long after you finish school.
Add Roman Shades to Your Bare Windows
You can keep the early morning sun out of your eyes while you try to sleep off last night's Netflix binge, and add a bit of sophistication to your dorm room at the same time. These no-sew roman shades are ideal for your tight student budget since they're made using an inexpensive mini blind as the base.
Transform a Basic Lamp With a Simple Fabric Shade
Scour your local thrift store for a lamp that could use a little extra loving (or give the one you brought from home a makeover). Doing something as simple as changing the fabric on the shade can completely transform the overall look of the lamp. When choosing your fabric, consider the result you're looking for: a light fabric will make the shade glow and a darker fabric gives off dim, subtle lighting.
Keep Tiny Trinkets Safe With a Cute Clay Dish
Make a cute catchall for everyday items like your keys or jewelry. Air-dry clay makes this something you can do right in your dorm room in a single afternoon. Since this is a pretty straightforward project that anyone can complete, invite some of your new friends over for a little craft party.
Store Necessities on a Modern Nightstand
If your room is craving a little more organization, build a modern nightstand to keep all of your essentials at arm's reach. The basic shape is easy to put together, and it's the perfect size to hold your cell phone, a book and a glass of water.
Make Getting Ready a Breeze With Organized Makeup Brushes
This basic wood block holder will save you from digging through your bag and searching for that contour or eyeshadow brush. Add a coat of paint to the holder and use tape to section off your stripes, or use different colored washi tapes to match your unique style.
Beautify Your Bed With Indigo-Dyed Fabrics
Give your standard white throw a major upgrade and make it stand out with indigo tie-dye. Use pre-made liquid dye to keep this project doable between classes, and let the fabric dry in the sun for a slightly faded effect.
Store Your Jewelry on a Cool Copper Stand
Throwing on your favorite statement necklace is an easy way to distract from those under-eye bags (thank you, late-night study session). Put your bling on display, just like you would if you were back home, with a chic stand made from basic copper pipes. Leave the copper pipes as they are or add a bright color with spray paint. Either way, this one's as gorgeous as your sparkliest jewels.
Make a Drawstring Bag for Easy Laundry Days
Doing laundry stinks no matter where you have to do it. However, this drawstring bag makes it easy to keep your dirty laundry in one place. Just toss it over your shoulder and off you go!