Tips For Adding Color To A Lifeless Dorm Room


So what if nothing rhymes with orange? That’s no reason to leave it out of your dorm room color scheme! In my experience, the top two things that can make or break your college dorm room, or any room for that matter, are color and cleanliness. First: color. YOUR ROOM MUST HAVE SOME. Also, the colors should kinda maybe sorta go together, even if you’re a boy. But avoid getting too matchy-matchy – I’m sure your friends won’t enjoy vomiting every time they visit your room. That is unless they are early 20s celebrities, but they are doing that anyway so having a vomitous room is unnecessary all the same.

Even if you prefer neutral room décor, a splash of color will make your room look happier, more polished, and friendlier to visitors. You do not necessarily have to go color crazy like I have done (see photo below), although I do love my colorful room with the emphasis on the red, orange, and yellow. A little bit can go a long way.

Choosing colors for a room is daunting. I mean, look at all the possibilities!! I find bedding to be the easiest place to start, since your bed is generally the most prominent part of your dorm room. If you have colorful bedding, try to buy posters and other decorations that don’t horribly clash. If you have neutral bedding, you can do whatever you want. Generally, complementary colors (colors opposite each other on the color wheel) look good together, e.g. red and green, orange and blue. Another rule of thumb is that colors with the same levels of saturation generally look good together.

Here are some tips for easily adding color to your room…

Buy a plant!
One quick way to add a bit of color and life – literally – to your room is to buy a small potted plant. When I was studying in Amsterdam for a semester, I didn’t have any of my room decorations from school and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on new ones, so I bought a yellow Oncidium orchid to help add some color and character to my mostly white room. It’s amazing how much having that one plant cheered me up and made my room look almost classy. You can generally find a cheap plant, and even plants such as orchids that might cost around 20 dollars are well worth it. They brighten up a room and add character, and make your room seem less like a dorm and more like a home.

Show off your photographs (and your hot friends)
Another way to add color to your room is with personal photographs or cool postcards. Photos have the added bonus of making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you think about the people and places in them, and the good times you’ve had. I personally like a combination of photos taped to the wall and framed photos. Here’s an idea for using black and white prints courtesy of a DormDelicious reader. Or if you’d rather showcase pictures of other people, you could use postcards. A classy and somewhat unconventional way to display your photos is by putting black-and-white prints in fun colored frames. You could also make like this inventive DormDelicious reader and put up a sweet wall mural.

Light it up… your room that is
Finally, in order to maximize the beauty of the colors in your room, you need to have good lighting. Lighting in college dorms is generally terrible at best. I recommend investing in a lamp with multiple brightness settings, so you can both improve the quality of light in your room and adjust it according to your needs. Bright during studying, a cozy glow in the evening hours… you get the picture. Lamps can even be colorful themselves! Go crazy with your lampshades. I guarantee you will get compliments. Unless you have terrible taste. Then you’re out of luck. Go for silver or black.


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