Which dorm wall decor is best?

Now that you’ve got the essentials covered, it’s time to dive into the fun part of living on campus: decorating your dorm. Wall decor is a good place to start because it’s one of the first things you’ll see when you enter the room.

Dorm walls are usually barren and humdrum, but the right accessories can add pops of color and personality. Motivational artwork, for example, may add positivity and inspiration to the space. Marquees and fairy lights can boost a dorm’s brightness, while a wall tapestry can make the room appear more spacious.

What you should know about dorm room wall decor

Picking a theme

Many college students pick out decor themes for their dorms and coordinate bedding and accessories accordingly. This makes it easier to select wall decor when it comes to aesthetic and color palette. If you’ve chosen pastel-colored bedding and accents, for example, sky- or beach-themed wall hangings may work well as complementary decor.

neon signs

However, if your dorm room doesn’t have a design theme — don’t fret. This means your dorm wall is essentially a blank slate, and you can experiment with any wall decor that appeals to you. From band posters to neon signs to woven wall hangings, the sky’s the limit. You can even cover the entire wall in a collage featuring photos, flyers and other mementos.

Where to hang dorm wall decor

picture frames

Because you’ll have four walls or more to work with, you might be wondering which spot is the best for dorm wall decor. Many people hang larger pieces, like tapestries, behind or next to their bed to make the dorm appear more spacious. Others hang wall decor on the first wall they see when they walk in, which turns these pieces into focal points of the dorm. Some people arrange smaller items, like picture frames, into artistic patterns or designs across more than one wall. 

What you need to hang dorm wall decor

There’s a bit of planning and measuring when it comes to hanging dorm wall decor. 

  • Invest in a tape measure to determine how much space you have to decorate. Later on, you’ll need it to make sure photos, posters and other hangings are evenly spaced.  
  • Instead of drilling holes or hammering nails, use Command Hooks and Strips to hang items without damaging walls. The hooks and strips come in a variety of sizes to accommodate all your hanging needs. 
  • Poster putty is another drill-free option that is affordable and reusable. It’s used to create photo collages on walls, doors or mirrors. 

Dorm wall decor ideas

Photo clip string lights

photo clip string lights

Instead of creating a regular photo collage, use photo clip string lights to illuminate your favorite shots. This 17-inch string includes 50 LED lights with a warm white glow. The clear clips are discreet and give the photos a floating appearance. 

Motivational wall art

framed canvas design

Motivational wall art, like this framed canvas design, may boost your dorm’s vibe — and your mood. The design features over a dozen positivity quotes, like “Focus” and “Enjoy the Little Things,” arranged in a collage-inspired format. It’s a popular choice to hang around your desk or study area. 

Stick-on chalkboard

self-stick chalkboard decal

Instead of sharing Post-It notes on the dorm fridge, invest in a self-stick chalkboard decal. It measures 17.7 x 78.7 inches and can be mounted vertically or horizontally. Use it for brainstorming, doodling or monitoring college sports brackets.

Star marquee

10-inch star marquee

Brighten up the walls with illuminated signs, such as this 10-inch star marquee. It’s made with long-lasting LED lights that offer up to 100 hours of continuous use with two AA batteries. Hang the star on its own, or invest in a few stars to create a night sky-inspired design.

Retro gaming art

retro video game poster

If you’d like to invest in nostalgic wall decor, pick up this retro video game poster. It features the evolution of the video game controller with 24 full-color graphics. Called a true conversation piece, it’s ideal to hang right above your dorm gaming setup. 

Wall tapestry

abstract sunset mountain tapestry

Wall tapestries have sprawling designs that can make a small dorm look bigger. This abstract sunset mountain tapestry features rich colors like deep turquoise and rose quartz. The design coordinates well with most neutral bedding and dorm decor. The tapestry can also be used as a beach shawl or picnic blanket. 

Fairy lights

twinkling fairy lights

Dorm curtains and shades are rather plain — until you adorn them with strings of twinkling fairy lights. The set, which includes 8-foot strands of LED lights, has a remote control that offers eight light show settings. The fairy lights are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use because they have an IP64 waterproof rating. 

Woven wall hanging

woven wall hanging

If you’re looking to add a bit of texture to the dorm wall, pick up a woven wall hanging. The handmade design features cool, soothing blue tones that echo tranquil ocean vibes. At 30 x 60 inches, it’s large enough to function as a focal point in the room. 

Moon phase hanging

moon phase wall hanging

For those fascinated by what’s in the sky, this moon phase wall hanging is a fun addition to any dorm wall. The hammered gold-tone metal design captures the light and hangs at 34 inches. Since it’s thin and takes up little space, it’s easy to find a place for it on the wall. 

Inspirational posters

six-piece motivational wall art set

Those seeking inspiration all around the dorm may like this six-piece motivational wall art set. It comes with vibrant posters that feature words of wisdom and encouragement. Many people place them in matching frames. 

World map

giant world map

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or have a bucket list, this giant world map appeals to your geographical curiosity. At 60 x 80 inches, it easily takes up an entire dorm wall. The map is available in several designs and colors, including an old atlas-inspired map in brown and yellow. As an added bonus, the map is machine washable.

Vinyl records

vinyl album covers and records

If you’re a big music lover, showing off your favorite musicians by displaying vinyl album covers and records on your wall not only makes for artsy decoration, it’s also an easy conversation starter. Nowadays, you can find most artists on vinyl, even modern pop stars like Taylor Swift. If you like the aesthetic of vinyl records on your wall but would rather spend a little less, consider looking into purchasing fake vinyl record decor.


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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