21 Wall Decorations Perfect for Your Dorm Room or Small Space
Spruce up your new home—or update your childhood bedroom so that it reflects this new chapter in your life—with these fun ideas.
The walls of your dorm room (or childhood bedroom, if COVID-19 has altered your plans) are teeming with design potential; it just takes the right décor to make it happen. "The walls in any dorm room are blank canvases to capture a dorm resident's personality and passion," says dorm-savvy designer Nicole Guppy Brown of Otium Interiors. "However, you need to be thoughtful about wall décor to ensure they are safe, easily removed, and purposeful!"
Fortunately, the market is filled with removable wall décor that won't leave any damage behind. "Peel-and-stick canvas picture tiles can add color, composition, and charm to any blank wall," Brown explains. "I also recommend using wall decals that are hassle-free to apply and remove, because they can pack a design punch on any flat surface."
Along with adding removable art and decals, your dorm room walls are also a great place to create more storage opportunities. "You can use your walls to hang lightweight floating shelves for displaying knick-knacks, metal decorative bars, or wood branches to show off jewelry, magazine racks, wall baskets, and more," says designer Melissa Karl of Room Remedies by Melissa. "Hooks are going to be your lifesaver and allow you to hang just about anything!"
So, with all of the attractive items and ideas out there, how does one know what to look for when shopping for, or DIYing their own, dorm room wall décor? "When picking out wall décor for a dorm, think about the ease with which it can be installed and removed so that you don't spend time and money restoring walls to their original condition when you leave," Brown says. "Also, aim to use something that is functional for a dorm room. It's a 'double win' if you can use wall décor to add interest and style to your walls but at the same time, it serves a purpose such as storage or personal organization."
From removable wall-mounted planners to washi tape headboards, explore dorm room wall décor ideas that work wonders for a tiny space.
Ambient lighting is essential in any size room. These sparkling LED string lights come on a string of bendable, silver-plated copper wire for easy hanging and will cast a warm glow throughout your dorm room.
Shop Now: 12APM "Starry String Fairy" Waterproof Copper Wire Lights, $13.99, amazon.com.
Whether you use it as a mood board or a place to organize your school schedule, a pretty pinboard can be a stylish way to streamline a small dorm room desk area. Hang one on the wall above your workstation and pin-up everything from photos to post-it notes to stay organized all semester long.
Shop Now: The White Company Pin Board, $239, thewhitecompany.com.
A good-looking letterboard makes a clever addition to a dorm room wall. Not only can you spell out your favorite quotes and phrases and display them like artwork, but you can also leave a message for yourself, or your roommate, that you won't be able to miss.
Shop Now: Room Essentials Letterboard, 12" by 12", $15, target.com.
Wire Script Sculpture
Love the look of neon signs but not allowed to hang one in your dorm room? A thin metal wire script sculpture makes a similar wordy statement in a small space, sans the safety risk.
Shop Now: Anthropologie Wire Script Sculpture, $48, anthropologie.com.
Fun Photo Garland
If you can't install a full-blown gallery wall in your dorm room, then photo garlands are the next best thing. This pom-pom clad garland is designed with small steel clips that hold photos in place—no hammer, nails, or frames necessary!
Shop Now: Pottery Barn Teen Pom Pom Photo Garland, $49, pbteen.com.
In the market for some beautiful dorm room artwork that doesn't cost a fortune? These French-inspired botanical prints arrive pre-framed and ready to hang.
Shop Now: Martha Stewart "French Herbarium" Two-Piece Framed Graphic Art Set, $66.99 for set of two, wayfair.com.
Dry Erase Board
No dorm room would be complete without a dry erase board. Whether you use yours to plan your school schedule or a weekly chore chart with your roommate, this magnetized marker board wipes clean, so you can stay on top of things.
Shop Now: U-Brands White Square Weekly Dry Erase Board, $9.99, containerstore.com.
Decals All the Way
When you can't hang artwork, why not show off an inspirational decal instead? This peel-and-stick style decal is composed of a self-adhesive poly-woven fabric that allows you to remove it without leaving any damage behind. Best of all, you can reuse it year after year.
Shop Now: Darcy Miller "Think Outside the Box" Decal, $8, chasingpaper.com.
Mirrored Wall Tiles
Stuck in a dorm room without much natural light? Apply these sleek mirrored tiles to your wall—in any arrangement you choose—to help bounce what light you do have around the room. The result is a room that instantly feels bigger and brighter.
Shop Now: Beauty4U Full-Length Tall Mirror Tiles, $38.99, amazon.com.
No-Sew Blackout Curtains
Why spend money on humdrum blackout curtains for your dorm room when you can make your own? These adorable tassel-lined curtains will help block out natural sunlight and outside noise, and they don't require any sewing skills to make.
The only thing better than a fragrant décor item is one that you can make yourself. With not much more than beeswax, some dried flowers, and a few drops of your favorite essential oils, you can DIY your own aromatic floral sachets to hang around your dorm room.
If you aren't using empty wall space to carve out extra storage in your dorm room, you're doing it wrong. This wall-mounted metal grid comes with an attachable and moveable shelf, basket, hook rack, and clips that allow you to transform any area of your dorm room wall into the storage-savvy space it deserves to be.
Shop Now: Honey-Can-Do 8-Piece Wire Wall Grid in Chrome, $39.99, bedbathandbeyond.com.
An attractive wall mirror can do more than create visual interest in your dorm room—it can make the space seem larger. You can make your own nautical mirror with jute, hemp, or manila rope. Hang a few on your wall to create the illusion of more square footage.
Removable Wall Planner
Why waste valuable dorm room desk space on a bulky planner when you can hang a sleek, peel-and-stick one instead? This removable weekly planner is composed of self-adhesive whiteboard material so you can schedule your school week in style.
Shop Now: Chasing Paper School Schedule, $22, chasingpaper.com.
Pressed Flower Art
Interested in creating some interesting artwork for your dorm room walls? Step outside and collect flowers and foliage and press them inside a heavy book lined with parchment paper and voila: In just a few days you've got a one-of-a-kind floral display you can frame and hang on your walls.
Washi Tape Art
Easy to make and totally removable, washi tape art is just the thing to add to your dorm room wall. Create colorful designs or themes on your wall with the freedom of updating it whenever the mood strikes.
Photo Clip String Lights
Add ambient lighting and display your favorite photos with this beautiful dorm room wall décor.
Shop Now: LCHUANG Photo Clip String Lights, $16.99, amazon.com.
Terry Cloth Caddy
If you're sitting on an extra hand towel, consider upcycling it into a wall organizer for your dorm room. With nothing more than a dowel, straight pins, ribbon, and a sewing machine, you can fashion your own hanging caddy for stashing toiletries, desk supplies, and more.
Textile Art Boards
Whether you want to repurpose your favorite worn out shirt or blanket, this easy-to-create craft is a must-have for your dorm room. Here, wooden artist's panels (typically used to mount paintings) are wrapped in fabric.
Washi Tape Headboard
Think of a blank wall as another opportunity. This faux headboard—made entirely of washi tape—is a DIYer's dream come true.
Mount and paint a simple peg board for easy vertical storage. It'll look great painted in your favorite colors, hanging in your dorm room.