7 Items You Need For Decorating Your Dorm Without Breaking Any Housing Rules

Whether you’re stating your first year of college or you’re heading back to that dorm life after a summer back home, you’re probably already gathering some ideas about what you want your dorm aesthetic to be. Do you already have a Pinterest board of inspiration ideas? Are you already bookmarking every single “dorm decor” article you can find? Yup, been there, done that, and it’s pretty damn fun. Decorating your dorm is all fun and games… until you’re faced with a fine from the on-campus housing department because you didn’t think that a few tiny holes left behind by thumbtacks would be that big of a deal. Oops. Life comes at you fast, girl.

But don’t worry, there are a few ways to feel like you have actual creative control over your decorations without worrying about getting into trouble. As long as you use items that are easily removable and won’t cause any damage, you’re solid. Here are seven items you need to decorate your dorm room without getting a fine.


Low-Maintenance Plants

I don’t know of a single dorm that allows any other pets besides a fish, and, well, fish aren’t for everyone. If you want to feel like you’re taking care of a living thing without getting kicked out of housing, consider a plant. Yes, a plant. There are plenty of plants that are low maintenance. Succulents require very little water and just need a bright window to chill in. Meanwhile, if your room is lacking in the sunlight department, look into getting a snake plant instead. A snake plant is a leafy green plant that can have pretty long leaves, and it grows just fine in low-lit areas.

Buy a cute planter at Urban Outfitters

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Removable Hooks

Command. Hooks. Are. The Truth. Seriously, they are easy to install and easy to remove, and they can hold a surprising amount of weight. They’re great for hanging up jackets, purses, and anything else that needs hanging, but they’re also excellent for decorative purposes. They’re perfect for hanging fairy lights around your room without using tape (it always falls, trust me).

Buy it at Amazon for $6.63

Sticky Tack

You’ll survive without thumbtacks. Sticky tack is a great alternative that is easy to remove and won’t eff up your walls. Sure, it’s not as sturdy as a thumbtack, but it’ll get the job done. Hang your posters without worrying about a thing.

Buy it at Amazon for $5.37

Oil Diffuser

Your dorm might have a rule against candles…for good reason. But if you want to get a good wiff of some nice scents without burning the dorm down, consider looking into an oil diffuser. This one doubles as a humidifier and lights up in a few different colors (~aesthetic~). Lavender oil is super relaxing, while peppermint oil might help you feel energized. Try out some essential oils for yourself and see which one jives with you best.

Buy it at Amazon for $16.99

Over-The-Door Everything

You won't walk into a single dorm anywhere without seeing something hanging over the door. They're just a vital part of dorm life. They save so much space and they take, like, zero effort to install. You just hang it over your door and you’re set. I relied on an over the door mirror, but over the door hooks and shelves are also worth looking into.

Buy it at Urban Outfitters for $18

Wire Wall Grid

These little guys are both aesthetically pleasing and great for organizing this n’ that.They work best if they’re nailed into the wall, but you can just use a removable hook like the Command Hooks I mentioned earlier to get that sorted. Or, you can rest it on top of the desk or dresser that comes with your room.

Buy it at Urban Outfitters for $5.37

Temporary Wallpaper

Temporary wallpaper is a killer way to add a pop of color to your glum, bland walls. It can get a little pricy, but it might be worth the investment for something you’re going to have to look at every single day for the better part of the next year. Plus, it’ll be fun to see people freak out and think you actually put real wallpaper on your walls!

Buy them at Dormify from $12.95-$100+

Do you already know how you want to decorate your dorm? What’s your dorm inspo? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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