Face it: dorm rooms are small.

Vintage Women's Dorm Room
Credit: Getty/FPG/Staff

There are many decorating mistakes students can make that make their already modest spaces look even smaller—but there are ways to combat this. Assemble a beautiful and homey retreat with these easy dorm design tips!

1. Maximize Your Space
It's important to define each area of the room, designating certain parts for sleeping, living, working, and eating. In a sense, you can make your room into a miniature apartment. You can even erect fashionable dividers or screens to divide some parts of the room and create a sense of privacy. Be sure to arrange dorm furniture in a thoughtful way that makes sense for the space and choose multi-functional pieces when possible. You should also use light to your advantage. Bright, well-lit spaces tend to look larger, so leave the drapes open when possible to welcome the natural light inside and select quality dorm lights that will fully illuminate the room. To make the most out of your small space, seek out the best storage solutions for possible—whether it's boxes tucked under the bed or space-saving hangers hung in your closet. It's important to keep the room clean, open, and clutter-free!

2. Rethink Dorm Wall Decor
Using art prints, tapestries, canvas art, and small wall sculptures can add a "grown up" feel to any dorm gallery wall. Though posters are often the most affordable option, they don't always create that perfect homey atmosphere. But don't fret! You can class up even the cheapest posters by placing them in a frame.

3. Obscure Cinderblock Walls
Of course, even nice art won't be able to fully cover up those harsh cinder block walls that plague so many dorm rooms. Luckily, there are numerous ways to conceal them from view and create your home away from home! Since ancient times, fabrics have been used to obscure unsightly walls and conjure a welcoming feel. Curtains can serve the same purpose, spicing up even the dullest windows while giving you privacy. They can also be a creative way to conceal exposed closets. Temporary wall paper can be a style-defining way to obscure unappealing walls. Just make sure you've fully read your university's "do's and don'ts" when it comes to dorm decorating—rules vary at every institution. Even just adding a headboard to your bed can create a focal point in the room, distracting from harsh cinderblocks.

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4. Collaborate With Your Roommate
One of the most difficult parts of creating a cute dorm room is avoiding the "style divide." Few things are more unappealing than walking into a room that has clearly been piecemeal designed by two people. To create a unified look, it's important to work with your roommate and decide on a style that works for both of you. This is also a fantastic way to bond, whether you decide to collaborate on a shopping list or DIY dorm decor together!