It's been a wild three years since I was sitting at home, desperately trying to figure out how to decorate my first college dorm room. Agreements as to who would bring what had already been made with my soon-to-be roommate, I'd picked a relative color scheme, and I had basic dimensions of the tiny box I would call home for the first nine months of my college career. But even a little tiny box has white walls to fill, a desk to decorate, and Disney to incorporate.
With another year of college just around the corner and an entire new class of Freshman getting ready to move into their first dorm, I couldn't help but recall the days of frustration, searching across the internet for that perfect idea on how to make my room mine...and that most certainly includes Disney. There seem to be thousands of dorm room ideas out there, but only a select few include elements from the Disney franchises, and for those of us that can't imagine a room without a bit of magic, it's sometimes difficult to determine what to do.
So here are a few ideas for how to bring Disney into your dorm room:
Keep It Simple and bring in a little Disney at a time. My freshman dorm room featured a desk that was Disney, but not overly Disney, a motto that I've taken with me throughout various other housing on campus. By bringing in a Disney-themed quote, park map crafts, and some vinylmation, I was able to have reminders of Disney on my desk while also keeping things professional. I went with a black/light blue/red color scheme, bringing in a custom-made shelf for my knick knacks and a canvas idea I got off Pinterest to complete the look.
Utilize Disney Home Merchandise like this Once Upon A Time/Happily Ever After pillow I found in the Disney store. While Disney merchandise might not be as cheap as that pillow you can get from Walmart for four dollars, if you plan strategically with a couple of items here and there, they can really make a house feel like a home, and they have items for every room, from the kitchen, to the bedroom, and even the bathroom!
Use All Your Space. This is extremely important, especially in a small dorm room. Every space in the room is unique, from that spot on your futon, to above your desk, to the wall near your bed. While there's a time and place for a blank wall (I have one above my current desk), sometimes you can find a spot just waiting to be filled with some Disney. In my freshman dorm, we had our beds lofted (below), and the wall next to mine was perfect for some daily reminders of my friends, family, and Disney through Instagram Photostrips.
Make It Unique by adding pieces of Disney that are distinctly you. I have a love for vintage Disney items, whether they be from the parks or films, so items like my Jim Shore Teacup or the vintage attraction posters I added last year are a must. But I'm also an avid fan of Once Upon A Time, so in addition to the toy yellow bug on my desk, there are tons of little references to the show throughout my college collection. If there's a specific item you collect, make it a part of your decor, because that's what college decorating is all about in the first place: being yourself.
Do It Yourself and create items for your dorm. My apartment is now filled with various canvases themed to everything from Once Upon A Time to Hamilton, and it's one of the easiest ways to add both some color and character to a blank wall. If painting a canvas isn't quite your style, try making Disney Park Map Coasters or filling a picture frame with a meaningful quote. Just because it's DIY doesn't mean it has to be impossible.
Small Can Be Big in a dorm room, no matter how well you think something's going to fit. It's here that some of the smallest merchandise in the Disney Store can make the biggest impact on your room, like the Vinylmation on my desk or the Tsum Tsum collection that now sits on my mantle. These are especially great for those that don't want to even come close to over-the-top Disney, because they're not always immediately recognizable as Disney, but still bring a big of magic to the party.
Keep Moving Forward with decor you can keep adding to. While not entirely focused around Disney, I recently added the quote canvas below to my bedroom wall. The wall reminds me that while there are million things I haven't done, there are a lot of adventures I have had too, and as the days go on, I keep adding to the wall. It helps me to keep moving forward, and allows for continuous change in my room, which is nice, especially after a few months of living in the same small box. Change can be good sometimes.
While there are plenty of other secrets to my college decorating, many of which you can find here on Everyday Disney, these were just a few of my favorite tips. I hope that, if you're moving into a dorm soon, that some of these ideas helped inspire you, but I want to hear your ideas too! Let me know what some of your favorite college decorating tips are in the comments below!
Have a magical day!