How To Be "That Girl" With Your Dorm Room

With the start of the school year just around the corner, college students turn their sights toward campus life, and one of the most distinguishing parts of the college experience is living in a dorm.

By Madison May3 min read
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While dorm rooms sometimes get a bad reputation, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you shop smart and put in a bit of effort, you can truly make your dorm into a refreshing and uplifting place to relax and recharge from a busy day.

With so much going on during the semester, it's crucial to have your dorm room planned out and ready to go when classes begin. Having a dorm that’s both cute and practical makes life so much easier. Your dorm should be a retreat, a place to reconnect with yourself in the midst of studying and going out with friends, and ultimately, a place where you feel at home.

The best way to approach your dorm room is through the “that girl” aesthetic. We all know “that girl” who has the flawlessly neat and perfectly decorated room that captures her unique personality and style. Now, it's your turn to be that girl. Here is a list of items you’ll need for your dorm, organization tips, and some ways to make your room beautiful. 

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Organization Essentials

First, there are some essential items that you’ll need in order to optimize your dorm room this fall. Organization makes everything run more smoothly, setting you up for success on campus and beyond. My main tip for first-time college students is to go shopping for a lot of the bulkier items in the same city as your school so that you can save space in the car or on the plane. Pay a visit to the local Target or Bed Bath & Beyond for some dorm room space-savers. Also, be sure to buy furniture that’s simple to construct or comes pre-built.


High-quality shelves will last for your full college career. They can serve as a night table and a bookshelf or storage tower in one. They're a great place to put textbooks and more.

X-Frame Bathroom Tower, $100
Dormify Tall Charging 3 Drawer Cart on Wheels, $159

Shoe Rack

Keep your shoes organized and at hand with this leveled shoe rack. It's under $10 and will save you a ton of space.

Mainstays 4 Tier Shoe Rack, $10

Laundry Basket

A laundry basket is a must-have. Find one that’s waterproof and not made of mesh, so it's protected from the questionable laundry room floor. 

DOKEHOM Freestanding Collapsible Laundry Basket with Lid, $20

Desk Stand

This desk stand adds dimension to your workspace and has compartments to help with organizing your school supplies. Plus raising your screen up is better for your neck, back, and posture.

Mind Reader Monitor Stand with 6 Compartment Organizer, $55

Storage Bins

Keep your extra accessories and toiletries in these handy bins under the bed. That way, they’ll be out of sight, but within an arm's reach whenever you need them. 

mDesign Stackable Fabric Closet Storage Organizer Boxes, $28
RPET Stuff and Store Underbed Bins, $39

Desk Lamp

A desk lamp is necessary for studying or reading, especially if your roommate is napping and you can't turn the overhead lights on.

Room Essentials Task Table Lamp, $8


Next up are some dorm items that you can take some more liberty with. The colors and patterns you choose for these will help make your dorm room your own. Having a cohesive theme or color scheme with your bedspread and décor will elevate your room’s aesthetic. 


Add a cozy and ethereal atmosphere to your room with a string of lights. 

West & Arrow LED Curtain String Lights, $17


Find pretty and uplifting posters and prints to decorate your wall. Choose something nature oriented to relax your mind. I really like botanical illustration, but you could also do seascapes or inspirational quotes.

Vintage White Rose Botanicals Wall Art Prints Set of 4, $17
Vintage Botanical Wall Art Decor Set of 5, $16

Area Rug 

Cover up the dorm floor with a nice rug. I like the natural and beachy look of jute for a southern location, but shag carpets are super cozy for a colder climate. 

Hausattire Hand Woven Jute Braided Rug, 4' Round, $41
Pottery Barn Teen Luxe Shag Performance Rug, $99 and up

Sheets and Pillows

Use your bedspread to express your personality. Do you like florals, preppy prints, or solid pastel colored sheets? Plan out a color scheme, and get decorative blankets and throw pillows to match. Make sure the sheet size is in twin XL, which is the size of dorm beds.

Pottery Barn Teen Indira Jacquard Duvet Cover & Sham, $29
Pottery Barn Teen Washed Cotton Ruffle Organic Sheet Set, $89 
Pimlada Phuapradit Floral Duvet Set, $179
Threshold 400 Thread Count Printed Pattern Performance Sheet Set in Blue Floral, $35


Continue your color scheme through the towels and washcloths that you choose. 

L.L. Bean Organic Cotton Towel Set of 6, $100
Threshold 6pk Textured Bath Towel Set, $20


Bring the outdoors in and reconnect with nature with a little plant. This item is best to get on location at a grocery store, Target, or a farmers' market. Having a plant or a collection of plants is a sweet way to not only make your room look nice, but also to have something living to care for. 

National Plant Network 3pc Spider Plant, $28

Closing Thoughts

The reason that the “that girl” trend bothers some people is because they think it's unattainable. What people don’t realize, though, is that they, too, can be that girl. In fact, that’s what the trend is all about! Being “that girl” is about becoming the person you want to be and getting your life together. And what better way is there to start than designing your dream dorm room? 

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