5 Fresh Dorm Storage Ideas for a Cool, Modern Space

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The basic dorm room is pretty uninspiring, with its cinderblock walls, a small bed and hardly any dorm storage. The challenge is how do you breathe personality into such a small space? And how do you deal with dorm organization and clutter?

With a little planning and inspiration, you can create an awesome room with plenty of dorm storage as your personal sanctuary to study and lounge in. Here are some dorm room decor ideas and dorm storage items in stores now that make dorm organization easy, modern and very Tumbler!

1. Start with a color theme

This well-organized dorm room has under-the-bed storage, low-profile shelving and plenty of interesting colors and texture. Image: PBteen

Shop this look: Quilt | Bookshelf | Acrylic Chair | Sherpa Chair

You probably can’t paint your dorm room walls but you don’t have to live all year with white or yellow. Decide what color you want to add to your dorm room decor and work with it. Some ways to add your favorite color to your dorm space is in your:

  • Bedding
  • Shelving
  • Underbed storage boxes
  • Area rug
  • Desk accessories

What makes the room in this picture so cool? It’s the combination of textures on the floor and bed, as well as the clear desk chair that takes up little visual space. Notice the boxes under the bed and the narrow wall shelf that add extra dorm storage without taking up too much space.

Want a little extra privacy? Hang some curtains from the ceiling using Command Utility Hooks, which can hold a decent amount of weight and are easy to remove without making holes in the walls or ceilings.

2. Organize your desk

Clear acrylic wall baskets and wall-mounted cork boards clear valuable desk space. Image: Simply Organized

Shop Similar Look: Headphones | Chair | Bulletin Board | Acrylic organizers

Wall-mounted storage caddies in a vibrant color work as wall art and dorm storage. Image: Pottery Barn

Shop this look: Light | Wall DecalsWall Organizers

A desk-topping shelf adds extra storage to a small desk. Image: Dorm Decor

Shop a Similar Look: Monogram | Desk Hutch | Baskets

Keep the desk surface clear by using vertical space and walls for all the extra stuff. Hang cork board and cork strips, baskets and other cubbies from the wall in a cool gallery wall pattern. Again, use Command adhesive strips instead of nails to hold items in place.

You can also add a desk topper to add extra shelving and storage. Decorate the backing of the desk topper by:

  • Lining with decorative printed paper
  • Adding cork board
  • Mounting a magnetic board
  • Painting the desk topper backing with chalkboard paint

3. Add shelves around your bed

A shelf behind the bed doubles as a headboard and extra dorm storage. Image: Dorm Decor

Shop a similar look: Chair | Bedside Table | Bins

Lower shelves running along two sides of the bed create a cozy nook while maximizing dorm organization and storage. Image: PBteen

Shop this look: Comforter | Cable System | Pillow 

A narrow metal shelf becomes part of the bed area. Image: Bed Bath and Beyond

Shop a similar look: Metal Shelving | Bin | Lamp

Create an interesting headboard by adding a bookcase behind your bed to store extra items. Just be sure the shelves are high enough that you don’t bang your head when you sit up. Or you can avoid that by choosing a narrow book case that your bed sits against.

Another dorm room organization idea is to run a long, low, narrow bookcase along one side of the bed like in the pink dorm room. You can face the shelves toward you to access while in bed or face them outward, with the bookcase backing up against your bed.

4. Add a coffee and snack station

Rolling carts keep kitchen items organized and hold a mini fridge. Magnetic wall boards are great for menus and other papers. Image: The Container Store

Shop this look: Mesh Fridge Cart | Mesh Drawers | Pin Boards

Take a small spot for coffee, breakfast and snack preparation and go vertical. Images: Urban Outfitters and One Crazy House

Shop these looks: Rolling Storage Caddy | Stackable Shelves | Book Shelf

Use a rolling caddy (or two) for food storage and a base for a small refrigerator. And if you’re a coffee fanatic, why not create a small coffee bar somewhere in your dorm room? Take a simple table or rolling caddy for your coffee maker and supplies and add some wall storage to hang coffee mugs. If hanging heavier items is an issue, add a desk topper to your table to keep all your mugs and coffee supplies handy.

5. Add hidden and under-the-bed storage

Use boxes under the bed to store rarely used items. Image: The Idea Room

Shop a similar look: Under Bed Drawers | Side Table | Throw

A hip, high fashion dorm room can feature a storage trunk as a nightstand and a long storage ottoman as a bench. Image: Style & Design

Shop a similar look: Trunk | Bench | Wall Art

Dorm organization means getting creative to maximize your small space. Use sturdy cubes, boxes, trunks and storage ottomans in your room to work as both dorm storage that hides clutter and:

  • As a desk seat
  • As a bench
  • As a nightstand
  • To tuck under the bed

Our last tip isn’t so much about dorm storage or dorm room organization but about creating the coolest, most inviting space for studying, hanging and sleeping:

Create the best and coziest bed nook ever

This glamorous and cozy dorm bed features layers of fabrics, colors, metallics and faux fur. Image: Dormify

Shop a similar look: Wall Decals | Throw | Pillow

Photos are hung from wall-mounted string lights and the bed, placed against the wall, can also serve as a day bed. Image: Dormify

Shop a similar look: Pillows | String Lights | Lamp

To create a dorm room bed that’s so cozy you and your friends may not want to leave, add plenty of bedding layers that include:

  • Faux fur or other soft throws or blankets
  • Plenty of throw pillows with fun messages and favorite colors
  • Soft and fluffy sheets and bedding

And don’t forget to add your personality to the walls with string lights, favorite pictures and inspiring quotes!

What’s your favorite dorm room from the images?