Starting college is a huge transition in and of itself, but add dorm living and even the most independent of young adults may have a challenging time adjusting. Most dormitories are stocked with the same clunky wooden furniture, cinder block walls, and well-worn grey carpet, so adding a few homey touches can make an otherwise nondescript space feel much more comfortable and personal. While there are infinite options to create a feminine dorm aesthetic, we’ve rounded up masculine-leaning ideas here for those inclined toward rugged, industrial minimalism. Make sure your student feels completely ready to live on their own by creating a few of these straightforward dorm room DIYs prior to arriving on campus.
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For the audiophile that can’t leave home without their record player and a few choice vinyls, construct a mobile wood and metal record cabinet. The handy maneuverable wheels make this piece adjustable to even the tightest of spaces—perfect for that pared-down dorm life.
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Washi tape is a godsend for those bunking down in dorms—it’s easy to use, inexpensive, and perfectly removable. Try building a gallery wall by attaching posters, photos, and inspirational messages with bits of neon tape for a rock ’n’ roll art installation that is a thousand times cooler than off-white cinder blocks.
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Tick off the days until spring break in style with a homemade perpetual calendar. This version uses colorful cardstock as the medium for each month, day, and date, but balsa wood or etched metal would make things even more ruggedly masculine.
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Not only can you display a favorite catchphrase, song lyric, or personal motto with a set of oversized pegboard letters, but you can also use them for storing otherwise tricky odds and ends (think: ID lanyards, neckties, or keyrings). Add hooks, shelves, or wire containers to keep everything accessible and easily sorted.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Storage space is essential when considering dorm living, so making good use of vertical space is key. Add a set of simple, modern hanging shelves to allow for easy display of photos, plants, or even books. Not allowed to nail into the dorm wall? Use hefty sticky-back plastic hooks to install temporary shelving with ease.
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Go for clean minimalism (and stay organized at the same time) with a simple hanging academic command center. Corkboard, note pads, and shelves are all handy inclusions, but feel free to start with a blank piece of plywood and tailor it to your student’s actual needs (try a wall calendar, planner, or whiteboard, too).
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If your student craves an active, kinetic break from studying on occasion (or often), send them to school with a beautifully handmade basketball hoop. This piece, crafted from recycled palette wood, is heavier than other wall-hung items, so consider using lighter balsa or aluminum to make this DIY even more dorm-friendly.
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The overhead fluorescent lighting typical in most dorm rooms is harsh and can strain the eyes, so make sure your teen has some alternative options. Instead of shelling out for expensive decorative string lights, upcycle old ping pong balls and a strand of holiday lights into a creative, unique lighting experience.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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One essential piece of furniture that doesn’t usually come standard with your dorm room: the nightstand. Craft a rustic, homemade, simple accent piece that your student can keep at their bedside to charge their phone and collect late-night reading materials.
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Encourage your college kid to bring a bit of home to campus with them—even if it’s just a few special photos. Printing them in black and white and all the same size keeps things unified, tidy, and sleek, and adding a wooden dowel and a bit of black twine makes this project very budget-friendly (no photo frames needed).