Dorm Decor Tips and Tricks

With recent confirmation from the IHL stating that the University will be resuming normal classes in the fall, parents of incoming freshmen are beginning to make plans for moving into the dorms. The list of dorm decor and necessities can be overwhelming, but with some advice from an Ole Miss Parent who has already been through the move-in process, you can find some relief with your child’s transition from home to on-campus living.

Using Martin Hall as a reference dorm, Liz Landgren, has composed a list of simple tips and tricks that can give some guidance when it comes to what’s needed on move-in day.

Although housing rules prevent any holes being drilled into the walls, command strips are not always 100% foolproof. (Your decision!) Command hooks are great if you are ready to deck out the dorm in valances or other small items but are not often suitable for holding the actual curtains.

*Join our parent group (Parents of Ole Miss Students Group) and search Liz Landgren. She posted a very detailed post with pictures regarding hanging curtains and valances in Martin dorm.


One thing that throws off parents and freshmen is that the given measurements for the desks do not match up with the newer desks. Some floors have old desks and some new. The floors with the newer desks have different dimensions, so be wary of the floor your child is on if you choose to get mirrored tops or desk skirts. And if possible, ask before spending the money to have those things made. Also, the rooms come with chairs that cannot be removed from the room. If you decide to go with a new, more stylish chair, the one provided can easily be hidden under the bed.

When it comes to buying bed skirts, get them made with three long panels and ties to attach to the bed frame. Landgren says that it’s nice to cut corners and buy bargains for most things but having the bed skirts made properly is worth the extra money. Dimensions to go by are 34 in. long x 53 in. wide at bottom x 43 in. at top. It is not worth the headache to try and search for the perfect size and design.

Maximizing storage in the dorm is a great idea, but if you choose a middle bedside table with storage and make use of decorative storage boxes as step-stools, lack of space really won’t be an issue. Another tip about the dorm beds is to not worry about buying a brand new Twin XL mattress, just make sure it is a nice mattress topper. Landgren found one at Target that had memory foam. It cost around $80 but her daughter said it was the most comfortable bed she had ever slept on! Also, it’s a good idea to get a mattress protector to zip around the mattress to protect your student from any germs that might be lying around on there.

For closet storage, a rolling three tier cart or plastic storage shelves can be great for toiletries and other miscellaneous items in the closet that can be hidden until needed. Look for hangers with hooks so you are able to layer clothes on one hanger and it is also helpful to hang belts or purses. Putting small hooks on the closet wall will help with keeping necklaces organized. Shoes can take up a ton of space so it is easiest to get the hanging cubbies for the closet.

Air purifiers are a good idea to have when living in such close quarters like a dorm, but be sure to check your dorm specifications and requirements to see if they are allowed.

If your student has prescription medicines and other items that could be needed at bedtime or morning, it is nice to have them out of plain view. Landgren suggested a cubby that tucks under the mattress and has compartments. It is easily hidden on the wall side of the bed. Your student then can take it immediately when they wake. She suggested it as a great place to keep ibuprofen and other things that could be needed in the night so that it is all within reach!

To help with keeping the peace between roommates, Landgren noted that by hanging a light curtain over the entrance to the room blocks out some light from the hallway or bathroom that would disturb a sleeping roommate. Command strips are great to use for this. Another useful curtain to bring is a light filtering curtain for the window between the beds.

Avoid buying a hanging caddy to hold items, because the door will not be able to hold it if it is one that attaches at the top. There are built-in towel racks, but a command hook works well to hold robes and cover-ups.



If your student chooses a bedside table that doesn’t hold a mini-fridge or microwave, storage cubbies are a good choice to hold food, plastic cutlery, plates, cups, etc. This way is a great way to keep the room organized. Try to bring a decent sized trash can, because the smaller ones can fill up very quickly.

Other small items that will be life savers are:

● Desk lamps with outlets

● Door stopper

● Plastic phone wallet to store Student ID (Easy to unlock door this way!)

● Small safe (very optional)

● Brita - Filtered Water Pitcher

● Zip Ties (The more the merrier!)

● Surge protectors

● Extension cords

● Mesh shower caddy (Easy to hang)

● Small rug for inside closet

Every dorm will be unique, and you will see a million different ways to do things on move-in day, but just remember that all parents are in the same boat and it will all be worth it in the end. Remember this even when you are on the seventh trip to your student’s dorm on the 10th floor!

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