How to Create A Pretty Dorm Room for 2020 [Before and After Photos]

When moms help their teens with dorm shopping, it can be as simple as shopping at Target or Bed, Bath & Beyond to get the basics or they can spend hours pouring over Pinterest and Instagram for ideas and inspiration. Either approach is absolutely fine and students will survive in their new rooms regardless of the time and effort parents devote to their teen’s dorm decor.

But, with a vision, determination and the budget to do so, hum drum dorm furniture and cinderblock walls can be transformed into space that is both functional and possibly even cute.

How to Create a Pretty Dorm Room

Houston mom, make-up artist and former interior designer, Sheila Ybarra, went well beyond mere “cute” in the dorm room design for her daughter, Skylar. In fact, she has done it multiple times – for her daughter’s freshman year, at the sorority house/dorm, and last year, for her apartment.

We have Ybarra’s Instagram posts, showing each of Skylar’s rooms over the last three years, which reveal so many of her amazing ideas.

Freshman Dorm, 2017

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**Swipe Right**10 hours, 8 people later we all decorated my daughters and Girlfriends dorm room at Texas State University. We did the best with the little space that we had. It was team work! #texasstate SWIPE TO SEE BEFORE AND AFTER *RENTED BED RISERS and bed rails were put on * @txst #texasstateuniversity #dormroom #dormroommakeover #dormroomdecor @skylarbantz @makeupbysheila #txstmovein #txst22 #texasstatemovein #txst21 #bobcats #beforeandafter #roomdecor #roomgoals #dormdecor #dormlife #ikea #bedbathandbeyond @txstatehousing #bobcats #bobcats #sanmarcos #txstrecruitment #peelandstickwallpaper #removablewallpaper #cleanceiling #fireretardentwallpaper #university #college #collegedays #collegedorm #ikea #sanmarcos before pic is of her neighbors room. Looked just like hers but different light fixture( but we forgot to take a before pic). Skylar has a video on YouTube it has everything she brought to college!

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Sophomore Year Sorority House/Dorm, 2018

Here is a photo of the before:

Pretty dorm room

And now for the after:

Pretty dorm room

Personal touches in the room include this coffee bar:

Pretty dorm room

Monogrammed desk chairs and a pretty work space:

Pretty dorm room

Wall design and pink colors for the bedding:

Many of the furnishings came from Wayfair because they ship for free and offer free shipping for returns, too. Skylar was able to use many of the decor and furnishings from freshman year in her later years and those she could not use, she sold to other students.

Junior Year/Apartment, 2019

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I did this College Room Makeover for @skylarbantz at #texasstateuniversity . I had fun with this #bohostyle . . . . #dormroom #dormroomideas #bohodecor #roommakeover #collegeroom #texasstate #txst #txstate #txstmovein #dztxst #txstdz @theretreatsmtx @txstatedz #farmhouse #farmhousedorm #bohemiandecor #bohemiandorm #bohemiandormroomdecor @marshalls @target @tuesdaymorning @athomestores @onekingslane @worldmarket @wayfair @amazonhome @theretreatsmtx @txstsigmachi @txstatehousing *Change out the lighting to LED daylight bulbs 💡it brightens the walls and floors* Add additional lighting anywhere you can *Always go straight to the sale department in the clearance rack at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx it’s amazing what you can find there #txstdz #txst23 #bobcatden

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Where to Shop the Look

Note: We are a reader-supported site and receive payment from purchases made through some of the links in this post. 


Initial wall decal

Peony wall decal 


Glass coffee table with gold legs 

White molded chairs with gold legs 

Keurig Mini in rose (also available in mint, silver and black)

Wake Up and Be Awesome coffee mugs

Pink round floor pillows

Gold desk lamp

Wooden vanity

Tiered bracket shelf (bathroom) 

Quilted headboard

Grey throw pillows

Round mirror on rope

X-base night stand

You Might Also Want to Read:

How to Decorate Your Entire Dorm Room at Target Target has stylish, well-priced dorm and apartment furnishings. These are some of our favorites.

How to Decorate a College Dorm Room: Adorable and Easy Here are some popular ideas your teen might not have considered for dorm decor.

See how one mom took a boring old dorm room and transformed it into the prettiest dorm room ever. Your dorm room doesn't have to be drab and boring, there are lots of DIY ideas to dress up your dorm. #diydorm #dormideas #dormroom #dormmakeover #dormtransformation #college #collegelife #dormlife

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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