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What Guys in College Really Want in Their Dorm Room

Written by Rebecca Hastings


Posted on August 11 2022

When I was first starting college, I had the opportunity to shop with my roommate. We selected matching Indian bedspreads and large burlap made wall hangings of our favorite rock and roll band. Huge speakers occupied the corner of most students' rooms and, of course, many students had a lava lamp. We didn't have the internet nor cellphones to instantly communicate so we did it the old fashioned way...the family's home telephone, which typically hung on the wall, and a meet and greet at the nearby mall. Now, we have websites, blogs and electronic ads guiding us to information we are searching for. If we want ideas on how to decorate a dorm room, the web is full of ideas. However, most shared ideas show us how to create a feminine dorm aesthetic. Like Zephyr Basine who created the website, College Fashion, in 2007. It's a website where college woman can get their "daily source for all things fabulous". This includes dorm room decorating.

Female student lying on bed. 

Unfortunately, very little has been devoted to masculine dorm room decorating until now. Dormify, a website where college students can purchase fashionable dorm room décor, recently published under Trending, items for him. And according to College Life, 17 Creative Guys Dorm Room Ideas, "Guys in college can appreciate stylish, comfortable living quarters just as much as their female counterparts."

I believe this to be the case, but I'm hearing from the moms out there and they are sharing a different story.  As an example, Jennifer Griffin shares her thoughts, "boy dorm room and décor don't seem to really go together right? But I am his mother after all so I had to add a little spice."  And then, I recently read this on Instagram.  


In my opinion, what these women are trying to convey (albeit in a humorous way) is that some young men may need additional help or sequential steps to get started. Laura from Tip Junkie provides a fabulous list of things to think about when decorating for a son's dorm room such as 1) Picking a theme, 2) Picking color combinations, 3) Add hobbies, etc. 

collection of bugs 

Don't think too much beyond the basics. That's the conclusion that Belle Antiquarian came to in Guy's Dorm Room Décor. It's been her experience that "most boys don't care what their room looks like as long as they have what they need". "Boys just want the basics" she says. I'd like to take it one step further and suggest that in addition to the basics (lamps, power strips, etc.), consider items that provide your son privacy and brings comfort and joy to him. If the item does not fit in one of these three categories: 1) Privacy, 2) Comfort and 3) Joy, he probably won't be interested. 

Young man sitting on bed

    1) Privacy

We all need space and privacy especially after a hard day at work or a full day of classes.... a place where we can wind down and chill out . Unfortunately, in a dorm room with a roommate it may be very challenging to maintain a private place to reflect about the day or just take a quick nap. There's not an easy solution. Some have suggested using room dividers, a folding screen or if the student has a bottom bunk put up a blanket to cover the sleeping area

A more practical way and one that is more aesthetically pleasing is a canopy. Campus Canopies' founder, Debra Williams, indicates that "male students make up about half of all Campus Canopies customers. She was surprised by this because she thought women students would be more interested. "However, men seem to value privacy as much as women. We are now running 50/50 in terms of sales to men and women" she stated.

noise cancelling headphones

So that your roommate or his guests don't disturb you while you seek a more relaxing moment, you may also want to consider noise cancelling headphones. While a bit pricey ($329), the Sony WΗ-1000MX4 Wireless was the best noise cancelling headphones tested this summer by RTINGS.com

2) Comfort

Bedding is a high priority and one that Grown and Flown has addressed extensively in their blog, "How to Decorate a Guy’s Dorm Room: 23 Simple and Easy Ideas for 2022". Other comfortable items you may consider is a bean bag chair which can be used for gaming and an inflatable air sofa if there is room. A large selection of both can be found at Wayfair

snack area of a dorm room

Another form of comfort that may be overlooked is a snack bar station. Some  students may take great delight in creating one.


3) Joy or Fun 

Magnetic Dart Board

Add a little fun to your dorm room wall with a magnetic dart board that you can play with your roommate and friends. On Amazon, search for Dorm Room Games and also find the Ring Toss, Portable Table Tennis (The net will clamp on to any table that is 2" thick or less) and Ceiling Swish. 


A hammock

Another fun idea is to hang a hammock underneath your bunk bed. Hammocks are affordable and can easily be stored. Under Dorm Room Décor Care Packages on hugabox's website you will find a package that includes a hammock, basketball hoop that can be attached to any door as well as other fun items.

watching a movie projected on the wall


While many college students no longer take a TV to school, many still like to stream their favorite shows from their lap top or mobile phone. For greater flexibility in programming and your gaming experience why not consider taking a projector. It will take up less space in your dorm and make it easy to set up movie night in many additional locations. They are less expensive than a TV, and connect to any video game console, computer, or phone.

College shopping does not need to be a frustrating experience. If you can filter most of your purchases by asking the following question: Will the item we plan to purchase allow my son greater privacy or provide comfort, purpose and joy to his experience? If the answer is yes, it's probably a worthwhile item to purchase. One your son will use and appreciate. Happy Shopping!



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