Style & Shopping

This $10 Purchase Totally Upgraded My Dorm Desk

published Nov 13, 2023
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Glossy Marble Paper Granite Grey/White Roll on vanity - product photo on colored background
Credit: practicalWs

As a junior in college who’s lived in small dorm rooms for the past three years, I’ve spent a lot of time hunched over my dorm desk. Whether I’m doing homework, getting ready, or eating a meal, it’s all going down there. This is a fact of life when you live in a small space where the only other seating option is a bed, but I found a way to make my would-be mundane reality a lot more enjoyable — and way cuter.

Unsurprisingly, the standard-issued furniture that’s come with each of my dorm rooms has not fit my personal aesthetic at all. (Does boring brown wood with no interesting features fit anyone’s aesthetic? LMK.) But I quickly decided to change this my freshman year.

Credit: Angie Arias

I wasn’t looking to spend hundreds of dollars (or even one hundred dollars) on new furniture. Instead, I started looking up DIY ways to upgrade the furniture I had. It didn’t take me long to find what I was looking for while surfing Amazon: a roll of contact paper with a chic marble pattern. 

For $10, I purchased a roll of 17.71-by-78-inch wallpaper, which covers about 9.6 square feet total — more than enough to top a dorm desk. The paper was easy to apply to my desk; you just peel off the adhesive liner and stick it to your desired surface, laying it down slowly to ensure it goes on straight, and smoothing it out as you go to prevent air bubbles. 

Credit: Angie Arias

Once it was on, I was so excited by how it totally elevated the look of my desk. Instead of a boring dorm desk, I now had a stylish vanity and workspace where I actually wanted to spend all my time. The marble pattern made the surface seem way more expensive than it was, and the glossy finish gave it an extra-clean look. At the end of the year, I was able to easily remove the contact paper, revealing my undamaged wooden desk underneath. (As an RA whose job it is to inspect rooms for damage, this was a big deal to me!)

I’ve now used this contact paper in every one of my dorm rooms since freshman year. I’m so glad I found such a budget-friendly, easy-to-use option to help me create a special place in each of my dorm rooms that truly feels like “mine.”

Angie Arias

Business Economics

Angie is a content creator from New York City, where she documents her college journey while providing tips to current and upcoming college students. She is an RA on her campus, and she's also part of her university’s TikTok committee. She also has her own small business, AmityLuxeLashes.

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SchoolSUNY Oneonta '25
MajorBusiness Economics
FavesTrying new foods around NYC, playing The Sims, Sade
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