Here Are the 8 Biggest Dorm Decor Trends to Look Out for in 2024
As 2023 comes to a close and students head home for a well-deserved break, it only feels right to look ahead to what’s to come in the new year. No, I’m not talking about next semester’s classes or where everyone is going for spring break. I’m talking about one of my favorite topics: home decor, and how students can update their spaces for 2024.
Now more than ever, college students are making efforts to help their housing feel distinctive and special to them. Whether you live in an on-campus dorm, an off-campus apartment, at home with family, or anywhere else, the possibilities for having a stylish, comfortable space are endless.
But how do students know what’s trending in the semester to come? We took a peek at Apartment Therapy’s annual State of Home Design survey results to gather insights and make predictions for what’s going to dominate dorm and college home trends in 2024.
Here’s what you can look forward to.
1. Bold, Deep Colors
Although minimalist patterns and neutral colorways are the hallmarks of TikTok’s beloved “vanilla girl” aesthetic, bold colors are enjoying a major comeback. You may have heard that dark colors make a space feel smaller (and I get it — most college housing is already small enough as is), but bold colors can make a space feel cozy and inviting.
“After years and years of light and bright interiors, a lot of designers and clients seem to be finding themselves attracted to darker hues,” Los Angeles designer Orlando Soria told Apartment Therapy. “Saturated wall colors, richly colored upholstery, and darker stone and wood finishes will help provide some of this visual drama.” (Based on my college home tour, can you tell I strongly agree with this one?)
2. Peel & Stick Wallpaper
With color and patterns becoming more common, college students who want to express their style without forfeiting their security deposits are turning to peel-and-stick wallpaper and contact paper to transform their spaces on a budget. There are DIY tutorials all over social media to show how to cover your dorm walls, desks, and even mini fridges.
3. Vintage Vibes
With Thrift-Tok more popular than ever, college students are finding all kinds of secondhand gems to furnish and decorate their homes. For one, thrifting is a budget-friendly way to shop, especially if you’ve already spent a good amount of money on new items. But also, from a style standpoint, buying vintage (or even just vintage-looking) pieces can “make spaces feel collected rather than ‘catalog-perfect,’” designer Cathie Hong from Los Gatos, California, told Apartment Therapy.
4. Statement Fabrics
Eye-catching design isn’t just limited to colors in 2024. In Apartment Therapy’s survey, 52% of designers said tapestry-style fabrics and wall hangings will start to make more of an appearance, while 47% said graphic florals and geometric patterns will be big next year. But they can’t just be pretty; they also need to be functional. A whopping 75% of designers said performance fabrics (durable, stain-resistant, and easy-to-clean fabrics like nylon and polyester) will gain traction in the coming year.
So if you’re eyeing a bold bedspread, patterned area rug, or a funky wall hanging to buy for your space in the coming year, you’re right on trend.
5. Plants & Greenery
Becoming a “plarent” (read: plant parent) as a college student can be difficult depending on your schedule and living situation, but if you’ve been considering taking on the responsibility, now’s the time to do it. In 2024, designers say they see plants and greenery as top options for decorating on a budget, because you can get a lot of bang for your buck. Not only will plants make your space feel fresh and full of life, but they might also keep you from impulse-adopting a kitten during finals week. That said, if keeping a plant alive feels like too much work, faux plants are a great alternative for bringing some green into your space.
6. Fun Lighting
Whether you lean more eclectic or chic, table lamps are a dorm room essential that can also add personality into your space. As Washington designer Rashida Banks told Apartment Therapy, “Beautiful lighting throughout your home is jewelry to any space. It’s not only visually appealing, but it also sets the mood of the space during certain times of the day.” Bonus: Having a light source with an interesting design may help keep you more engaged when you’re up studying at all hours of the night.
7. Stylish Storage
Storage is never not top of mind for college students living in small spaces. However, as more aesthetically pleasing storage solutions become available, finding ways to stash your stuff, stay organized, and make your home look nice has never been easier or more accessible. Look out for pieces that pull double-duty (think: a mirror that also holds jewelry, or seating that also features storage).
8. Privacy, Please
Despite open-concept living being a popular design trend, Apartment Therapy’s survey indicates an increased desire for more privacy within homes. Of course, most students have little (if no) control over their homes’ floor plans, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still carve out some personal space. Don’t be surprised if more and more students apply for single dorm rooms in the semesters to come. And for those who can’t live alone, look out for stylish privacy screens and DIY temporary walls — which can also help you delineate different areas in your space (such as a “work zone” and “fun zone”) so you don’t feel like everything is happening all at once in the same place.
The Best Trend of All: Do You
To me, the start of a new year is a time for embracing new beginnings — and incorporating fresh ideas into your living space certainly counts as doing so. Trying out new trends can be a great way to explore your style and express yourself. But above all, don’t forget the number-one rule when it comes to designing your home: Make sure it feels right to you, regardless of what’s popular.