At House Beautiful we believe there’s no minimum age for stylish spaces. That’s why we partnered with Seventeen to poll their readers—the next generation of trendsetters!—on the biggest decorating hurdles in their spaces. Then, we tapped some of our favorite designers to advise. In this installment: The sorority house bedroom.

Starting college can be daunting (Will you do well in your classes? Will you get lost on your first day? Will someone steal your food from the shared fridge?)—but when it comes to decorating your new digs, that should be the fun part. Whether you’re wondering how to host your friends in a small bedroom space, how to make your room’s decor fit your aesthetic without making it too hard to remove it all at the end of the school year, or how to keep all of your school supplies organized, fear not! House Beautiful is here to answer all of your questions, with the help of the experts. Below, discover everything you need to know about designing a sorority house room in a smart way, without missing out on Instagram-worthy decor.

Create a Bedroom You Can Also Host in

a dorm created with dormify

A bedroom created using items from Dormify.


When it comes to hosting your friends and classmates in a sorority house room, space can be limited—but that doesn’t mean you can’t throw a party or two here! Amanda Zuckerman, the CEO and Co-Founder of Dormify—which offers furnishings that are designed specifically for living in a small space, without sacrificing great design—tells House Beautiful exactly how to create a bedroom that doubles as a hosting spot. She advises that “having versatile items with multiple functions” is of the utmost importance, citing Dormify’s collapsible storage ottoman bench and chair as items that “provide great storage but also extra seating for guests when you entertain.”

Designer Erin Coren of Curated Nest Interiors echoes this sentiment, stating that items like “ottomans can act as a place to prop your feet up while doing work on your laptop, as well as additional seating for friends.”

When it comes to your sleeping spot, Zuckerman suggests that you have comfortable bedding and plenty of throw pillows, given that “some guests might be sitting on your bed.” Some other options? A body pillow—which can give your bed more of a couch-like feeling, which is ideal for entertaining—and floor pillows that you can store under your bed and use for extra seating, when needed.

To add even more visual and textural design elements to your sorority house room, designer Amy Studebaker advises adding a comfy rug to your space, as it will bring coziness into your room and act as an additional place for you and your guests to lounge. Another suggestion? Floating shelves, which will provide you with a way to “display fun and meaningful accessories,” as well as books that you’ll need at the ready for your classes.

Another important component to keep in mind when decorating a bedroom that doubles as a hosting spot is to make good use of organizational decor. Zuckerman advises storing items in an over-the-door organizer and using bins under your bed to hide everything from shoes to books.

Of course, customizing your room to fit your personal design aesthetic is most important of all, so don’t forget to include fun accents like wall art, decorative lighting, neon signs, wallpaper, and string lights!

Make Good Design Decisions That Are Removable

a gallery wall designed by amanda lantz

A gallery wall designed by Amanda Lantz.

Jamie Sangar

When it comes to decorating a sorority house room, the most important thing to keep in mind is that this space will likely only be yours for anywhere from one semester to a few years. So, making design decisions that are easily removable is key.

Designer Amanda Lantz suggests starting with artwork first, as it’s not as difficult to install and remove as other kinds of decor, unlike traditional wallpaper. “For young clients who are looking to start developing a style for their space, if they find art pieces they love, it will help inspire the rest of the space,” she tells House Beautiful.

Lantz also recommends framing anything and everything—not just traditional art. “A variety of objects can be so cool for a gallery wall—perhaps it’s something that reminds you of a college or a trip.” The designer says she has framed menus from clients’ favorite restaurants, proving that art comes in all forms.

Of course, hanging artwork often leaves behind a hole or two on your walls, so designer Courtney Sempliner suggests using Command hanging strips to combat this issue, as a way of getting the job done without making a mark.

Given the limited time frame of living in a sorority house, “think about investing in items that you can take with you,” adds Sempliner. Try using peel and stick wallpaper and window treatments, advises designer Brenna Morgan. The former “is easy to remove at the end of the year and can really allow a student to make a personal statement about their style.” As for the latter, “adding some drapes to the windows adds style and conceals the necessary, yet ugly blinds,” says Morgan.

Keep School Supplies Organized

elizabeth krueger design

A kitchen designed by Elizabeth Krueger, featuring shelving for school supplis.

Elizabeth Krueger Design

Many a student knows how messy and unorganized their miscellaneous school supplies can get over the course of just one semester, let alone an entire school year.

Designer Elizabeth Krueger finds that “keeping supplies grouped together and separate” works best. “All pens by color together, pencils, paper, notebooks, etc. If you organize them as if you are at a store—you can ‘shop’ your supply area for what you need and also know when the items are low and it’s time to replenish them!”

Krueger recommends buying items from The Container Store. If hiring an organizing service like the NEAT Method isn’t in the budget, DIY it by separating your supplies into easily-accessible bins. The designer advises using a mix of open and closed storage, given that “seeing stuff will remind you to use it” while also doubling as eye-catching design.

Before you dive into organizing your school supplies, says Adrienne Robideaux of Animal Cracker Studio, “know what you have and get rid of things that you don’t need.” Although it may be tempting to buy every single notebook and pen that catches your eye, “focus on what you need and what supplies you actually use, and it will be so much easier to keep your supplies organized.”

Then, keep similar items together and decide how and where you want to store them, by picking the appropriate size containers and locations for everything. Clear containers are ideal for this, says Robideaux, as you can see each item without having to open anything. Additionally, “purging supplies that you don’t use on a regular basis will help keep those supplies organized.”

When it comes to organizing on a budget, IKEA’s TJENA Storage Boxes are a great option (they cost under $10 each!) and you can find them in various sizes and colors. Plus, they “can be painted any color your heart desires with a little craft paint,” adds Robideaux.

And don’t be afraid to incorporate bright colors in your bookshelves, too! “There is a reason you see rainbow bookshelves all over social media—they please the eye and make people happy,” declares Robideaux. “Consider organizing your supplies or supply boxes in rainbow order. Add in photographs or art or personal objects to make it personal. Storage can be fun to look at as well as functional.”

Ready to get started? We rounded up some of our favorite dorm room essentials below.

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