Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog

I know I’ve been MIA for the past week, but I’ve got a big post to share (finally!). I have been working on the last couple of weeks to finish up the last details of my dorm room design, and I’m so excited to finally share the whole room today! Now that the room is done I finally feel like I have created a personal retreat for myself that has completely redefined my room and provided a comfortable ‘home’ for me here at college. Although I’ve had many late nights in the library or studio already, I’m always happy to head back to my dorm room. A huge thank you to the wonderful sponsors who collaborated with me on this project, including the bedding and area rug from Annie Selke, art prints and curtains from Minted, removable wallpaper from WallsNeedLove, and furniture and decor from At Home. Pulling these sources together, I sucessfully executed the neutral, layered vision from the design board I shared in August. Make sure to see my introductory dorm room post, and find the before pictures and the rest of the room after the jump!



Dorm room decor, before pictures, makeover on @thouswellblog
Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog

For my second set of sheets, I chose to add a subtle stripe to my bed with Brooklyn & Bond’s striped sheet set. The pattern adds a bit of variety to the bedding and looks great with the grey throw pillows from At Home. Above the bed, I hung a pair of 30×40 art prints from Minted – a a bull and a butterfly. I love that pop of yellow the butterfly provides! I used Command picture hanging strips to hang them without damaging the wall.

Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog
Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog

One of the first things I see when I walk into my room are the pair of mirrored side tables. I was thrilled to find this piece at At Home because I used a similar side table in my Pool House project and these were so similar – but at a much lower price! They are perfect for the ‘entrance’ to my dorm because they reflect light in this corner of the room and provide a place to put down my bag when I walk in.

Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog
Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog

Another great piece from At Home was the lucite trunk – which makes a functional bedside table with a tray on top! I use the trunk for linen storage, like my Pine Cone Hill woven blanket and sheet set from Annie Selke. It adds a little gold beside my bed and provides extra storage space without much visual weight.

Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog
Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog

My basic dorm desk got a fun (and removable) makeover with wallpaper from WallsNeedLove. I used their Faux Wood pattern with a neutral palette that would refresh the dark colors of the wood. You’ll see later that I used the leftovers of this pattern on the dresser to bring some more lighter colors to the other side of the room. I brought another grey-toned pattern to the room with the curtains from Minted, where I also found the fun Zebra print above the desk. Both the curtain rod and art prints were hung with Command products.

Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog
Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog
Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog

On the floor I layered a jute area rug from Dash & Albert for both comfort and function. The color and material are super comfortable, but the blend of jute and cotton makes it much more comfortable than other natural fiber rugs. I layered a faux hide rug from At Home for extra comfort. At my desk, I sourced the desk chair, bookcase, and desk accessories from At Home as well (except for the Nate Berkus pencil holder). I mixed gold and silver for variety, and found some functional pieces to hold my dinnerware and utensils on the shelves.

Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog
Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog

On my dresser, freshly covered in removable wallpaper, I used a large mirror to reflect light on this side of the room. Not only does it open up this side of the room, it adds some visual interest with the nailhead-trim detail on the mirror frame. Surrounding this vignette are Instagram prints from Framebridge, which remind me of some of my favorite memories with my family.

Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog
Dorm room decor, before and after makeover on @thouswellblog

It’s been a whirlwind bringing this room together while settling into my first month at Cornell, but I’m so happy the room is finally complete. Let me know your favorite detail in the space, and enter to win $100 from At Home below:

Kevin O'Gara signature on Thou Swell

Product for my dorm design was sponsored by the following brands: Annie Selke, At Home, Framebridge, Minted, and WallsNeedLove. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Thou Swell running!

Leave a Comment


  1. Claudia wrote:


    Posted 8.15.17 Reply
  2. Ron Carrier wrote:

    I think many dorm rooms should look like this. Perfect!

    Posted 1.18.17 Reply
  3. KLN wrote:

    Wow! Cornell alum, I’ve never seen a dorm room like that, well done!!

    Posted 11.7.16 Reply
  4. Niki wrote:

    Daaaaayum. I mean, seriously. This is incredible.

    Posted 10.30.16 Reply
  5. Nicole Gallo wrote:

    I’m in shock at this amazing reveal. I came from AT to hopefully see more of your dorm and I’m blown away. The space you’ve created is gorgeous, but it’s simply unbelievably mind-blowing when you find out it’s a dorm. Brava and well done

    Posted 10.9.16 Reply
  6. ClaraT wrote:

    Gorgeous: cool but cozy, styled but personal. My favorite details are the bull and butterfly prints. The remind me of the Story of Ferdinand, one of the sweetest children’s stories ever.

    Posted 10.9.16 Reply
  7. Charita Cosen wrote:

    I have never seen a dorm space that looked like this! It’s amazing! You have a great eye and I’m glad I discovered your blog. I love the removable wallpaper for the desk area and my hairier detail is the Lucite trunk bring used as a side table. Amazing and looking for a couple of those myself as I type. Lol

    Posted 10.9.16 Reply
  8. Starry Night wrote:

    My jaw is on the floor.

    Posted 10.8.16 Reply
  9. Kathleen Conery wrote:

    You did an excellent job of making a standard issue dorm room look anything but standard. I am particularly impressed by the use of removable wallpaper on the desk and dresser. Dorm furniture is usually recognizable from miles away, but you’ve changed its character… and in such a way that it can be returned to its former blah nature when you leave it behind.

    Posted 10.8.16 Reply
  10. Liberty wrote:

    What an amazing dorm room!

    Posted 10.3.16 Reply
  11. Steve McKenzie wrote:

    I knew it would be great! Looks like a great nest for year 1. Best wishes for a successful year!

    Posted 9.29.16 Reply
  12. Brandy wrote:

    This space is incredible, gorgeous job. You’d never know this was a standard dorm room!

    Posted 9.28.16 Reply