Decorating Your College Dorm Room: Ropes & Roses

Dorm rooms all look the same. Same furniture, same blank walls, same lighting. Moreover, small spaces and strict rules make some dorm rooms appear seemingly impossible to decorate. Yet, just three objects (four if you count a hammer!) are all you need to break up the unoriginality of a white wall and add interesting décor to your college living space. Be sure to check out the pictures- they’re the best type of explanation!

Ropes and Roses on a Dorm Wall
Ropes and Roses in my dorm room


This decorating idea is one I got from the boutique-style shop Anthropologie. Anthropologie décor is noted for its uniqueness, simplicity, and use of everyday objects, which makes it a perfect stop for dorm room decorating inspiration. For this project, all you will need is thin rope, strips of different colored cloth in lengths ranging from 12-36 inches, ¼ inch nails, and a hammer.

Before you start, you’re going to want to look at the space of wall you’re planning on decorating and imagine the design you want to use. This specific decoration type works well if you go from corner to corner, utilizing loops and broad sweeps. You can also break up the rope, creating pieces that branch off from other parts. But, really, you can get creative and do whatever you want!

ropes and roses
Rope design

So, once you have an idea of what you want to do (you can even lightly sketch on the wall with pencil if you want), begin by hammering down one end of the rope with a ¼ inch nail. This type of nail works well because it does not leave a hole much bigger than a thumbtack would leave. Next, work your way through your design by continuing to nail down parts of the rope.

ropes and roses
Ropes and roses on a smaller wall

After the base of rope is complete, go back through and decide where you want your “roses” to blossom from. You create a rose by rolling the fabric in a spiral, like the kind of spiral a snail’s shell makes. To nail it onto the wall, you tuck the loose end of the spiral back under, and put a nail in the middle to hold it in place. You can utilize your roses in singles, or use clusters of two or three. I like to put them at the end of the rope or in long places that need a bit of color.

Ropes and Roses
Ropes and roses with fabric behind

If you really want to make your wall pop, you can nail fabric behind the ropes and roses. Fabric is a great alternative to paint, as all you have to do is take the nails out and voila! your wall is bare again. Just be sure to check with your dorm rules to make sure that there aren’t any provisions against having certain materials on your wall.

You have to live in your dorm all school year, so why not make the best of it?  Good luck!

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