For many college students, it has been a year of navigating non-stop changes and learning how to learn at home with family members around. Now finally, they can slowly and safely head back on to their university campuses. And for many students, that also means returning to college dorm life, where they’ll be sharing rooms with friends and classmates.

As much as dorm living is a rite of passage, so is decorating a dorm room. It’s about finding a dorm room layout that works for everyone in a small space. While most dorms come with the usual suspects of college furnishings (desk, twin XL bed, dresser, and a bookcase or dresser), there are endless ways to personalize and arrange the space so that it’s comfy to live, relax, study, and sleep in.

For some inspiration and guidance, in this special edition of our Layout Guides series, we’re breaking down the best dorm room layout ideas that do it all while making the most of a compact shared space with roommates. Read on to get our tips for designing a stylish and functional college dorm room for one, two, and three people.

Can’t decide on your dorm room furniture? Check out our roundup of dorm room decor ideas. Also see our studio apartment layout ideas for the best small-space tricks, along with our design tips for small apartments for more inspiration.

Single Dorm Room Layouts

If you manage to score a dorm room all to yourself, lucky you! While it’s all yours, these rooms are usually smaller so it’s just as important to maximize the space. Here are two layouts ideas to do just that!

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Single Layout #1: Classic Dorm Room For One

This typical college dorm room layout divides the space into two optimized sides: One with the bed and the other with a desk and dresser for function. It’s a setup that allows for maximum floor space while still leaving room for underbed storage and a nightstand that provides extra room for essentials.

arieal veiw of a dorm room layout

The Key Decor Elements

  • Storage boxes and lidded containers that can be neatly stowed away underbed is essential since you can’t hang or add any additional bookshelves.
  • A fuzzy rug is great for bringing in a touch of color, texture, and comfort. It will also help unify the separate sleep and work areas.
  • Draperies are often overlooked in college dorms, so hang some up yourself to add privacy and control the amount of daylight you get in the space—especially after those all-nighters!
  • For a single dorm room, personal touches, like plants and artwork you love, can make it feel more like your own studio apartment.

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Single Layout #2: A Live-Work Dorm Room for One

For a college dorm room with a slightly more grown-up feel, consider this layout, which has double the floor space and incorporates a small living corner. The lofted bed opens up the space in two ways: It allows for a desk and “study zone” to be created underneath the bed; and it frees up the rest of the room, making it possible to add a small seating area.

The Key Decor Elements

  • A lofted bed definitely has its pros and cons, but in a dorm room, it’s definitely worth the climb into bed every night if it means more overall space. Place it in a corner (versus floating it) to make your sleep space feel cozier up top.
  • Consider a sleeper loveseat instead of a sofa. It will come in handy when friends from study groups need to sleep over during midterms and finals.
  • Round out your seating area with moveable pieces: A small pouf, floor cushions, and a low table. They’ll complete the corner as a place for relaxing, studying, and hanging out.
  • Decorate your walls with art, garlands, and other hanging decor that reflect your personal style.

Double Dorm Room Layouts

These are the most common dorm room configurations. A dorm room for two people means double the furniture with almost the same space as a single room. Depending on how you and your roomy plan to use the space, here are some stylish and practical layouts to choose from.

double dorm room layout suggestion

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Double Layout #1: A Symmetrical Dorm Room Setup

The most popular (and practical) layout, this is the standard university dorm room for two people. It’s the perfect layout for dividing a space up evenly, so both roommates have their own sleep and work areas.

The Key Decor Elements

  • A patterned rug that extends across both beds not only adds comfort but it also helps define the sleep zone from the rest of the room.
  • Layering in luxurious accents, like a pouf and a cowhide rug can help make the space feel less like a college dorm room and more like a studio apartment.
  • Make existing furniture do double-duty, such as using a dresser for a shared nightstand between the beds and footing the beds with the desks to maximize space.
  • From paintings to colorful pillows, balance out the cookie-cutter college dorm room setup with small personal touches from each roommate to make it feel more homey.

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Double Layout #2: A Zoned Dorm Room For Two

For a more focused dorm room setup for two, try this layout that sections off each side of the room for a purpose. A bunk bed along one wall delineates the sleep zone, desks against the window serve as the study and work area, and the dressers lining another wall function as both storage and a display area. The result is a room with good flow that also still has lots of space.

birds eye layout of single bed drom room

The Key Decor Elements

  • If provided the option by your college, a bunk bed can be a great space-saver that lets you and the roomie add a lounge corner dressing area, or a bookcase.A floor mirror can change the look in a dorm room instantly and give you a changing zone. Choose one with an eye-catching frame or design to offset the dormitory furniture.
  • Two dressers placed side-by-side makes for practical clothing storage while also providing a wide surface that’s perfect for all those college textbooks or setting up a TV.
  • An easy way to set apart each roomie’s space is to bring in distinctive pieces to your respective spaces, like different table lamps that reflect their respective styles.

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Double Layout #3: A Study-Optimized Shared Space

This approach is similar to the typical college dorm room layout for two, except this has lofted beds that provide more floor space. Now each roommate has a dedicated study nook under their beds, which they can use for storage or lounging—it’s up to them! This layout also makes the most use of every wall and corner, and every piece of furniture fits neatly into a spot while serving a function.

The Key Decor Elements

  • The lofted beds are arranged to face opposite directions, which helps to differentiate the two sides of the room. This setup brings a bit of visual interest to the layout.
  • A rattan hanging chair can make for a statement piece that introduces a new focus to the standard dorm room setup and it will also help even out all the wood furniture.
  • A pair of poufs and two layered rugs offer both visual balance and added comfort to both sides of the room. They ground the room and draw the eye to the center.
  • The nearly facing dressers at the end of the beds lets each roommate have their own storage area that can also double as a changing corner with two floor mirrors.

 

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three beds in a dorm room layout

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Triple Dorm Room Layouts

For most university dorm arrangements, three is usually the max number of people in one room. It’s also the tightest use of space, so you have to really be considerate with your layout and furniture arrangements. Here are three layouts to help you set-up a three-person dorm room!

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Triple Dorm Layout #1: A Highly Personalized Setup

For the most space-saving approach, this lofted bed approach gives everyone their own study, storage, and sleep space. The lofted beds are placed in three corners of the room, freeing up the entire room for use. Here, the open space is turned into a seating area for everyone—or you float the sofa and set up a TV against the wall for a full entertainment area.

double bed dorm room layout aerial view

dorm room storage

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The Key Decor Elements

  • With all the open floor space, there’s plenty of room to add in an extra storage cabinet or armoire where the sofa is to hold college sports equipment, laundry detergent for all, and other living supplies.
  • There’s lots of room between beds, which is perfect for adding a bookcase or, in this case, a cabinet with a coffee bar that makes for a mini kitchen counter.
  • The common area helps define the entire room, with the rug, futon sofa, and poufs being the central focus. This makes for an easy flow both visually and physically.

Triple Dorm Layout #2: A Sectioned Sleep-Work Space

This dorm room layout is all about smart division of space. The bunk bed functions as a room divider that also separates different desks and study areas. Similarly the single bed is separated from the entrance by the desk being used as a divider. This configuration also allows for the common seating area to get tucked away into a corner for a cozy hangout spot.

Dorm room layout suggestions

The Key Decor Elements 

  • The mix of a single bed and a bunk bed means it’s actually trickier to make the space work. Using them as anchors along walls and as room dividers is the best way to make the most of these functional pieces in a room for three.
  • Make each dresser surface work, as a catchall, as a display area, and even as a coffee bar. It will make their freestanding arrangement feel less random and more purposeful.
  • With the space divided up into many zones, each area offers more privacy for each person, even the common area, where the futon can easily flip into a bed for friends!

three beds in a dorm room layout

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Triple Dorm Layout #3: A Free-Flow Arrangement

This one breaks out of the standard college dorm room the most. With a layout that feels more aesthetically and spatially balanced, this configuration has a more open concept living space vibe to it. Still, it does factor in all the college needs, with a stylish work area, a tucked away seating corner, and smartly positioned beds for comfortable TV watching.


The Key Decor Elements

  • The double desks flanking a dresser with the coffee bar is an efficient use of wall space that also creates a productive and functional office area.
  • With two lofted beds, a tall floor lamp, large painting, and other wall decor will help even out the focus of the room, drawing the eye up. It also balances out the height of the TV on top of a tall dresser.
  • More like the living room in a home shared by three good friends, the shared use of all the furniture, from the dressers to the desks, and the sofa, makes this a great layout for best friends or people who want to invest in a slightly more grown-up dorm room setup.

Find more inspiration with our Teen Bedroom Design Ideas!

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