DIY Dorm Room Decor Ideas

DIY dorm room decor ideas are on the project list for the pretty on a penny back to campus crowd.


Back to campus condos, townhouses, apartments, and sorority house rooms and the furniture pieces that fill them need decor love too, and decor and diy design class is in session.


Dorm decor is a study in ever evolving styles and tastes. Gone are the dorm days of cinder block bookcases and anything will do furnishings. Thank goodness the old school school of thought has taken a page from the book of back to campus diy dorm room decor ideas.


A simple diy dorm room decor ideas equation guaranteed to result in a positive result goes like this:

Updates + Embellishments = Wow Factor


white-deskZinc Door 

Paint covers a multitude of mistakes, yesteryear funk and gunk, and pure ugly.  I love the look of the desk in the image above, but the price may induce sticker shock.  Same goes for nightstands and chests.  What is a pretty on a penny dorm room decorista to do?


Appliques and decorative hardware go a long way in the fight against bland, and a can of gold spray paint or brass caster cups will color your world and furniture legs.

DIY-furniture-embellishmentsWhat You’ll Need:

  • screwdriver
  • decorative hardware
  • tape measure or ruler
  • rosette appliques- see directions below.
  • adhesive caulk
  • gold spray paint
  • brass caster cup

It is highly recommended that you paint/finish our appliques before you install them. Once installed, you can apply any necessary touch‐up paint/finish.
Clean installation surface and back of appliques of all dirt and dust with a clean cloth or sponge.
Make sure that the surface and the back of the applique are completely dry before attempting installation.
Measure and mark the location where the applique is going to be installed.

Lay the applique face down on a soft surface that will
not scratch/dent the applique detail.

Apply a 1/2″ bead of adhesive caulk all the way around  the back edge of the applique.  When pressing the applique up against the surface, some adhesive caulk will seep out.

Smooth excess caulk around the applique with a finger or the putty
knife and apply extra caulk that is needed to fill in any

Wipe off any excess adhesive caulk with a sponge or damp rag.

vintage-office-chairA vintage office chair found at your favorite thrift shop, yard sale or curbside boutique is a prime diy project piece ready to dazzle.  Chic up the style by adding a faux fur seat cushion.


Faux Fur Seat Cushion

For the diy dorm room decorista, a diy chair cushion made of faux fur fabric in choice of color is another way to go.


Purchase an inexpensive chair pad and get to covering!

What You’ll Need:

  • chair cushion
  • scissors
  • faux fur fabric
  • permanent fabric adhesive

Using a tape measure, measure the length of the chair pad from top to bottom from each bottom edge. I sourced a chair cushion from Pier 1 Imports (on sale $9.98) that measures 20″W x 20″D.  Add 2-4 additional inches to the measurements allowing for the fold.  Most of the faux fur fabrics available at run 54-58 inches wide.  Cut fabric to size.

My upholstering formula is not rocket science.  Place the fabric fur side down on a flat surface. Place the chair cushion on fabric.  Working with one-side-at-a-time, apply a line of fabric glue along the edge.  Gently fold the fabric up over side of chair cushion to desired tightness.  Fold corner (like wrapping a present) and continue with the one-side-at-a-time glue and fold technique.  Trim excess fabric from sides and corners and voilà!


Take your desk chair transformation a diy step further with a can of spray paint.


Decorative details take an inexpensive nightstand to luxe heights.  A marble contact paper diy project turns a plain piece of inexpensive furniture into a too cool for school marble top beauty.

DIY marble

Factory primed and ready for paint or faux finish molding rosettes make super chic decorative drawer front accents.  Lining the drawers with fabric or wallpaper lends a designer look.  Replace standard issue hardware with designer knobs and pulls and all that’s left to do is marvel at your marble top masterpiece.


Mad in Crafts shows us how to get our fabulous diy inspired talent on with thumbtacks and paint.  Knock off?  Knock your socks off chic, dorm decoristas!  Get the designer inspired details here.


Alexis over at Persia Lou creates this diy Marble Paper Filing Cabinet. Talk about style files!  See her tutorial here.


Unfinished forms and letters are primed and ready for embellishing.  Faux flowers, stencils, glitter, glitter paper, rhinestones, feathers, decorative paper- personalize it to reflect your taste.


Peel and stick vinyl gold foil dots mirror the designer dot craze currently trending.  Decorative print or glitter paper bring the dorm room decor chic.  No longer available from West Elm doesn’t deter the diy dorm room decor ideas decorista.  A styrofoam wreath and a hot glue gun takes diy wall decor as far and as fabulous as the inspired imagination goes. Iridescent coque feathers in fashion colors pops the diy wreath project.


Dorm room decorating days are here again.  Take a course in smart, savvy and stylish back to campus diy.

Love your style!




Bargains,Thrifting Finds And Imperfections

A good bargain, the perfect find, and a successful Goodwill run is the lagniappe of my day, and I like lagniappe.

Thrifting, flea market, or auction finds aren’t usually free, but if the find is really good or exactly what you’ve been looking for it’s both a gift and a bonus! When we walked into Goodwill I didn’t know I was looking for a triple switch plate cover, but evidently I was. A bargain archaeologist I am not. I do not like to dig through, over, or under anything looking for something- that’s Dave the Builder’s role.

The switch plate cover was sitting between two other items- a decorative box and some item I can’t recall. The first item Dave picked up was the box. He opened it up and loudly proclaimed, “there’s a hundred dollar bill in here!”  Now I’ve known this man and his brand of humor for 35 years however, the two gentlemen standing next to us have not. Bless their hearts, they almost broke their necks looking to see if in fact a Ben Franklin was up for grabs. By the way, Dave’s comedy routine at our local Goodwill got a huge laugh.

Back to the switch plate. I consulted with Dave to get his mechanical and electrical opinion. With a thumbs up things started to get interesting. I noticed a piece of the bottom banner was chipped off.  I reasoned if I could not live with it I would simply chip off the intact piece on the other side. The persuasive pot was sweetened when I realized  the store was having a special sticker something or other additional 40% off sale bringing the total price to $2.17.  Ring- it- up, baby!

The breakfast area toggle light switch situation was updated to the new and so very improved rocker style.

I darkened the plate with a thin coat of Americana acrylic paint in raw umber. What areas a foam brush can’t get to and the initial coat won’t cover a Q-tip dipped in paint will.

The color deepens the details and camouflages the imperfection. I’m debating leaving the switch plate in its present form. Would performing decorative surgery by removing the detail on the left side in order to smooth out the imperfect edges make such a huge difference to the finished look, or would it not move the needle enough to matter?

As odd as it sounds, the story is found in the imperfection. That’s the wonderful thing about certain items and objects we use in our decor. The story, the memories, and the tales of the hunt that go along with the bargains, thrifting finds and imperfections is often what is so appealing.

Love your style!


DIY Dining Room Chair Redo Considerations

DIY time is coming around again at Places In The Home.  DIY time is born out of I know exactly what piece, accessory or accent I want, but can’t find it necessity.  The following custom detail must have requirements apply as well to the diy dining room chair redo considerations checklist:

1. A supreme case of sticker shock aka having a there is no way  I’m paying that moment.

2. The piece would be perfect if only the finish was________  and the upholstery was________.

3. Not one nailhead in sight.

4. Dave the Builder’s mad building, refinishing and reupholstering skills.

Patience is the virtue of a determined interior designer and or do-it-yourself aficionado.  I try not to allow decorative compromise into my vocabulary.  Here at Chez Places In The Home the mantra remains have ideas, will repurpose redo-renovate-reupholster or re anything.  We like to “re” things.


This picture is about three years old, and the only one I can quickly locate showing the first of two sets of six dining chairs I have in my diy sights. The upholstered chairs around the oak dining table are one of Dave the Builder’s “you need to get these” fueled purchases.  On a antiques buying trip and between antiques shop and antiques auction shopping. Wait. Let me explain. Between antiques shop and antiques auction shopping is the time in our treasure hunting day before the antiques auction begins when we scope out antiques shops for shop ready to go pieces.  Time is money, and in many cases it’s a better deal for us to purchase shop ready to go pieces from fellow dealers.  Repair , refinishing and reupholstering costs can negate the deal you think you’ve gotten on a piece purchased at auction.

The Walnut set is Circa early 1900’s.  Each chair has decorative marquetry inlay with  mother of pearl below the arch.  I’ve lost count of how many times I have pulled them from inventory to use at home and added them back to the shop inventory.  Currently they are pulled and first in line for “re” consideration.


The second set of dining chairs under consideration presently reside in Dave’s man cave.  As you can see in the above image, this particular chair will require a fair amount of diy tender loving care.  Our dear friend and fellow antique dealer purchased a container of English antiques over ten years ago.  She hit the dining room chair mother load with this container- hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of dining chairs in the container. Dave the Builder swung by the shop to pick up a delivery and our friend asked him if he wanted a set of the chairs.  Yes!  Dave brought the chairs home and asked me the famous question, “do you think we can do anything with them?”  We can sure try!  Take it away, Annie Sloan chalk paint.

This product is the miracle worker.  Watch this video to meet Annie, her team, and see the product at her shop in Oxford, England.

I am still debating what color to go with. The options are beautiful and I do want to try and capture a French influence.   French Linen, Country Grey, Louis Blue or Paris Grey will be the most effective in doing so.  A half and half “recipe” may produce the desired color I have in mind for the chairs.  The colors mix well together to fine tune and produce the color which is best for your project.

This is what I have planned for the chairs. First and foremost, we will be de-Englishing the heck of these babies.  It will require removal of the ornamental “fan” wood pieces below the seat.

Some of the stretchers are missing, and in order to keep the integrity of the look we will have to replace all the stretchers.  On second thought, I may not even use stretchers on the redo.  Dave can remove the stretchers and if need smooth over the area with filler.  Did you notice the water damage on the front legs?  Fine sand paper and a KILZ stain blocker will fix that right up.  Although not always a necessary step, it makes me feel more secure to go ahead and do it in order to eliminate any bleed through.

What do we have here?  Nailheads make me happy (even the missing ones)!  I’ll soon share images to help show the general idea of where I’m going with this project.

Love your style!



The King Has Left The Building And All I Got Was This Walnut Table

This one comes from our bartering files.  We have a business friend who is one of our favorite sources for architectural and whimsical finds.  She had gone to a festival in New Orleans, and in her buying rounds found an oil painting of a Mardi Gras King, plucked it up, and brought it back to her shop to sell.  It caught my eye the minute I walked in her shop.  I kept going back to it,  knowing deep down it was coming home with me.   As I was paying for our other treasures I scooped it up and told her I had to have it.  I put it at Hopefully Classic, where it got rave reviews.


I have one very blurred picture of the King that shall remain unposted. The overhead fluorescent lighting/ white walls motif  throughout the entire mall makes it virtually impossible to produce pleasing photos. Please see the proof of it in the image below.  I will post a picture of one funny and revered Mardi Gras King, Mr. Will Ferrell.


In the King’s debut week one of our regular customers fell in love with the painting.  He approached me about a trade, and I channeled my inner Renee Zellweger & Dr. Frasier Crane–  he had me at trade, and yes, I was listening!   We both agreed to the terms of the trade and he did the Mardi Gras Mambo.  Keep the customers happy and the word of mouth positive! My part of the trade resulted in a Walnut wall table.  It continued to grow on me, and I decided it would be better off finding its new home at my new home.

I get the thing home and it sits for a few months.  The next phase of creativity presented two questions.  The where to hang it one was a no brainer.  Now the do we try to improve it one I had to ponder.  Being no strangers to DIY projects of course we will try to improve it!  When our son was four years old he fell in love with the painting Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh.  We jumped at the chance to purchase a copy for him.  While walking past the painting one afternoon inspiration struck.  Dave was in total agreement with the plan.


Out comes the Annie Sloan chalk paint and the Rust-Oleum tintable chalkboard paint.  When the creative process beckons patience is nowhere to be found. Let’s just say you use what is available.   Dave primed it for me with KILZ interior oil primer from Lowe’s.  I painted the entire table with Rust-Oleum tintable chalkboard paint in Periwinkle and allowed it to completely dry.

**Important note**

I asked the paint associate to cut the formula by fifty percent (50%) and increase the black tint by fifty percent (50%).   The next step was to paint over the apron and legs with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White. I followed up with a light second coat of ASCP Old White for good measure.   Wonderful stuff!  I hit the  high notes on the apron and legs with fine sandpaper until I reached distressed goodness. Dave took over the final stage of applying Johnson Paste Wax.  It’s a pairing I would not have originally thought of.  I am so pleased the colors in the painting complement the color choices we went with for the wall table. Label this one an accidental selection, but a surprisingly perfect fit in execution. The table really serves no purpose at this time, but our son’s passport and car keys have a home waiting for them on his next visit home.

Love your style!