5 online small businesses to check out for dorm room decor
Online shops like Friends NYC and Blu Monaco carry fun and interesting pieces to add flavor to your dorm room decor. (Illustration by Yana Ramos Cutrim, George Fox University)

5 Online Small Businesses To Check Out for Aesthetic Dorm Room Decor

With the upcoming school year approaching quickly, now’s the perfect time to start shopping for fun decorations to spice up your personal space!

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5 online small businesses to check out for dorm room decor

With the upcoming school year approaching quickly, now’s the perfect time to start shopping for fun decorations to spice up your personal space!

As summer break comes to an end, you may be wondering how you’ll transform your dorm room into a space that’s completely yours. Instead of handing over your hard-earned money to large corporations for mass-produced products, consider choosing items made with care. For such pieces, here are five small businesses to shop at for decor fit for every aesthetic, style and vibe.

1. Friends NYC

Friends NYC, a self-proclaimed “world of friends,” is an indie department store in the heart of — you guessed it — New York City. For those unable to visit its brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn, Friends NYC also offers an online shop with an abundance of products. The online store features items like trinket trays, decorative planters, vases, scented pillows and vintage pieces.

The shop also carries candles, incense sticks and burners, but check your school’s fire safety guidelines before making a purchase.

Friends NYC also has a separate Crystal Shoppe with dozens of crystal sets, all with distinct cuts, colors and benefits.

Dorm rooms are notorious for being quite small, so you’ll need lots of storage items to stay organized. For this, Friends NYC offers dozens of crates and baskets, both plastic and woven, in several colors and designs. To put your jewelry on display, consider selecting a decorative tray or ceramic dish from the store. Choose a fun accent rug to liven up your floor space, or invest in a salt lamp to lighten up your room.

If you plan on raising a plant, browse their selection of watering cans, vases and planters for a piece that’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Add a magnet to spice up your mini fridge, or a cute bank on your desk to save up some cash. Additionally, the shop’s intricate paperweights and storage jars are a cool and useful addition to any college student’s desk!

2. Kailo Chic

Kailo Chic is the perfect stop for the color-inclined college student. The online store includes an art print section with dozens of designs to style your drab dorm room walls at a super affordable price: $5!

The shop also offers tons of decorative pillow options to fit in with any theme you choose for your space. They come in plenty of designs, from black and white to animal prints, floral patterns and even geometric shapes. So whichever look you choose for your dorm, a Kailo Chic pillow will fit right in.

To cheer up your desk for when you pull those all-nighters, the shop also sells desk sets in five different colors. Each set includes a desk tray with multiple compartments, a tape dispenser, a stapler and a pen cup. The best part: Tape, staples and pens are all included! Consider purchasing one if you’d like to keep your desk both organized and aesthetically attractive.

The store also sells vases and planters, so if the Friends NYC pieces don’t fit your style, the Kailo Chic ones might!

3. Studio Luu

Studio Luu is fitting for students who like to fill their space with quirky, unique pieces. The shop offers vases in multiple mediums, such as ceramic, glass and acrylic, all of which share intricate and distinct looks. These don’t necessarily have to hold flowers, although they are watertight. They’re also perfect for storing supplies like pens, rulers, thumbtacks, markers, paperclips and more.

Studio Luu also sells candles that look almost exactly like real food and fruit, so they make for cool decorations even if you aren’t allowed to burn them.

However, the most intriguing thing about Studio Luu is its handmade mats and tapestries. These are perfect for complementing any personality, with designs ranging from cute sleepy animals to smiley face eggs and daily affirmations. These soft, carefully crafted pieces are great for decorating your dorm room and adding another element of comfort to an otherwise cold and plain space.

4. Blu Monaco

Blu Monaco is the one-stop-shop for desk organization and decor. The online store offers desk organizer sets in a rainbow of colors and various styles, allowing for a cohesive look to your workspace and pushing you to keep grinding without losing your motivation. All organizers are made of metal or wire, meaning that they will be sturdy and long-lasting. The designs enable you to see into the drawers and pen cups without opening them or dumping them out, so you can grab what you need more efficiently. The sets are also available as separate pieces or as interlocking sets, making them perfect for any amount of desk space.

Blu Monaco also sells mail organizers and magazine holders in many designs, which are great for arranging books and papers. The store carries file folders and stackable paper trays, which allow you to separate your assignments by class and access them easily. Blu Monaco even has clipboards for days when you’d rather work from your bed, rather than at your desk.

5. Saltbox Sash

Last but certainly not least, Saltbox Sash is all about fair trade home decor at affordable prices. On their website, you’ll find decor items from all over the world, supporting artisans in over 25 different countries. Under their home accents page, you’ll find gorgeous handmade pieces, including bookends, clocks, woven tapestries and pillow covers. Many of these items are intricate woodworks, including trinket trays, eyeglass holders and stash boxes.

What makes Saltbox Sash unique is its beautiful handmade sculptures — a flattering addition to any space. The site also offers a handful of culturally authentic and delicately crafted baskets, great for storage in your dorm room.

To personalize your walls, browse their wall decor, which includes woven plates, hanging planters, macrame art and more. College can get lonely at times, so choose one of their picture frames to keep your loved ones close by.

With a new semester nearly here, you may be feeling nervous about starting new classes with different professors and classmates. Perhaps you’re worried about navigating your campus or making new friends, or maybe you’ll miss your family and friends back home. Use this opportunity to distract yourself from these worries and instead explore these five sites for gorgeous room decor that’s full of personality. Not only are you supporting small business owners, but you’re also creating a space that’s entirely your own.

Writer Profile

Salma Heram

George Washington University
Biology, minor in Korean and Public Health

Salma is a sophomore at the George Washington University and lives in Richmond, Virginia. When not juggling her college course load, she loves photography, writing, exploring different cultures and trying new foods.

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