Here's the thing about dorm rooms: School-issued furniture and style don't really go hand-in-hand. In the most basic scenarios you get a bed, some drawers, and a desk and chair. So, when you head off to school to settle in for your first semester, you're tasked with making your tiny new space work for you and making it feel like home, and that means decorating it to feel like a normal bedroom as much as you possibly can. Having a headboard—especially on a bed that is, most likely, a very simple and not-so-comfy wooden frame—is just one way to upgrade your space, but it can be a challenge to make it work since most headboards either mount to the wall (impossible with those cinderblock rooms!) or to the bed frame (you're not exactly allowed to drill into your provided dorm bed.)
These headboard ideas are totally dorm-friendly, because they either mount to the wall with adhesive strips and hooks, rest on the bed, are designed to wedge in between the bed frame and the wall, or are made specifically to mount to dorm bed frames without any hardware required. There are even a few options that aren't headboards or headboard cushions at all, but clever wall decor that gives you the illusion of having a headboard. In any case, there are plenty of styles, colors, and options to choose from.
For the ultimate in dorm-friendly headboards, go with this wall-mounted option that hangs with extra-sturdy velcro strips. Not only does it look like the real deal—and come in several different styles and colors—it also has a built-in outlet and two USB ports to conveniently charge your phone, laptop, and more.
Whether your school-issued bed features a headboard or not, this backrest pillow (which comes in 11 colors!) will add plenty of comfort and a little extra flair.
This headboard cushion gives the appearance of a regular headboard, but hangs from the wall with Command Hooks to easily comply with dorm policy (and those sad cinderblock walls.)
Layer this clever pillow behind your regular bed pillows and throws to make it look like you have a headboard without the hassle of actually hanging one on the wall or attaching it to your bed.
Make your headboard serve double duty as storage, too—this over-the-bed shelving unit allows you to stay extra organized and gives you space to show off your favorite photos and accessories.
The Emily & Merritt
If you just want the look of a headboard, this genius tapestry gives you exactly what you need in a fun, kitschy way. Just hang it behind your bed for the easiest dorm upgrade ever.
Another faux-headboard alternative: A wall decal guaranteed to trick everyone into thinking you actually have a cool headboard—at least at first glance. You can find them in tons of colors and styles to match your bedding and decor, too.
This headboard is perfect for a dorm because it simply wedges in between the wall and your bed, no mounting required. It's also designed so you can leave it simple and white, or add your own fabric over it to match your bedding and really get that custom look.
Speaking of custom, you can get a customized headboard that's specifically made for a dorm bed (it fastens securely without any hardware!) from this Etsy shop, and they offer a special for two or more headboards, if you want to coordinate with your new roommates.