How to Make Your Dorm Room Feel More Like Home

Don’t let the downsides of dorm life get in the way of making a comfortable and inviting living space!

The first year in a dorm can be overwhelming—leaving the comfort of your childhood bedroom and home-cooked meals for a shared 12x12 dorm room with office carpeting and your roommate’s dirty laundry can be...a lot. Sure, you can have friends over until the wee hours of the morning or eat ice cream for breakfast, but your interior design doesn’t have to reflect that! Far too often, homesickness is simply a result of being too distracted by a new environment to take the time to personalize your space.

Here are some tips to make your dorm room feel more like home!

Bring a Little Piece With You

Your first inclination may be to get rid of absolutely everything from your old room. While downsizing is very important, try to bring along items that “spark joy.” For example, a childhood comforter or a poster that you’ve had forever. These touches, along with polaroids on the wall or other recognizable decorations, can add a needed level of personalization during those long nights studying.

Let the Light In

Lighting is key no matter where you are living. If you are lucky enough to have windows in the dorm, try to emphasize natural light more than unnatural. Overhead dorm room lighting is normally pretty bleak, so make sure to utilize soft lighting and lamps as often as possible.

String lights are a dorm room staple, and there are a variety of unique and interesting alternatives to the classic Christmas-y vibe. This is a great way to add some brightness without making the space so sterile.

Beauty Sleep

Other than the desk, the bed is kind of the main event when it comes to dorm living. This is where you will spend most of your time, whether it be sleeping in on the weekend or binging Netflix at night. Comfy accouterments are key—linen sheets, fluffy pillows, the works.

Another pro tip: invest in a memory foam mattress topper! Since the provided mattresses can be hospital bed-like, this little addition can make a whole world of difference.

Working Hard or Hardly Working

Though most freshmen forget amongst all the fun (as they should), college is actually school. Having a productive and creative workspace outside of the library or coffee shop can be the difference between a B- and an A.

Make your desk space the desired destination with a next-level desk chair, organized tech system and fun corkboard. By carving out a specific space for studying, the rest of the dorm room is able to flourish.

If These Walls Could Talk

Nostalgic polaroids of neighborhood friends or childhood pets on the wall can tell a whole story, while also looking hip and intimate. Try to avoid the stereotypical dorm room posters or tapestries as they can give the space an immature vibe. Instead, framed prints or decals allow the wall to pop without being too loud. Also, mirrors can work magic in regards to opening up space and optimizing unused walls.

College is a Jungle

Plants have an uncanny ability to make even the most depressing space a little more lifelike. While potted palms or cacti are great, you can also get a little creative with it and add hanging pots or terrariums. If you are worried about sunlight, some plants that do great indoors are Rubber Plants, Yucca, English Ivy and Pothos Plants.

Have Fun

This is arguably the most important of all the tips—don’t take it too seriously! The beauty of college is that you are free to make mistakes. Make bold choices, learn what you like and what you don’t, and enjoy your time in the dorms—because before you know it, you’ll be 40 with kids!