Dorm Sweet Dorm: seven tips to make your dorm room more like home

Posted by Julia Adams on 2/22/23 3:41 PM

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One of the challenges for incoming college students is being away from home for the first time for any considerable length of time. While your dorm room will never be “home,” of course, you can make some changes to help improve it. If you do not know where to start, we have seven tips for you!

1. Bring photos of family, friends, pets, and favorite places.   

Just having visual reminders of those you love in your room will help you not only deal with homesickness but make it feel homier. Put them in a place you will see them often, perhaps beside your desk or bed.

Pro tip: If your school allows, let your parents and siblings come into the room and help you move in. When your loved ones are in the room at least once, you will not only create fun memories, but also specific family memories in your dorm room.

2. Bring in lamps and/or fairy lights. 

Sometimes the main light in the room can be an LED or some form of cool light. To help brighten up the room, use warm lights. If you have a way to hang light strands around the perimeter of the ceiling, you can keep the overhead light off (if you do not need it to read, of course).

Pro tip: Bringing in a floor lamp will give you the most flexibility in placement. It is also easily moved around to where you want to study. Additionally, put at least one lamp on a timer so it will come on when it gets dark. When you come in after classes or dinner, your room will be lit up – a very welcoming sight!

3. Bring rugs and pillows.

While some dorm rooms have carpeted floor and others do not, rugs will make the room feel more balanced. Find something that is light colored, low pile, and the right size for your room. Pillows are also a must. Whether you sit on your bed to study and need something to lean against, or you want to create a cozy space on the floor to study, pillows will make the dorm room more comfortable.

Pro tip: It might be helpful to bring some sort of storage for your pillows if you do not want them on your bed or do not have a designated place to put them at night.

4. Bring a full-length mirror.

While many dorm rooms have a vanity space in the room itself, having an over-the-door, full-length mirror will enable you to check your outfit, act as a second mirror to see the back of your head, and make the room as a whole feel bigger.

Pro tip: You can also find light decorative mirrors to hang on your walls as well. They will not only act as wall décor, but they will also reflect light, making the room feel larger and homier.

5. Bring seasonal décor.

The semester covers a variety of seasons, which means you can bring in décor to match them! Making a simple change will refresh the room in ways that is often needed as you follow a repetitive schedule. Something as simple as a frame that you can put different seasonal prints in will liven up the room and provide visual stimulation (you can find amazing décor at Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, or Target!).

Pro tip: Find some décor that can work for multiple seasons such as small evergreen trees or fake flowers in a vase.

6. Fake plants are a must.

Nothing says home as much as green plants in the room. You may not have time to maintain plants—if you can, go for it!—so fake plants are better. Find ones that you enjoy looking at (perhaps even a cascading one) for your bookshelf.

Pro tip: Put the plants where you can see them the most!

7. Use a message board or cork board to display cards, notes, and pictures you acquire throughout the semester.

As you receive cards and notes from family and friends, both new and old, add them to your board. You will probably take pictures for the first day of classes and any event you go to in your new community. Print out those photos and put them on your board as well.

Pro tip: Mixing your community back home and your new one in a visual way will help you not only bridge the gap between the last stage and the new one, but it will also remind you how much you are loved and appreciated.

Your dorm room will never truly be home, but these seven tips are a good starting point! Remember, the longer you live in a space, the better ideas you’ll have of what you need. Make changes throughout the semester to make the space work for you!


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