Written By: Kat Walls / Photos By: Ashlyen Fisher
College is sometimes first time that young adults leave home. Whether college is just minutes away in the car or hours away on a plane, being away from home for the first time can be scary, but also exciting. There are ways to make the transition easier, though– Like decorating your dorm room! Your dorm is your new home away from home. It’s where you’ll do homework, play video games, or watch Netflix. Or maybe your dorm is just where you go to sleep and change your clothes. Either way, here are nine tips and ideas for making your dorm room feel more like a home away from home—that won’t necessarily break the bank.
Tip #1: Your Furniture.
How you arrange your furniture makes a huge difference in the flow of the room. We all have a bed and a desk, but some rooms have varying closets or dressers. If your room is on the smaller side, bunking your beds might make more space. Another way you can save space is by using various bed risers (PVC loft systems work well in Wesley!) and putting your dresser or desk under your bed. It saves a lot of space, which usually is in short supply in a dorm.
Tip #2: Get a Rug.
If your dorm room has carpet already, maybe skip this one. But most of the dorms have tile flooring, which makes it much easier to clean. But tile’s not very nice to step on first thing in the morning. A rug adds color to the room and makes it feel warmer overall. And, if you get a small one, you can throw it in the wash with the rest of your laundry when it gets dirty.
Tip #3: Wall Tapestries.
Wall tapestries are great because they usually aren’t very expensive, and they cover a lot of space on your wall. Just remember that darker colors make rooms feel smaller, and lighter colors make rooms feel bigger. Keep this in mind when picking one out. If tapestries aren’t your thing, maybe go for your state flag. If you’re like me and live far from home, it’s a nice way to have a piece of home with you.
Tip #4: Mirrors.
Strategically placed mirrors can reflect light and make your room look bigger. Be careful on how you choose to hang them, however. If they break, it would be a pain to clean up (and even though we aren’t superstitious, we need all the luck we can get in college).
Tip #5: Wax Melters.
As you know, candles are not allowed in the dorms. However, wax melters are. You can pick one up at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, or other such places, and get various wax scents to make your room smell like a home and less like a dorm. This also is a cheap way to get into a holiday spirit—can anyone say pumpkin spice and apple pie? Just make sure to turn it off when you aren’t in the room!
Tip #6: Christmas lights.
Using various lights will change the entire feel to your room. Often the overhead lights are harsh and too bright to use at night when you’re trying to relax. You can also wrap them around your lofted beds to add some light by your desks.
Tip #7: Appliances.
A lot of people will have a mini fridge or microwave in their room, but we often forget about my favorite appliance- a Keurig. If you are like me and drink a lot of coffee but can’t afford to buy coffee from Doc’s every day, a Keurig is great! You can make your own coffee just how you want it, and while it’s more expensive up front, in the long run it’s cheaper. Keurig also offers pods for hot chocolate, and if you are more of a tea person, boiling the water in your Keurig and then steeping your tea is the way to go.
Tip #8: Get a Little Fish!
This one isn’t a tip, so much as it is just something fun you can do, approved in the handbook as of this year! Fish are super colorful and are can be fun to watch while you procrastinate on your homework. Just remember to bring your little friend home with you on breaks—nothing like that lovely dead fish aroma on top of dirty gym socks. I doubt the wax melter will be able to overpower that smell.
Tip #9: Command Hooks.
This one is super important. When you hang things on your wall, it is important to use Command strips or hooks and not push pins or nails. You don’t want to damage your wall– it’s not as nice for the next person, and you’ll get charged for it. Instead, use Command hooks. (This is not a promo, I promise.) The Command brand makes a lot of various products that you can use to hang pictures, or hooks you can use to hang coats, lights, or curtains. A tip for hanging tapestries: put command strips on the back of clothespins and clip your tapestry up. It keeps the wall and your tapestry nice. When you remove the strips or hooks, make sure to follow the directions very carefully. If you pull them off at an angle or too fast, it can peel the paint off the wall.
Now go forth and decorate!