I think the hardest part about College, for me at least, it trying to make your dorm room feel like home. There are cinderblock white walls, a bed that isn’t very comfortable, and the people next door have an entirely different definition of what constitutes as “good music”. It’s an adjustment to say the least. Now that I’m in my second year and I’ve just moved yet again into a new, blank dorm room after taking an RA position half way through the year, I feel like I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks to make your dorm room feel more like home.
Your bedding is your life. I’m not joking. It’s the largest feature in the room, the best setting option for when you have guests over, and one which you get your beauty sleep. So, make it comfortable. It goes without saying that you will be exhausted in college and when finals roll around, you have better hope to god you have a mattress topper that will let you sink blissfully into sleep the second you hit the sac. So put some thought into your mattress topper, your pillows, and the bedding you fall asleep on. You want your bedding to say something about you but also be functional. Here are some bedding Pro Tips:
- Do not get a white comforter. Just don’t do it. You will spend more time in your bed, on your bed, or around your bed than you ever thought possible. This includes eating and when there is eating, there are going to be messes. No matter how careful you are it’s inevitable. Eating is one thing, let alone the numerous butts that will be plopping down on your beautiful white sheets and trust me when I say, you don’t want to have to check the butt of every guest that comes through your door before they sit down. So just avoid white at all costs.
- Get bedding that you can grow with. This means don’t get the crazy patterned bedding that you are going to grow tired of by next year, but get something you can be versatile with (unless you know that you will forever and always love pink cheetah print). For instance, get a slightly more neutral toned comforter and play it up with the sheets. If you absolutely love pink cheetah, get cheetah sheets and a complementary plain colored comforter. Sheets are relatively cheap and can be changed fairly easy as your style changes.
- Accessorize. It seems pretty simple, but throw pillows and blankets are a great way to add color and personality to your bed as well as make it that cozy place you could spend all weekend in.
2. Blank Walls
The hardest part about moving away from home was the blank cinderblock walls. They are cold, and bland, and feel more like a jail than a home. So liven them up with something practical and fun. I got some hexagon shaped cork boards from target and stuck those on the wall. They are perfect for putting up little pictures, quotes, notes, and pretty much anything you could want to put hang up. Plus they are hexagons so they make the room a little bit less boxy unlike a normal rectangle bulletin board. You can get Chalkboard Removable Stickers to put on your walls too for like just $6 on Amazon which are just as cute and functional too!
3. Get organized
College is a mess and if it wasn’t for the 16 different calendars that I have, I wouldn’t know if it was Tuesday or Sunday. Use these blank walls to your advantage. I have 4 different calendars in my room splattered all over the walls which not only keep me up to date, but also hide the cinderblock. It’s a win-win! A company called Wall Pops has some great sticker decals to use. They also have whiteboard decals, quotes, and pretty much any wall sticker you could imagine. Your room will feel more like home the minute you start to use the room to reflect your life (and help you manage that life as well).
4. Let there be light
Traditionally, you get one built in light in your dorm room. One. And this single light is the worst light you could possibly imagine. It sucks. Don’t even bother putting up with it. An easy solution is to put up Christmas lights, which is what I’ve done in all of the room I’ve lived in and its magical. Not only do you get some lighting that doesn’t threaten to either burn your eyes off or make you feel like your bedroom is in an office building, but it’s also adorable and festive. (Personally I think we should keep Christmas Lights up year round, but that’s a discussion for another blog). Additionally, I suggest getting desk lamps, standing lamps, clip on lamps, any freaking lamp you want. Place them around the room so that way you have lighting in whichever corner you decide to inhabit.
5. Make a Study Center
Here’s something I learned last year that has forever changed the way I study. Find somewhere in your room, like a desk, a couch (if you have one), or a corner by the window and study there. It’s seems pretty dumb, but honestly this is the secret to being successful. Find a spot where you can focus and always go there to study. Don’t watch TV, don’t look at your phone, don’t read a magazine. Use this spot for studying and studying only. It’s amazing but the mind will learn that when you go to sit there, it’s time to put your focusing glasses on and make sure your thinking cap is screwed on tight. I swear it works. For me, I always sit in one spot on my couch if I need to crack down on some nursing homework that I’ve been putting off. I put my phone across the room, my laptop on my bed, and only keep my notes, paper, and text book within reach. It keeps my brain from getting distracted but also it makes my brain equate the spot to work and not play. It will make you feel like you have two separate rooms: one room to study in and the other to play and hang out in, just like back at home.
- Pro Tip: if you get distracted easily, like I did last year, move your desk to a corner and have it facing a wall so your back is to the room. You won’t be distracted by the rest of life going on around you as easily.
6. Key Hook
The key to making your life easier is putting a Key Hook next to your door. It’s easy to lose pretty much anything in college, especially when you are running out the door, tugging on a coat, and hopping down the hall attempting to walk at tie your shoes at the same time (trust me, that actually happens). By putting your keys next to the door, not only will you always remember where you put them, but you can grab them easily as you sprint to that 8:30 class that starts in 4 minutes.
7. Be positive
Your home should be your oasis and therefore your dorm room is no different. Cute quotes are the perfect way to make those bland walls disappear and for positive thoughts to creep their way into your life. A fellow blogger called Simply Made by Rebecca has adorable signs to print out and hang all over your room. I have her signs hanging over my couch and I love them! Go check her out!
8. Buy a plant
Ok, here’s the thing. In college you sometimes forget to feed yourself. It hits at 2:30pm that your are starving and suddenly you’re like did I eat dinner? Trust me–it happens. Forgetting to feed yourself isn’t a very great idea, so an easy way to remind yourself of the necessity of food is by getting some plants. If you have something else living in your room with you that you have to take care of and feed, then you will remember to do so with your own body. It’s kind of like your plant is a surrogate mother, reminding you to eat! Also, plants are a wonderful way to bring some green into your room and who wouldn’t want something so lovely as a plant?
9. Add bits of home
I’m sure this is not anything earth shattering, but adding little bits of home can go a long way into making your dorm less of a room and more of a home. For me, because I’m thousands of miles away from my home, I have a Colorado flag hanging in my room along with some pictures of my brothers and my best friends. Having little mementos makes it feel like home isn’t so far away and it also makes you look like less of a hermit if you have faces of friends on your wall.
So there you have it! Here’s just a few ways that I’ve found make your dorm room feel a little bit more like home. If you have any Pro Tips let me know! I’m always looking for better ways to decorate!