By Christine H.
It can be exhilarating to finally be on your own. As you settle into your dorm room at college, you’ll probably find yourself working with some unique decorating challenges. First of all, if you have a roommate, you’ll need to mix your aesthetics and taste. The room will feel more spacious and comfortable for you both if you can get along… decoratively speaking, that is. Secondly, you’re likely to be working in a smaller space than usual. Some dorm rooms are just big enough for two beds and two desks. Thirdly, you have the challenge of starting from scratch, and finding ways to get the look you want with a shoestring budget.
Here are a few ideas to help you decorate your dorm room to make it a haven for everything that you’ll need your freshman year.
1: Minimize distractions within your study space You might be a student who prefers to do all of your studying in the library. However, odds are really good that at some point or another, you’ll need to study at home. Cluttered desks and beds can make it difficult to focus and stay organized. Prioritize a minimalist aesthetic on your desk in order to make studying more effective. This is also a great way to prioritize your mental health during school, since this can be one of the most trying times of your life for stress and mental illness. The more you can focus and eliminate stress, the better.Here are some tips:
Keep decor above the desk simple and clean Utilize storage options on the desk to keep it clear Have a designated place for stray papers, and for pens and other writing utensils
2: Make the functional decorative There are some functional items in your room that you can’t not have, and yet they can really get in the way of a certain decor theme. Make sure things like those nice speakers of yours, or those stacks of textbooks, have a specific place. We recommend putting them on high shelves, or utilizing crates under the bed to mix easy access with organization.
3: Make space under the bed Speaking of under the bed, this is probably everyone’s go-to dorm hack. Normal bed legs don’t give you a lot of storage space. However, if you put your bed up on risers (or the college go-to, cinder blocks) then you can suddenly double the amount of storage space you have down there. You can find storage boxes on wheels that easily roll out from under the bed. This is a great way to get rid of the clutter, and a bedskirt or long comforter will cover everything easily. Check out more creative storage solutions here.
4: Add some green One of the best forms of decorations in any room is a houseplant. Do a little research first to find ones that are easy to maintain in your environment (i.e. if you have minimal light, or the air dries out fast, factor that in during your search.) Why should you bring plants into the dorm room? Well, for one thing, the sight of greenery helps us to be more positive and productive (so perhaps the perfect place for it will be on your study desk.) For another, plants clean and purify the air, so this is a good way to keep it feeling fresh.
5: Make your bed In a small dorm, the space will probably be dominated by your bed. So, the fastest way to make it look nice is to have a neatly-made bed. Find a duvet cover or blanket that you like, coordinate it with the rest of your design aesthetic, and smooth that baby out over your bed every morning. One more thing: throw pillows are fun. But they’re also surprisingly pricey and probably take more space than you can spare for something strictly decorative. Keep them to a minimum.
6: Lighting One of the fastest ways to make a cold, industrial environment suddenly comfortable and homey is to change the lighting. You’ll want a lamp by your bed anyway for those time when one roommate is awake and the other isn’t. If you don’t like your overhead lighting, consider some other creative alternatives. Twinkle lights and lanterns are a great way to make any room feel festive.
7: Minimize collages; find statement wall art instead Although many college students end up decorating their walls with posters, fliers, and favorite pictures, the truth is that this kind of wall decor can make a small space feel even smaller. Your best bet is to find large statement pieces for the wall whenever possible. Avoid thick frames that stick out from the walls as they can shrink the area too. Instead, look into trendy wall decals that can help you make one large picture, or an interesting geometric statement. You can also find statement photo murals which will dominate one wall and not break the bank. If you do end up hanging pictures on the wall, stick to uniform frames as much as possible to create cohesion.