For many college freshmen, their dorm room is the first place they get to decorate on their own without parental supervision—their first getaway and their own space. The responsibility can be exciting and daunting at the same time.
Many teens don’t want to bring their childhood furniture and decorations from their home to school with them and are eager for a fresh start. Small spaces and big, bursting personalities don’t have to clash. You can help create the dorm room of your young adult’s dreams—the perfect home away from home for sleeping, hanging out with new friends, and cramming before finals.
Get Creative with Small Spaces
Plan to rearrange furniture a lot for the first few days to find that perfect fit. It may mean putting furniture in places you wouldn’t think of right off the bat—like using a couch as a room divider instead of placing large pieces against the walls. Think multifunctional when purchasing new pieces. This is where pieces like futons come in handy, ottomans that double as storage, or tall, thin bookcases that can be used for textbooks, CDs, movies, or small décor items.
Consider lofting your bed for extra space. Space below the bed can be used for a desk, couch, or even storage. If you don’t have the option of lofting your bed, consider a trundle bed, which has extra storage beneath the bed. Cubed bookcases, sightly shelves or other small dividers (or even a curtain!) can be used to separate corners of the room into truly your own space for a desk or lounge area.
Have Fun with Color
Whether sharing a room or getting to take over an entire dorm space yourself, make your room (or half of a room) a splash of color that exudes your personality. Color can also be a great room divider that showcases the different personalities sharing the room. One person’s purple polka dots is the yin to another’s zebra-striped yang.
Don’t be afraid to go bold. The bright green you’ve always loved can be incorporated into bedding, towels, or furnishings now that the space is all your own. Experiment with patterns and geometric shapes as well as textures. You don’t have to pick just one favorite color either—develop your own palette and mix and match with wall décor, rugs, bedding, and upholstery.
Rugs and Comfort
Cold wood or tile floors abound in dorm rooms, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for cold feet. Rugs can be a great way to add interest to the room as well as make the space feel like home. Depending on the shape and size of the room, you can consider a full area rug, a runner, or even smaller, foot rugs. Complete your floor decoration with a pair of fuzzy slippers for cozier late nights and early mornings.
While away from home may feel uncomfortable, you can mitigate discomfort by making the dorm room a fuzzy, soft heaven. There’s always room for fuzzy rugs, extra blankets, and tons of pillows. Even hanging a favorite patterned throw on the wall can add décor and the appearance of comfort.
Light it Up
Lighting may just be the most important factor in any room—but especially a dorm room where natural light may be hard to come by and fluorescent bulbs abound. One fun additional light source could be string lights around the perimeter of the room, making the space immediately like a fun getaway.
Add plenty of floor lamps (especially one right by the front door when you stumble home after a late-night study session). Of course, don’t forget at least one desk lamp. No one wants to be squinting at their laptop or textbooks for too many hours in the dark.
Decor, Decor, Decor
Now is the time to dress up your room as much or as little as you like. Say goodbye to the posters of your favorite boy band that covered your childhood bedroom from floor to ceiling and say hello to the classy or cute space you’ve always wanted. Where painting and wallpaper may be more trouble than they’re worth for only a few years’ stay (or even against rules), you can make up for in wall décor, decals, and shelf decorations.
Artwork and photos make great wall decals or even a photo collage of all the fun times you’ve had with new friends over the course of your freshman year. Versatile décor pieces like poufs are perfect for dorm rooms. Not only do they offer a place to put your feet up or lay out extra notebooks or textbooks, but they double as extra seating when having friends and study buddies over—essential for every new college goer!