As a college freshman, there are so many different things to plan for when preparing for the big move to your new college dorm room. When I was starting freshman year, I knew I wanted to bring a little bit of home with me, to remind me of all the things that got me where I was, as well as start off fresh and introduce a fun and energetic style to my new living space. Many college dorm rooms seem to be so bland, cold and drab…but they don’t have to be!
You may think that your college dorm room has no decorating potential but there are many savvy design and storage techniques to make your new place into a home away from home. It isn’t easy to look at your dorm and be able to envision all of its potential, but with a few tips and some creativity, you will be able to turn your space into a comfortable and cozy home.
DO think of your dorm room as a home away from home. You want to feel comfortable coming back to your room after a long day of classes, and feel that your dorm is your safe haven. Bring items that are familiar to you from when you lived back at home such as pictures, stuffed animals or blankets—anything that brings comfort in order to make the transition easier.
DO collaborate with your roommate. If you and your new roommate are willing to coordinate a theme, the two of you can have a lot of fun with it! Themed rooms are a simple way to pull a small, bland room together, and getting your roommate involved will make the decorating process easier and more fun, and hopefully will help the two of you to get to know each other better. It can also be a big help to coordinate ahead of time the items you plan on bringing so you avoid bringing the same things.
DO be creative as possible when decorating your room…but be aware of building safety codes and regulations. Some universities have restrictions on what you can bring into your dorm room such as hot plates and candles, as well as restrictions on what you can hang from the ceilings. But other than that, be as creative as you want! Color-coordinated linens and curtains, decorative rugs, entertainment centers and consoles, books and posters are all an option, and just the starting point. There are many DIY projects online that can help you add some creative design to your walls if you want to go even further.
Fun tip—instead of taping a bunch of photos to the wall and cluttering your space, consider blowing one picture up to poster size to make a bigger statement.
DO consider bed risers if you want to maximize under-bed storage space. Seeing that the space is limited in most dorm rooms, you have to get creative in order to maximize your storage space. Simple things such as raising your bed will create space you never knew you had! Wait until you’re on campus to buy storage and organization bins so you can get a better idea about the space you’re working with.
DON’T over pack and bring so much that move-out will be a huge pain. Remember everything you bring into that dorm room is going to have to leave in only a years’ time, and you also accumulate things as the year passes. So be careful on all the stuff you decide to keep in your dorm room because eventually it will be your responsibility to move it out. A long move-out process is the last thing you’re going to want to do when you’re on your first summer break as a college student.
Don’t bring items that heat up, it’s best to leave them at home. Items such as lava lamps, candles, grills and toasters are most likely going to be forbidden in your building and frankly they are a big hazard that you don’t want to have to worry about.
Don’t panic about the things you forgot. If you forget anything you can always buy it at a local store in your college’s town. And don’t worry, there will be plenty of other college students in the same boat as you.
Have more DORM DO’S & DON’TS? Please share them with us in the space below!
About the Author: Trae Lewis is a recent graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she majored in journalism. She is currently a staff writer for CollegeFocus
and an active community blogger. You can find CollegeFocus on Facebook at www.fb.com/collegefocus.