For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Oct 01 2017
by Ali Acker

7 Things You Need to Make Your Dorm Feel Like Home

By Ali Acker - Oct 01 2017

Leaving home for the first time and living on your own can be hard. College can be stressful, with making new friends and taking challenging classes. Your dorm room should be an escape from these stresses, but oftentimes dorm rooms are small, cramped and depressing. However, there are lots of things you can do to spruce up that drab room and make it feel like home. 

1. Pictures

Pictures are essential for making your room feel homey. Before moving in, I printed an excessive amount of pictures from my phone at CVS. I thought I would only hang a few, but I ended up using almost 70 pictures around my room. Whether you use a cork board, photo line with pins or just tape pictures to the wall, images of family, friends, food and pets give the room a personal touch. While picture frames are nice, they can take up valuable desk space, plus pictures can turn a dull dorm wall into a colorful collage of memories. When you’re feeling stressed or homesick, pouring over your pictures of loved ones and favorite places can make you feel better.

2. Pillows

Getting some cool pillows definitely helps tie a room together. Many schools offer value pack bundles for plain or basic comforters and sheets that can be shipped directly to the dorm. Since moving in is already difficult, I decided to order plain bedding through the school that would be waiting for me to open when I moved in. I opted to buy a few throw pillows that all had similar colors that would tie the whole color scheme together. You can get throw pillows at many stores, or even online, which I decided to do. For me, my gold and blue pillows really made my bed look cozy and comfortable. My bed is no doubt my favorite place to study now.

3. Desk Supplies

As a student, your desk is a truly important space. It’s absolutely necessary that your desk is a place that is conducive for cramming the last of your homework in before class and studying long into the night. I brought some of my desk supplies from home, which were helpful. My desk supplies remind me of all the hard work I did in high school and give me a little boost when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I definitely recommend getting organizers for pencils/pens, paper clips, tape, scissors and a stapler. Many office supply stores sell matching sets of desk supplies, which can create a nice and spacious desk. I tried to match all my supplies, which is completely unnecessary, but gives my desk a clean aesthetic.

4. Food

Most college students will complain about the dreaded dining hall food. Nevertheless, bringing some of your favorite food from home, or buying it while on campus, can give you a little taste of home. Even some simple foods like your favorite protein bars, dried fruit, cookies or candy can be comforting when you’re feeling homesick or just sick of food from the dining hall. I brought s'more supplies with me, which turned out to be popular with my hall, and we all make s’mores when we are having an intense study session. Besides food, even a special coffee mug from home or taking your favorite tea/hot chocolate mix with you is a nice reminder of home.

5. Wall art

Making your room feel homey is all about turning boring dorm walls into a canvas of your own design. For my room I got a dream catcher that matched my bedspread and pillows, which I absolutely love. Additionally, you can never go wrong with intricate tapestries or posters of your favorite bands and quotes. Covering up the bland walls with wall art truly makes a difference in personalizing your room. Just remember to bring lots of putty and command hooks to hang all of your decorations.

6. Scent

Let’s face it, most dorms don’t smell the best, especially dorms with no AC. With so many people crammed in a small space, making some questionable food in their microwaves and keeping laundry in their rooms for days on end can give the dorm some strange and occasionally unpleasant smells. I always keep Febreze on hand in my room and spray the room whenever it starts to get stuffy. Since flowers are hard to maintain in a room, having a few fake flowers or plants still brighten up the room. In my room, I put a dryer sheet over my fan to make the room smell good sometimes. However, a scented oil plug-in is a solution to any smelly room. If you have a favorite scent from home, bring it in Febreze spray, plug in, or laundry scent booster form to make your nose feel like it's home.

7. Rug

In my opinion, buying a rug was the best investment my roommate and I made for our room. We bought a plain, cheap rug but it really does change the room. A rug makes the room feel like your actual room and is defiantly more comfortable to sit on when you’re vegging with your hall mates or coming back from a long night out. I recommend a rug that is easy to clean (not a fluffy one). A rug really ties a room together and can transform a dorm room into an escape from the stresses of school. 

There are many ways to make your dorm feel like home. From pillows to the wall art, your dorm room can become a true representation of you. Making a great dorm room doesn't have to be expensive either, as many stores and websites offer college discounts and special bundles for students. So get to shopping and let your imagination go wild!

Lead Image Credit: Ali Acker

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Ali Acker - University of Virginia

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