As the first space of your own outside of your parents’ house, having a dorm room can at first seem like endless freedom. By the second year of dorm living, however, it can seem like an impossibly small, featureless space to spend so much of your time in. There are ways to make more of your space and make it feel like home. Here are some ideas for decorating your dorm room:
1. Make the most of your space
A good organization effort always starts with a thorough cleaning. If you will be moving into the space for the first time, make sure you optimize your space before unpacking. If this is a space you’re already living in, take the time to thoroughly clean it before you start decorating. Get rid of things that are no longer useful or that you no longer like. Organize things by type, and create a pile for things you might need in another season but don’t need right now. You’ll put that pile in storage.
Next comes the fun part: you get to go shopping. Buy closet, under-bed, hanging, and wall storage organizers. Install the organizers and put things away by type, necessity, and beauty. Some things you’ll want to keep near because you need them or they are nice to look at, but some things will naturally go at the bottom of the closet.
Another way to optimize your space is to rearrange your furniture. Sometimes this will require the permission of your school or the cooperation of your roommate. In a typical dorm room, you’ll have two twin-sized beds, two desks, and possibly two closets. A great way to make more space in a room is to create a loft bed and put your desk underneath. You could also create bunk beds if your roommate likes the idea. If space is at a premium, you could even share desk space and dismantle, get rid of, or repurpose the other desk.
When decorating any space, you will be dealing with more than just the room shape, furniture, and accents. Utilize lighting, music, plants, and color to make the room your own. Dorm rooms typically have overhead, fluorescent lighting. Bring in colored lights, a black light, fairy lights, or floor lamps to create the kind of space you like. Consider the light bulbs in the lamps, too. Choosing a lower wattage for the bulb will create a more intimate space. You also have the option of choosing a full-spectrum light bulb. This can help immensely with school work and even ward off winter blues. Integrate light, sound, and movement aspects with novelty lamps and tabletop fountains. Fountains and mirrors are often used in Feng Shui to change the energy in a space for the better.
Because you’re working with a small space, you’ll want to keep clean lines and a singular focus when choosing a decorating theme. Remember that two or three areas of bright color can often be enough to change the feeling of a room, but filling the room with color may be too overwhelming. Choose one feature to play up, such as a table by the window or the bed itself. Gather decorative items that reflect your personality as you go throughout the year and place them in prominent view in your room. Soon, your dorm will feel like more of a home than you ever dreamed possible. It is your first space as an adult, after all, and you will both undergo many changes this year as you become comfortable with your new role in the adult world.