How to Make a Dorm a Home

Written by Maria Hayden

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The transition from high school to college can seem daunting. A year ago, although excited for college, my 17-year-old self was always worrying about how things would go. Would I make friends? Would my classes be hard? How would I survive off of dorm food? Although I couldn’t control how my first semester of college would go, I knew making sure I was comfortable in my new living situation would make things easier. Now, done with my freshman year,  I’ve learned a few things about how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

 

Bring Elements of You

 

A dorm room can seem sad and bleak, but it can also be seen as a blank slate. For me, It was important to find decor that embodied my personal style and reminded me of the familiar. I did this by creating a mini gallery wall. Although there is not much wall space in the dorms, I took a few of my favorite pieces from my house and brought them along. Doing this not only saved me some money but also made my new room feel less foreign.

 

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DIY is Your Friend

 

A new room is also a chance to update your style. Although I held onto some of my old pieces, I wanted some new home decor to tie everything in my new room together. However, not everything comes in dorm-friendly sizes. In order to customize my standard furniture I had to get creative. I used some old lace I found and hot glued fake flowers to it to make a little garland for my bed frame. This was a good way to add a pop of personality to my slightly ugly loft frame, and best of all it was free.

 

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Secondly, the thought of living with a roommate was scary for me. My introverted self has always been someone who needs their own designated space. In order to create a little hideaway for myself, I DIYed some simple bed curtains. To do so, I only needed 3 things: the frame for loft beds that came with the room, a shower curtain rod, and some fabric. With some quick googling, I discovered the dimensions of a twin XL bed were 39 x 80 inches. I made sure to find a rod that was adjustable in order to fit the 80 inch length. For fabric, I went to Jo-ann Fabric and Craft Store and ordered two pieces that were each 40 inches wide and guessed about 7 feet for height. After this, all it took was some hemming to make a space for the rod! Although this project was a little more time consuming and pricey, it was well worth it. The curtains were not only a great decorative piece, but also were very useful. I often used them to block out light when my roommate and I were on different sleep schedules.

 

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Less is More

 

“Less is more” is an important rule to remember when moving into a 177-square-foot shared room. Unfortunately for me, I had to learn this the hard way. As you can tell from my DIY curtains, I can tend to go a little overboard when decorating. When moving in I brought ample wall decorations to fill every inch of space. But doing so can make the room feel cramped, and quite honestly it probably won’t all fit. I had planned my room down to a T, but when I got there I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to use all my decor. Instead of using a bulletin board as planned, I opted for a simple wire to hang all of my pictures on. This fit in my room easier, and made things feel less crowded.

 

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All in all, college is a big change. A well decorated room is one of the few things you can plan and can make moving to college a little easier. Hopefully with the help of my shared knowledge and some pinterest inspiration, you’ll be able to make your dorm feel like home too.