How to Make a Dorm a Home

Written by Maria Hayden



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.




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.




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.




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.




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.