Decorate Your Dorm Room for Comfort and Function
It’s true that a lot of dorm rooms have a bit of an institutional feel – cinderblock walls, plain white paint, unexciting carpet. And you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your room studying, even though overall it’s only a temporary living space each year.
So, if you want your new home-away-from-home to feel like home, then it’s time to figure out what you need to set up and decorate your room to be both comfortable and functional.
There are four main points to consider when deciding how to arrange and decorate your dorm: room style, lighting, workspace, and storage.
The type of dorm room you have will affect what you can do, and how much space you have to work with.
To start with, if it’s possible to move furniture around, try out a couple different arrangements to see what works best in the space. If your room is a single, you will have a bit more flexibility than if you’re sharing a double room with another student.
Next, what kind of walls do you have – cinderblock, plaster or drywall? This will affect what you can hang or attach to the walls, such as posters or shelving. There’s also a good chance you won’t be allowed to paint or install anything using nails or screws, so sticky hooks and freestanding shelves will be your best friend.
Most dorms will have a bed, desk, shelf and dresser, but in some cases only a bed is provided and students have to bring any other furnishings they need. This information should be readily available from your school upon making residence arrangements, so be sure to ask!
Obviously, your dorm room will have at least one window, but depending on the size and the arrangement of the room, this may not provide enough light during the daytime, and you will need light at night. If the ceiling light in your dorm isn’t enough for you, assess the space you have to find a lamp that will fit and still provide enough light for studying at your desk or reading in bed.
If a desk comes with your dorm, take some time to arrange it to ensure you can work comfortably. If you need to provide your own work space furniture, get something that suits the way you prefer to work, such as a comfy chair if you like to curl up and work on your lap, or a cafe table and chair for a coffee-shop feel.
What you need will depend on the furniture your dorm already has. Many dorms come with a closet and built in shelves; others may provide dressers. Baskets and boxes that can fit beneath beds and desks, or on closet shelves, will help keep you organized.
Think about what you own, and plan your storage needs around that. Lots of books? Maybe get an extra shelf. Lots of shoes? Hanging pockets or shoe racks can maximize closet space.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to get creative! Have fun with setting up your space and decorating: try out some funky curtains, colourful storage boxes, and fun or unusual artwork and posters, to make the dorm room your own.