When people ask me how I felt about going to boarding school, I always say it was one of the best decisions of my life. I loved living with my friends and loved never needing a car because everything was in walking distance. But what I didn’t love was how I lonely I felt my first few months. During this period, I quickly became grateful for having a mom who insisted that I make my dorm room feel like home. Designing my room not only helped me feel comfortable those first few months, but it also helped me make friends. People would come into my room to sit in my cozy PBteen chair and tell me about themselves; I made some of my best friends that way. So now with four years of experience under my belt, designing my college dorm room feels like a breeze. Here are some tips to make it a breeze for you as well.
Bedding For Your Dorm Room
If your dorm room is small, like every dorm room in America, your bed will take up most of your space. There are multiple possibilities on how to make your sleep sanctuary.
- For those that don’t trust their judgment, I recommend Target’s Bed in a Bag. These bags come with different patterns and colors of sheets, pillowcases, and comforters. One pro about the bundles is that they cost less than buying the items individually. I usually get a couple of these to mix up the vibe of my room when I get bored. If you want to make it a little more your own, get some throw pillows from Cost Plus World Market to shake it up.
- PB Teen offers great deals on bedding. There is a tab on their website called Bundle and Save. Some of their bundle sets, which include a comforter, sheets, pillow covers, and a sham, are priced as low as $150. The website also has a search tool to find your school’s dorm room check list, so you can make sure you have everything you need.
- For your inner indie chick, both Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie have great selections for bedspreads, or you can always tie dye your sheets and duvet. Just get a plain white comforter and sheets, look up instructions online, and have at it.
Photo Credit: PB Teens
Wall Decorations For Your Dorm Room
Your walls are like your bio on Instagram. What do you want it to say about you?
In my room back in California, I have a smorgasbord of art, posters, and pictures. The walls of my dorm rooms are always filled with pictures to remind me of what makes me happy and who I am. So, get creative and make it yours.
- Okay, for the seven year-old child in me, I have to put this one out there: glow in the dark stickers. A roommate and I did this once and loved it. After I had a long day, it felt refreshing to turn off the lights, climb into bed, and see a galaxy glowing above me.
- There have been years when I didn’t know what to do, so I consulted my life long friend Etsy. There I’ve found beautiful art and tapestries at every price range. Tapestries are an excellent way to cover whole wall spaces. I love Paper Bound Love’s creations.
- Want to use your own art but don’t have any? Childhood finger paintings don’t count. Make a date at PaintNite, a company that hosts painting tutorials making for a fun night out. You can go on their website to find a location, painting to recreate, and tickets for your latest art experience.
- One word: pictures. I’ve had friends that have just covered complete walls with photos, and it looks amazing. Personally, I like something a little subtler. For my latest dorm room wall design, I’ve decided to have Polaroids hanging on my wall from string and clothespins. That being said, I am not some artsy, indie girl who carries a Polaroid camera with me everywhere. I do it the easy way. Sears has the Impossible Poject Instant Lab, which is a Polaroid printer that prints photos straight from your smart phone.
Photo Credit: Etsy: PaperBoundLove
Storage Soultions For Your Dorm Room
If you are like me, you love clothes, bags, and shoes…lots and lots of shoes. In my experience, my dorm rooms have not been very welcoming to my size 8 friends. The trick to a warm welcome is to create space.
- Bed risers are an excellent way to create space underneath your bed. The higher the rise the more space you have. Under your high-rise bed, I recommend laying down some stackable storage drawers. These are individual drawers that you can stack to your preferred height. Instead of having to unstack them and open the containers, a drawer makes it easy to pull out only the items you need. The Container Store has some great ones that come in all sizes and colors
- If you have a closet door, like I did, shoe racks are a smart idea. They have other uses too. I was lucky enough to find myself with a suite, which meant I had a private bathroom to share with three other girls. I decided to put a shoe rack on the back of my bathroom door to hold my various toiletries.
- Hang clothing on clothing with soda can tabs. Stick one hanger handle through one hole and another hanger handle through the other hole. This gives your closet a trickle down effect that will turn your closet into a waterfall of clothing (#DIYgoals).
Appliances For Your Dorm Room
One of the basic rules of the human body is that it needs food to live. This rule can be really hard to follow if your school’s food is treacherous (that dress scene in Bridesmaids anyone?).
- For the sake of your vital organs, please invest in a refrigerator/freezer. Target has some nice ones. If you are going to have a refrigerator, you might as well have a microwave too. My roommate and I both love to cook, so we decided to get the LG 1.1 Cu Ft. mid-size microwave from Best Buy. This microwave has a thin 1400W baking drawer, which we plan on making all sorts of baking creations in.
- Though I do not drink coffee myself, I have seen some of my past roommates when the school café has unexpectedly closed down for the day. Not pretty. So, make sure you and your roommate have a coffee maker. The Keurig Brewer Skin K2.0 Lag has been a lifeline for many and is cost friendly at $25.
- To clean your floor easily, get the Eureka Easy Clean Stick Vacuum Cleaner. It’s as skinny as a stick and as light as one too. These vacuums are for small areas and have no bag, just a dust cup you can take out, empty, and put back in. Some cost as little as $48.
Quick Tips from a Seasoned Dorm Room Veteran
- Coordinate with your roommate; it makes for a more complementary dorm room look.
- Bright colors will make your room feel happier, especially in the winter when everything is dark.
- Let there be light... with floor lamps!
- Call your school and ask for dorm room pictures, measurements and floor plans. It makes it easier to visualize what you want your space to look like.
- A comfortable mattress top is worth it…ALWAYS.
- If your school doesn’t provide a lock box, get one. Better safe than sorry.
- Buy a full-length mirror that doesn’t make you 6 inches shorter and 15 pounds heavier. I think this need not explanation.
Your dorm room is a sanctuary to make your own. Through smart storage, saving, and a little creativity you can make your school a second home. So, have fun and remember to make your dorm room reflect who you are.