If you’re moving into a dorm room this fall, you may want an amazing space that lets you study and entertain in style while showing off your chic sense of décor. Unfortunately, if you are like most students you have been issued the standard, impersonal shoebox of a room and you may have a budget that makes it hard to splurge on terrific pieces. Even so, there’s hope if you want to make your dorm into something special.
Take care of the floor
Dorm room floors are often unattractive and may be poorly maintained. Use carpet remnants from a carpet depot or rug store or even a few inexpensive rugs to brighten the space and to make your dorm room floor something you don’t mind walking on. Just make sure you don’t make it hard to open your door – you need the ventilation under your door to prevent condensation and mildew.
Layer and don’t worry too much about matching everything up
Lots of layers of color and texture add some interest and personality to your room. Pile on bed linens, curtains, and even fabrics on walls and ceilings. Just don’t worry about matching everything up – just keep colors complimentary and contrasting. If you don’t have the money to match everything up, creating a more funky mismatched look is the next best option – and it will keep things fresh and unique.
Upcycle items rather than buying new
Your parents and friends may be willing to donate furniture and décor items which you can re-do with new upholstery, paint, and a little imagination. Scour local second-hand shops and garage sales for furniture and other items you need. If you have inherited some ugly pieces and need a little inspiration or how-to help, check out this Pinterest page for ideas and step-by-step instructions.
Come up with ways to stow your stuff
One of the big challenges with dorm life is that there is very little storage space. You will need to create some of your own. Here are a few ideas about ways to find some extra space when you live in a shoebox:
- Put your bed on risers and use the extra space under your bed to store boxes and linens. Use a bed skirt to hide the items under there.
- Check with your campus housing association to find out whether you can adhere things to the walls. If so, hanging shelves and racks can be a great way to make the most of your wall space.
- Buy a storage ottoman for sitting and for storing small items.
- Buy furniture that does double duty. A comfy chair that is also a pull-out bed for guests can be a great option. Clear off the top of a dresser to use as a vanity. Make your furniture work for the space.
For more unique storage tips, check out this handy article.
Invest in more lighting
Dorm room lighting is usually very basic – inexpensive, functional, and usually not enough for late nights of studying. You will need some lamps and extra lights for gentle light in the evenings and when entertaining. Inexpensive strings of lights or novelty lights are a good option. This article has some good tips. In addition, be sure to invest in a good floor lamp or task lamp so that you can read and work at your desk or in your bed without getting eye strain.
College textbooks are expensive – and so is college life. Good thing you don’t have to spend a fortune or take out extra loans to live in college style. If you’re still not sure where to start, check out this blog to take a look at some dorm makeovers.