Guest Blog Post By Carly Feryus
As summer comes to a close, thousands of young adults are preparing to leave the nest and start a new life at college. Leaving home is an exciting time but sometimes trying time. For many college students, this is their first adventure away from parents and the comforts of home. Plus, moving into a dorm can be difficult – the gray walls, the tacky floor tiles, and the pre-used furniture can make it hard to adjust. But have no fear! There are many ways to perk up your dorm room to make it feel more like home! Beat the dorm room blues with these decorative tips/ideas.
Plan Ahead: Talk to your roommate
Being paired up randomly with someone can be very scary. Most schools these days offer a survey to make roommate situations better. Students can take a survey and be paired up with someone based on similar interests. As soon as you receive your roommate assignment contact them! If they live nearby it may be a good idea to do it over lunch. Find out what they are planning to bring. There is no reason to bring two TVs, two refrigerators, and two microwaves. Communicate and figure out what needs to be in the room and what does not. There are plenty of college checklists available online that you can refer to such as this one from College Prep. Some students like to coordinate the rooms so that they match or maintain a theme! Decide what you and your roommate want to do to make this space your own.
Learn about the Dorm Layout
Some schools offer layouts on their website so you can see how big your room actually is and what is already in it. If you are able to access the layout prior to your arrival take advantage! Doing so can eliminate a lot of stress because you know the exact dimensions for your future home. Also, check to see if your beds are twin or twin XL. There is nothing worse than buying a twin comforter and having the bed be a twin XL.
Choose the Right Bedding
Picking out college bedding can be difficult with the plethora of available options. My best advice…pick something you won’t get sick of (I am guilty of this) because for some, you will be living with it for the next four years. Also, you may want to select bedding that is bright and fun, especially if you go to a school like me, where winter takes up 6 months out of the year. Having something bright and fun can make you happier to be in the room and feels more inviting.
Add a Rug
Adding a rug to your dorm is a great way to make the space space feel more like a home and not a cell you are forced to live in for 9 months. Just thinking about returning to those tacky awful floors is already making me cringe! My freshman year I was blessed to have hardwood floors in my room, my floor was the only one on campus with hardwood floors (thank goodness). Having a rug is a great idea because it makes your room more enjoyable and can also help to minimize noise.
Personalize Your Room with Decorations
Don’t be afraid to dress up the walls! Yes, there are a lot of rules and guidelines about nails in walls, etc. But these days there are ways to put pictures and other decorative pieces on the wall without damaging it. Some schools offer a poster sale in the beginning of the year for people to find art (at low costs) to add to their gray or white walls. Since you are going to be studying and doing a lot of work in this space, think about adding an inspiration board. Something that when you look at reminds you of why you are at school and what you plan to accomplish in the future! A corkboard and whiteboard are also great ideas to keep track of things you have going on!
Also, be sure to get decoration for the holidays and such! There is nothing that makes you feel more at home then having a small (probably fake) Christmas tree in your dorm! Another popular decoration for college students are…Christmas lights! Trust me this is the only time in your life where leaving up these lights all year is acceptable.
Storage is Key
Dorms are very small spaces, especially when shared with others. Keeping a clean room is important. It is extremely easy to make your dorm room messy. Make sure you have enough storage for everything in your room. Plastic bins are a great way to hide some of the mess, and they fit perfectly under most beds (in some cases you might want to invest in some bed risers). Make sure everything has its own home in your room so that your dorm room can be clutter-free.
Have a Seat
On many occasions your new friends and suitemates will all want to come over and hang out. If you are anything like me, you don’t want them on your bed because it is perfectly made each morning. Be a good host and consider ways to add additional seating to your room so that your company is comfortable during their visit. Easy seating ideas are bean bags, and butterfly chairs that fold up and can easily be stored. This is a great topic to talk to your roommate about because they might have some suggestions or ideas!
Light Up Your Room
In some dorms there may be little to no lighting. Lamps are a great thing to have especially when living with someone else. Study and sleep times might cross between you and your roommate so lamps are a great way to let your roommate sleep while you study. Also, I have seen people get paper lanterns on strings and hang them in their apartment, it is really cool to have especially if you are having a movie night in your room and it makes the room look cool when the lights are off. Be extra careful with desk lights, there have been many instances of them overheating!
Create a Private Space
When you live at home there is a simple way to get privacy, close the door. This just isn’t the case in college and privacy can sometimes be difficult. Consider getting curtains to cover the windows for some privacy, or if your room comes with curtains you may want to switch them out for more attractive looking ones.
Another great idea is consider getting a fold up room divider. It is a way to achieve privacy when you need it and when you don’t you can fold it up and put it away for an open room!
Packing it all up
When packing up the car to make the drive to your school, think about organizing it all. Yes, there is a method to the madness. When packing your clothing up, think about only bringing things you have worn in the past year. If you haven’t worn it in a year then you probably won’t wear it at school. Only bring what you need and leave room for future purchases. Put clothes in reusable cloth laundry bags, there is no need for fancy suitcases when packing up. These will allow you to put a lot in one bag and you can use them for storage of dirty laundry as well. If your travel to school is longer than a day consider having a bag easily accessible with clothes for the day two of the journey.
Also, don’t buy food and other household things until you get there, it’s easier to go food shopping at school because you won’t have to pack it.
My last piece of advice comes from my father: Remember whatever you pack has to come back home…so don’t overdo it!
Wishing you all a very happy school year!
Need decor inspiration? Above are a few photos I found from http://dormtodiefor.tumblr.com/and PBTeen.com
Special thanks to Carly Feryus for all of her help this summer! She will be missed!
Carly Feryus is an intern with Coldwell Banker Real Estate for the summer and is assisting both the operations and marketing departments on various projects. Carly will be entering her junior year at Syracuse University where she is a marketing major.