How to Make Your Dorm Room Feel More Like Home

By: Zeina El Bakry

As we depart from swimming in the sea and living in sunshine, we ultimately welcome both the new season and the inception of academia. For many, adjusting back to an educational environment after a summer of no duties is incredibly difficult, and this year we can imagine how much this struggle has heightened since we’ve all been conditioned to stay at home and quarantine. Personally, I have been finding it distressing to adapt to the academic lifestyle and studying abroad, due to my constant homesickness and discontinuing the laid-back routine I have grown accustomed to. However, one thing that has really distracted me from my uneasiness is decorating my room to feel more like home. Consequently, I’ve decided to make a list of things you can do so that no matter where you are in the world, your dorm room can still somewhat feel like home. 

  1. Establish a style that best encapsulates you

Style is often thought of as a reflection of personality and attitude, and if your room embodies your personality you will most definitely feel more at home in your new living space. I know it might be hard to stick to just one style, so perhaps use Pinterest to figure out which type of style lets your personality shine through the most; vintage, boho, grunge, eclectic, shabby chic, etc. Once your room radiates your personality, and follows a style/theme and color palette, you’ll feel it looks more put together and ready for you to settle in. 

  1. Decorate your walls with anything that puts you in high spirits 

Oftentimes, students are disappointed upon first seeing their dorms, one of the leading causes of this disheartenment is due to the state of the walls, which are usually bland, uninviting and often smeared and stained with evidence of the last tenants. An easy way to spruce up the dull atmosphere of the room is to hang up fragments of everything and everyone you love. From polaroids of family and friends, tapestry, colorful posters and inspirational quotes; including the things that bring you warmth and a sense of comfort will instantly make your room feel less foreign and more like home. 

  1. Nothing says home like a fluffy rug

Indulge in the warmth, snugness and welcoming ambience a fluffy rug will bring to your room, which will definitely be worth the investment. Most flooring for dorm rooms are either covered with stained and dull carpenting or cold tiles, a cozy and fluffy rug is the perfect way to add style and personality to the room, while also covering up any unremovable stains in the floor space.

  1. Add a pop of color with flamboyant curtains 

Typically, dorm rooms lack any exciting furniture and most color schemes are monotonous, a way to add a touch of personality to the room is to find vibrant curtains with your favorite colors or patterns. Not only will it make your new place look more exciting it will also give you privacy and that comfortable homey feeling. 

  1. Pack a souvenir from home

For most, accommodating in dorms will be the first experience of living away from families and home. One thing that has really kept me going is keeping a sentimental item that reminds of my family and being at home, I decided to take a customized pillow that my family had made me a few years ago. Some other ideas could be a teddy bear you’ve had since childhood, your favorite coffee mug, a cozy blanket you’ve had for the last 15 years or the snuggly robe that you love to wrap yourself in when it’s chilly. Regardless of what it is that that makes you remember home, make sure to bring it with you so that you are surrounded by familiarity and something that makes you mellow.

  1. Bring your room to life with some potted plants.

I think we’ve established by now that dorm rooms can be very spiritless, a great way to bring your room to life is to add a little greenery. Potted plants are very easy to find and can also add more style to your room if you find the perfect pots to match your decor, also the task of watering them will give you something to do everyday! 

  1. A background music playlist

Despite whatever artists or genres we like, I think we can all agree that music is one of the fastest ways to unplug after an exhausting afternoon. A great way to feel more relaxed is to just have some background music playing in your dorm, you can even create different playlists to put you in different moods; for studying, cooking, partying, relaxing, working out etc. In addition, if you wanna feel more at home, add some of those noguglastic songs that hold special memories or even ask your friends and family to send you their favorite songs and create a compilation of that. 

  1. Create a relaxation corner

Dorm rooms can often be quite limited in space and with the hectic life of a student, most end up cramming their things all over the place, leaving little to no room for a cool spot to chill out. A good idea is to prioritize keeping a small corner in your room empty so that after a tiresome day you have a place to sit and unwind. I would also suggest investing in a comfy chair or even a bean bag to place in this corner, whatever feels more homey to you.

  1. Pile on the Pillows

There is no feeling like the comfort of a nice and soft pillow that always makes it incredibly difficult to leave your bed in the mornings. Not only do pillows play a significant role in one’s sleep and overall well-being, but it’s also a simple and effective way to accessorize your room. Pillows are super important to have in your room because not only are you gonna use them to rest your head while sleeping but they can also be; a backrest, a surface to place your laptop and bowl of ice cream on while you binge watch your favorite show, a comfy pouffe to rest your feet or you could even throw some around your room to add extra seating for when your friends come over. Go as crazy as you like when purchasing your pillows, there are so many colors, patterns, sizes and textures to choose from; have fun picking out what will compliment your room best. Don’t stress about where you’re gonna arrange them, let’s be real, no one can ever really have too many pillows! 

  1.  Incorporate lighting in your home design

There are multiple ways to have good lighting in your room, sources can include windows, lamps, fairy lights or candles. Not only does lighting have the ability to make a room look more attractive but it will also add more life to your room and boost your wellbeing, since it’s been proven that little lighting usually makes a place seem more dreary and the resident feels drowsy and sometimes even depressed. You’ll definitely feel more chirpy and energetic with the right amount of lighting, and to make your room more like home you could bring your favorite fairy lights with you or purchase some lights that somehow remind you of home (I purchased some that were decorated with the same artificial flowers my mom had in a vase). However, if you’re really up for a challenge and adamant on making your new room remind you of home, hunt for a candle that has a scent that is reminiscent of home and gives you a sense of tranquility! 

There you have it, try whichever suggestions you like from this list to make your dorm room feel like home! I know many may not think decorating a dorm room is that important, but studies have shown that your surroundings play a significant role in your everyday performance both academically and socially. Regardless of whether you’re staying in a dorm, an off-campus apartment, a sorority or frat; try to enhance your living space in a way that makes you feel comfortable and content.

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