Moving to a Dorm: Organization and Decoration Tips

UVM Converse Hall by redjar (CC BY-SA 2.0)

It’s that time of year again: back to school. For some, that means moving back to a college dorm. Although dorm rooms have a bad reputation for being old and cramped, that doesn’t always have to be the case! Here are some of the best trips and tricks for keeping your dorm space feeling like a happy home.

Like any living space, it’s important that your dorm makes you feel comfortable so you can relax after hitting the books all day. It’s hard to take a break when you have to make your way through a maze of furniture just to get to your bed. While it’s hard to make such a small space work (especially when you have roommates!), if you decorate and organize a certain way, you can keep your dorm looking smart.

Step 1: Keep Space in Mind When Packing

Especially if this is your first time moving away from home, bringing too much stuff is an easy mistake to make. Dorm rooms are notoriously small, so plan accordingly! Before you bring something, ask yourself if you are really going to need it. If not, keep it in storage somewhere else. (Here are some organization tips to help you sort your stuff.)

Step 2: Organize, organize, organize

School is stressful. Why have your dorm room be stressful, too? An organized place is a happy place! Having a clean, organized dorm space will keep your dorm room feeling open and relaxing. The key to keeping a small dorm room clutter-free is to have a place for everything. The best way to do this is to have functional furniture. Pieces like storage ottomans and closet or over-the-door organizers will keep all your dorm stuff out of the way. Hiding things away like this will also keep your dorm space looking less cramped.

Dorm Organization (photo by E.Drake)

Step 3: Make it Yours

Dorm roommates can sometimes go overboard when it comes to being matchy-matchy. A dorm room is usually a shared space, but it is still yours. To make your dorm comfortable, make your dorm match your personality. Trying to make your room look “cool,” or trendy, or what your roommate wants might make your dorm feel less homey. You have to live there, so why not make it what you want? Coordinating a color scheme or pattern scheme with your dorm roommates is a fun idea, but keep it personal with your own ideas, too.

Don’t Clash with Dorm Roommates (Photo by wharman)

Step 4: Use the walls

Most dorm rooms have a policy against using nails or any destructive hardware on the walls, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave them blank. To hang your favorite artwork and posters, adhesive strip hooks and poster putty are your new best friends. Removable wall decals are also fun. Another dorm idea: draping a light, gauzy, calming fabric on the walls can hide the confining texture of dorm concrete walls.

Just remember to keep it simple. Cluttered walls can make a dorm room feel smaller. Hanging an interesting mirror is another great way to make a dorm room feel bigger. The reflected light and view will make your dorm look like a mansion! You can also brighten a dark dorm room by using bright colors instead of dark when decorating.

Make use of Dorm Cork Boards

Are you moving to a dorm soon and need some packing tips? Have you ever lived in a dorm and have any organization tips? We’d love to know about them in the comments section!