Your dorm room serves as your home away from home. However, walking into a box of boring tile and concrete brick walls can make you feel like you’re doing jail time, not advancing your education and career. How can you make your dorm a peaceful retreat from the rigors of academia?
Quite easily! By adding personal touches, you can increase your privacy even when sharing a small space with your roomie. You can create a cozy haven you can’t wait to return to between classes. Here’s what to do.
1. Consider a Bed Tent
If you and your roommate have different sleep schedules or you simply want a place free from prying eyes, consider a bed tent. These cozy canopies create a womb-like space inhabited only by you — a major plus if you find it hard to transition from having your own room to sharing one.
Plus, if you get migraines and harsh, overhead fluorescent lights trigger you, your bed tent offers a place to escape the glare. Pair with a small clip-on lamp you can study by, and you’re ready to pull an all-nighter without the resulting agony.
2. Invest in Earplugs and an Eye Mask
Does your new roommate snore like Yogi Bear? If so, you may find catching your Zs difficult. Fortunately, you can pick up earbuds and a light-erasing eye mask for less than $10 at nearly any department or drug store. These can make practicing good sleep hygiene easier.
Also, next time you have extra cash, pick up a spare pair at the convenience store. You can even find replacement buds at certain dollar stores. Gift your roomie with a few extra pairs so she can listen to her favorite jams without docking her iPhone when pulling an all-nighter.
3. Stock Your Mini-Fridge with Healthy Snacks
If you hope to avoid gaining the dreaded “freshman 15,” you need a healthy diet. However, when school grows demanding, it’s easy to reach for a bag of chips or order pizza when your stomach growls. Resist temptation by stocking your dorm room mini fridge with healthy snacks.
Include a mix of breakfast and other items. Yogurt, especially paired with fruit and nuts, makes an energizing grab-and-go breakfast when you wake up minutes before your first class. Many college students don’t eat enough veggies and fruits, so invest in precut baby carrots and broccoli with guacamole and organic tortilla chips with fresh salsa.
4. Add Lots of Personal Touches
Do you experience homesickness at the mere thought of leaving your friends and family? Pack plenty of photographs and other memorabilia to make your dorm feel more like your bedroom growing up. Use sticky strips or putty to get posters and pictures to adhere to concrete walls. Alternately, hit the dollar store before departure for cute frames you can set up on your nightstand or bureau.
5. Aromatherapy Eases Stress and Boosts Moods
Dorm rooms can smell a bit funky between bare feet, skipped showers and spilled beer — yes, your resident assistant knows people sneak it in. Make things better by investing in an inexpensive aromatherapy diffuser.
You can buy them for less than $20, and if electrical outlets come at a premium in your room, you can find USB models that plug into your laptop. Think scents such as valerian and lavender for stress relief before exam day, and uplifting aromas like lemon and bitter orange to wake you up for that 9 a.m. class.
6. Think Cozy Rugs, Blankets and Throws
College life means taking the occasional nap — late-night study sessions and partying leads to daytime fatigue. Make your dorm room perfect for a siesta by adding comfy throw pillows and blankets. If your folks treat you to back-to-school shopping, stock up.
Putting your bare tootsies on a cold tile floor at 8 a.m. provides quite the unpleasant wake-up call — not to mention jolts you alert if you use the restroom during the night. Invest in fuzzy throw rugs to keep your toes toasty.
7. Add Some Extra Climate Control
Many dorms lack individual thermostats, which means you could freeze or roast depending on climate. Additionally, many residence halls, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, don’t have central air conditioning. You can DIY a portable air conditioner on the cheap and keep your cool while your classmates swelter.
Electric blankets help in the winter months but can cause a fire risk. Make sure you buy one with an automatic shutoff after a specified time. You can also purchase a cozy blanket with sleeves and a closed toe to keep you extra snug on those chilly January days when the second semester starts.
8. Organize Everything
Dorm rooms leave something to be desired in terms of storage. Invest in under-the-bed organizers for bulky items like shoes to save on space. Declutter every week to keep your room from looking like a hurricane struck it. Get crafty with certain mementos — take old corks and create a stylish bulletin board for your notes and arrange concert tickets and postcards in stylish scrapbooks.
Make Your Dorm Room Your Home Away from Home.
Your dorm room can appear cold and sterile and still serve its purpose. Considering the amount of time you’ll spend dwelling within it during the next few years, it makes sense to personalize your space. By following the tips above, you can do so inexpensively and enjoy a more productive and happier college experience.