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4 Tips for Making Your Dorm Feel Like Your Home Away from Home

Empty white dorm room with a window
Written by CB Community

Moving out of your house and onto your college campus is an exciting new adventure, but it can also be a time filled with anxiety and homesickness. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. With a few thoughtful preparations, you can make your college dorm feel like your home away from home.

Whether you’re starting your move-in shopping list or are already away at college and need to give your room a more homey feel, these 4 tips will help you create a comfortable living space that has the right personal touches:

#1: Add Photos of Your Family

While you might think you’re just missing the familiarity of your childhood bedroom, you’re probably also missing your family who made your house a home. To bring a little piece of that feeling with you, print out some pictures of your family, including your favorite furry friends. Depending on your preference, you can keep them in a special photo album or display them in a creative way around your room.

Need some inspiration? Here are some ways to integrate your family photos into your decor:

  • Hang pictures from string lights over your desk or as a DIY headboard
  • Create a DIY picture mobile to hang over your bed
  • Layout your photos in the shape of a heart
  • Tuck photos around the edge of your mirror

Seeing familiar faces will remind you that the special people in your life are always there for you and are always just a phone call or text away.

#2: Upgrade Your Bedding

There’s nothing worse than finally finishing unpacking all your boxes and hopping into bed to find that it’s extremely uncomfortable. Luckily, that’s something you can easily fix with these bedding essentials:

Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to your health, so these are all worthwhile investments. If you’re having trouble winding down before bed due to school-related stress, you could also get a lavender bed spray to spritz over your bed. When you get under the covers, you’ll find that all your worries melt away.

male college student sitting on bed with socks off talking on cell phone while on laptop

#3: Personalize Your Decor

Being surrounded by four empty, white walls every day isn’t likely to make your space feel like your own. Instead of letting it get you down, take the opportunity to add some personality to your room. Injecting some life into your room will make your space feel like your own and create more lively energy, perfect for when you need some inspiration when writing that late-night paper. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Wall decals
  • Art prints
  • Curtains
  • Macramé plant holders
  • Colorful throw pillows
  • Unique tapestry
  • Fluffy rug

If you share a room with someone else, just make sure you keep your decorative display to your side of the room or ask them if they want to collaborate to give your entire dorm a makeover.

#4: Create Mood Lighting

While it might be effective for studying, the bright lights often found overhead in dorms isn’t very relaxing. To give yourself more variety, add some different lighting options to your dorm, so your lighting always suits your mood. Depending on how your space is set up, these lighting options might make a welcomed addition to your room:

  • Desk lamp: This smaller light can sit on your desk for late-night study sessions and that way you don’t keep your roommate up til all hours with the bright overhead light beaming down on them.
  • String lights: For relaxing lighting that helps you get ready for bed, string lights can create a warm glow that’s peaceful and relaxing.
  • Pendant light: If you want something that’ll add an interesting decor element to your room, you can’t go wrong with a pendant light with a unique shade.

Not sure where to shop to get on-trend but affordable dorm decor? Try these college-friendly sites that will surely spark your inspiration for your bedroom makeover:

  • Society 6
  • DormCo
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Pottery Barn Teen
  • Dormify
  • Wayfair
  • Etsy

With these tips, surviving your first year away from home will be that much more successful! Get started creating a dorm room that’s all your own and you’ll be sure to love your home away from home in no time.

For more awesome college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.