Step 1 for making a dorm room feel like home: enlist the services of your mom who’s great at decorating 😉
In all seriousness, though, my mom has been a huge help when it comes to decorating my room for all three years of college so far. And my dad does his part on move-in day when it comes to hanging frames, assembling the futon, and doing the heavy lifting.
After doing a tour of my dorm room during both my first year and second years of college, it only made sense to do tour of my room this year, too.
Living in the dorms as a junior feels different than it did for the past two years since some of my friends are moving off campus this year for the first time, and I’ll still be living in the dorms.
I love my job as an RA and I love the convenience of a 5-minute walk to class/the library/other friends’ dorms, but I do think it’s extra important to make my dorm room feel like a home this year. So, I thought I’d share a few of the ways I’m doing that!
1. Tons of pillows and lots of soft blankets
I love snuggling up on my futon with lots of pillows and a fluffy comforter or soft blanket, especially during the winter. I also love the look of a couch practically overflowing with pillows. The turquoise bird pillows are new from Bed, Bath, & Beyond this year, and I think they’re such a fun addition.
I have a thick foam topper on the thin d0rm-provided mattress, too, and it makes a world of difference.
2. Lots of personal items and things that are meaningful to me
This section of my wall was completely blank at the beginning of last year but three creative friends added to it throughout the year, and their beautiful artwork happened to go together perfectly.
I also have a “memory box” full of letters and notes from friends and my bulletin board is usually full of up-to-date pictures and notes.
3. So many pictures
Speaking of pictures, those are one of my favorite decorations. From these picture collages,
to the picture magnets on my mini fridges,to these cute coasters,
my room is filled with pictures. I love constantly being surrounded by reminders of great memories and wonderful friendships from the past few years.
4. Cozy mood lighting
The only overhead light in the room is a bright, fluorescent strip, so I rarely turn it on. Instead, I open my curtains during the day to let in natural light. At night, I turn on my two lamps and it’s perfectly cozy with just enough light.
5. A great scent
I’m still loving my essential oils diffuser! I look forward to coming back to my room late at night, changing into my coziest PJs, and turning on my diffuser so my room smells like lavender.
6. All of the kitchen supplies I use
There’s no room here for a stand mixer or any fancy equipment, but I have pots & pans, as well as basic spices (salt, pepper, cayenne, curry powder, garlic powder), olive oil, grapeseed oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. I can make salad dressing, roast veggies, and make simple meals using just these. During my freshman year, I had practically no cooking supplies and I remember knocking on my RAs door to see if he had pepper I could use (he did!).Now, I love having just a few basic kitchen supplies on hand so I know I can whip up something easy whenever I have a chance. I also have things like glass Tupperware containers for days I pack my lunch, plastic sandwich bags, parchment paper for roasting veggies…you know, all of the little kitchen things.
7. Some of the “extras” that I’d enjoy having at home
Thank goodness for online shopping because for the past two years, I shared a car with my older sister and it was parked about a mile from my dorm, which made grocery & school supply shopping extra challenging. Thankfully, I have a much better parking spot this year, but I still love online shopping for its convenience. For all of my college essentials, I’m a huge Amazon Prime advocate. I can spend a few minutes online ordering whatever I need and then two days later, I have a package waiting for me.
For college students, Amazon offers Amazon Prime Student, which is a great deal. There’s no cost for the first six months, and after that, it’s only $49 per year, half the price of a regular Amazon Prime membership. My favorite perk of Amazon Prime/Amazon Prime Student is free two-day shipping, but the membership also includes unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Prime Video.
My latest Amazon Prime delivery included lots of kitchen/food related items (a thermostat for packing lunches, replacement filters for my PUR water filtration system, organic powdered PB, & natural parchment paper), plus a stability ball for my new study set-up, and lots & LOTS of textbooks.
I order my textbooks almost exclusively through Amazon Prime since its prices are lower than the campus bookstore or a lot of other websites, and the books arrive so fast. I ordered my textbooks last Thursday, and they showed up on Saturday afternoon, with a few days to spare before classes started on Tuesday. For a sometimes procrastinator like me, Amazon Prime is a lifesaver.
So tell me…
Are you an Amazon Prime user?
What little touches do you use to make your dorm room/house/apartment feel like home?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Faith VanderMolen says
Ah, I so wish I had my Dad here in China to help me hang stuff and build things! Definitely miss his construction skills:) Love your room! Looks so cozy and welcoming!
Dads are the best at all of that! And thanks, Faith 🙂
Ellen @ My Uncommon Everyday says
Prime is the BEST. UChicago isn’t in the most convenient setting with regard to shopping, so if I want/need something mid-week, it’s usually cheaper and easier to just order it in and have it in two days. Prime Pantry, Music, and Video are some of my favorite things ever, and buying textbooks and having them sent to the dorm is so nice. I also love that Amazon buys back a lot of textbooks or lets you rent them. And clearly I could gush about Amazon forever and ever 🙂
Your room is so cute! I love your color scheme!
Yes to textbook renting! I rent almost all of my textbooks these days and it’s such a big money saver. And thanks, Ellen!
Who would want to live off-campus with the excellent room you have?you have done a great job of putting your room together.
Thanks, Gee! Living on campus is definitely more convenient and I do really like my room!
masala girl says
Now with a room that big, living on campus isn’t that bad 😉 But the biggest perk of off campus? A FULL SHOWER.. to yourself. (And the kitchen, of course 🙂 ) So I gave in haha.
But i still live with Amazon Prime, ordering something probably at least once a week. It’s just so convenient! I also use Thrive Market a lot for natural products (like that parchment paper you have, but also aluminum and recyclable/natural bags, food, etc.)
When is your first day?
Both definitely have their perks! My mom and sister both love Thrive Market. My first day was actually Tuesday! 🙂
Love these tips! I love having pictures around my dorm and quotes. Makes it feel so much cozier for me. And the quotes give me daily inspiration!
Love having a few meaningful quotes in my room, too!
Love all these tips, I don’t live in a dorm room but I do live in a very very small studio apartment so I think most of these tips can apply to me too:) And I love having lots of pictures and quotes everywhere!
I’m an amazon prime member for sure. I NEVER buy textbooks anymore because I love that I can rent them for usually pretty cheap on amazon prime.
YES! I’ve turned into an exclusive textbook renter since they’re usually hard to sell at the end of the semester or you can’t get that much back for them!
Kristy from Southern In Law says
Your dorm is SO cute, girl! For me, one of my favourite ways to make a space feel like home is to fill it with framed photos and canvases, little trinkets we’ve collected around the world (we always pick up something to remind us of a place – a buddha from Bali, sweet little marble elephants from indonesia, shells we found on the beach on Norfolk island etc) and delicious smelling candles!
Oh I wish we could have candles! They’re not allowed in our dorms but I would love that, especially as pumpkin spice candle season is approaching here 🙂
YOUR dorm room is like a dream. I would love to live there and learn from you and your organizational skillzz! 🙂 It is seriously so so beautiful. I love all the signs. All of it just makes a dorm room seem like home.
Thank you, Emily!!
Aaron C. says
Excellent article. I wish I had these tips when I was in college. Thanks for writing!