Often we college students first enter their new, cold, white dorm rooms, home is not the word that comes to mind. It is a blank prison cell that they are being forced to live in for the next year or more. Yet, it does not have to be that way. There are many simple ways to make a dorm room feel more like home.

1. Lighting

The lighting of a room is what sets the mood. The harsh, bright lights can make someone feel as if they are being studied under a microscope or remind them to much of a classroom. I was fortunate enough to get a room that has a light dimmer. If your room does not have one of these installed, then forget the light switch and by lamps or stringed lights. Colored bulbs in lamps is another good idea to help set a chilled, relaxed mood.

2. Scented items

Two or more people living in an area with their dirty laundry, smelly shoes, and daily food can add up to some funky smells. To avoid this, it is best to get some kind of scented items. If you campus allows, a candle warmers and wax warmers are a great idea. But some college, like mine, do not allow any open flames or hot plates in the dorms. There for I have a air freshener dispenser. These are wonderful for you can get different scents and they last longer than candles or wax cubes. They are also safer in a dorm for they are rather unlikely to catch on fire. But, be warned. Do not place this somewhere that you will lean over. Mine use to be placed by my window until I leaned over to look out the window and got air freshener spread in my face.

3. Rugs

Hard wood floors are cold and, well, hard. If you are lucky to have carpet, it is probably not soft or plush. To combat this, buy a nice, beautiful, fluffy rug. You can find rugs almost anywhere in almost any patter. You can buy one big one or many small ones. You can even make your own with some fabric and yarn. It is simple and brings color into the blank space that you were presented with at the beginning of the year.

4. Pets

Having something that depends on you or waits for you to come "home" is always nice and makes walking into that small room so much better. Some colleges have programs that allow students to have pets. Yet, if those programs do not apply to you, then most colleges allow you to have a fish. Even though you can not cuddle a fish, the sounds of the tank is soothing and you can decorate their tanks. They are also funny to watch as you learn their personalities. They are easier to take care of and can be left alone over the weekend if you purchase weekend feeder.

5. Decorations

There is no easier way of making a space your thank by adding your own little touches. Pillows, curtains, bedding, pictures, organizational devices and knickknacks are easy ways to decorate your room. Bring stuff from home to have that familiarity or make something unique for it to be all you.

Washi Tape can be used to create designs on the walls and do not leave behind a residue when removed.

Strong Command Strips and garden pebbles make cute little jewelry holders on the wall. A white board or notepad on the door is an easy way to tell people where you are or for them to leave you a note if you are gone. The best way to design a room is to pick a theme and to do what you want. No one can tell you what to do. It is now your room.

(Please obey the dorm rules though)


While adjusting may be hard, it is easier to get use to something if it feels like it is yours. I never would have thought that I would miss my dorm room while I was at home until I went home and felt out of place. My room did not look like my room anymore. It still felt like home, but it was missing things, things that I had grown use to and learned to love about my dorm. It is a wonderful feeling to walk back into my dorm after a long day of classes to say,

"Fish! I'm home!"