One of the best parts about going to college is getting to decorate your dorm room. It's exciting to come up with a new color scheme, find new décor that is much more you and not your parents, and get to decorate a place that you can call your own (for the year). After decorating my own, and helping friends decorate their rooms, there are a few tips and tricks I've learned. The rules vary from school to school, so keep that in mind. And now, here are the do's and don'ts of dorm room decorating:
1. Don't overdo it.
Terry Guillemets said "clutter smothers, simplicity breaths." It's easy to go overboard when decorating your dorm room. I think it is pretty safe to say that you know you are not going to have endless amounts of space. The key to dorm room decorating is simplicity. Your room will look much more clean and put together if you don't go overboard with decorations.
2. Do find out exactly what furniture you are going to have in your dorm.
Most dorm rooms come with a bed, desk, dresser, and a small closet space. Sometimes the furniture can go underneath your bed if you choose. This is a major space savor, but remember if it's going under your bed, then you are probably not going to have all the cute décor on your dresser, etc. Bottom line, if the school is supplying you with something, then there is no need for you to bring it too.
3. Don't buy all your decorations ahead of time.
First of all, it makes moving into the dorm even harder. Second of all, until you actually see the place in person, you aren't going to know exactly what you need/want. It's easy to buy things when you see them, but make a trip to the store once you see what things like your bedspread look like in your room. Chances are you are probably going to have to go buy some more storage containers anyway. Just wait. Your vision may change when you see the space.
4. Don't try to put your room together in an hour.
This plays off of #3. For some reason I thought my dorm had to be 100% done the second I got there. I bugged my parents to buy all the décor I thought I wanted before I got to school. My mom told me wait, and I am so glad I did. I was able come up with a design that I liked, display all of my photographs, and organize my stuff accordingly. My room was officially finished a few weeks into school, and it was unique to me.
5. Don't break the bank.
Stores like Hobby Lobby and Target make it hard to not spend a lot of money. With endless amounts of cute décor it is easy to spend a lot and it's not necessary. It's a great possibility that next year you are going to have a different bedspread, a whole new color scheme, and want something different for décor. So, don't go overboard. It's a dorm room that you'll live in for a year, not the rest of your life. And if you find something you just have to have, stick to neutral colors. They are much more versatile than the neon pink, purple, and blue, you're eyeing.
6. Do consider getting a rug for your room.
I didn't have a rug in my dorm Freshmen year, and looking back I wish I did. It may not have been high priority, but it would have been nice to have. I often sat on my floor to do my hair and make-up in front of my mirror and it wasn't the end of the world to not have one, but it would've been nice. It also can add a pop of color and even tie your whole room together. Another thing... keep in mind a white rug WILL get dirty.
7. Don't initially buy everything you consider essential.
You may love that cute coffee table and think you have to have it, but a month or so into school it is just something that takes up space. The only chair you need is the one at your desk. Before you go buying certain things think about what purpose it would serve, and if it is complimentary to the space you are given.
8. Do be aware that you plan on joining a sorority you most likely will be getting decorations.
If you are planning on joining Greek life then there is a good chance you will end up getting gifts, especially when Big/Little week rolls around. You are going to be proud to represent your organization and will probably want to hang them up somewhere in your room. This goes back to #3 and #4. Don't rush to decorate because you'll want to rep your letters!
9. Don't match your stuff to your roommates.
We've all seen the movies with two best friends going off to college and decorating their room with the same color scheme. It's okay to not have a room that is all 'matchy-matchy.' It's okay to let your different personalities shine through. Don't get too obsessed with having the perfect matching room. One of you will end up settling if you do, and half-way through the year you aren't going to like your décor.
Side Note: If you and your roommate agree on a color scheme, and you both love it... Go for it! Your room will look great, and it will be fun to decorate together!
10. Do be careful with what you put on the walls.
What goes up on the walls must come down. Keep in mind that your university may have restrictions on whether or not you can use things like nails. Also, if you are one to switch things up from time to time and think there is a possibility that you might want to change some things around once the first semester ends, then nails are definitely not the way to go. There are a lot of great alternatives!
11. Do know the items that are prohibited.
Sadly, there are just some things that can't come with you. This list of items varies from school to school, so make sure to check out what things you can't have in your dorm room. Often this list will include things such as candles and hot plates.
12. Do be aware that closet space is limited.
While packing you will probably go through all your possessions and get rid of things you no longer need. However, when it comes to clothes be careful. Some of the things you never really wore before you may wear all the time and some things you always wore you'll never wear again. You are likely going to have to fit your entire wardrobe in about half the space you have at home. Be selective. While it's hard to know exactly everything you want before you actually get to college, note the clothes you don't need while you're there and bring them back at Thanksgiving or Winter Break. Plan accordingly.
There are so many things to do and consider when going off to college. I hope this list was helpful. Have any additional tips that you think people should know? Comment them below!