Going off to college is an exciting time, and for many students, it's their first time living alone. While moving into a dorm is a fun and rewarding experience, it can also be challenging. From making friends, to keeping a good school/life balance, to learning to be more independent, there's often a lot going on in those first few months.
But when it comes to making and maintaining a comfortable dorm room space, we've got you covered. Get tips for making your dorm room feel comfortable and practical (including keeping a few houseplants alive), ways to make laundry day easier, and cleaning and organizing advice that you can carry with you from college living and beyond.
Dorm rooms have several big responsibilities. They're meant to be your own personal hub for studying, working, relaxing, and socializing, but in a place often limited by square footage and decorating rules, it can be difficult to combine all of these aspects into one tiny room and keep it functional.
It might feel frustrating walking into one of these empty cement boxes, but think of them as blank canvasses ready to be morphed and melded. With a few inspirational images and handy tips, it can be just as personalized as your room back home (or at least close to it). These tips will transform stuffy dorms into sanctuaries conducive to late-night study sessions and cozy enough for getting a good night's sleep.
Dorm living can be notoriously sterile. While dorm rooms are meant to be a neutral space for students to decorate on their own, it can feel impossible to add warmth to cinderblock walls and shiny grey tiles. Whether you’re a brand-new freshman or a seasoned senior, living on campus doesn’t have to be beige. We turned to a few experts to ask for their insights on how to make a dorm feel chic and functional rather than drab and dated.
Houseplants are an excellent way of adding a bit of personality and coziness to a space, especially a college dorm room. With neutral colored walls, tile or wood floors, and often one window per room, a houseplant is just what a dorm needs to feel more homey. And just because a dorm isn't big on square footage, it doesn’t mean you can’t still add plants in—you'll just have to look to wall hooks and plant hangers to help make the space.
College life can be hectic, and you don't always have the time or energy to clean your room regularly. If a regular cleaning schedule just hasn't been a priority, it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to a good deep clean. But with just a bit of planning, some basic cleaning supplies, and a few instructions, you can clean a dorm room in an hour or less—okay, three hours at the most if you haven't done laundry all semester.
One of the challenges of college is potentially having to consistently do your own laundry for the first time in your life. And even if you're used to doing your own laundry, a college laundry room is a totally different experience from using a home washer and dryer.
The first step is to find out how much it costs to use the college washers and dryers. Some are free, some take quarters, and some allow electronic payment through your campus debit card or a paid laundry card. Be prepared with the correct payment method before you run out of clean clothes. You'll also have an easier experience if you have all the laundry supplies you need, such as a collapsible hamper, before you even arrive on campus. Then, it's all about establishing a laundry routine.
When moving into a college dorm, you might find that your room is small and there isn't a lot of space to put things. Even if you have left a lot of your things at your parents' house, as the semester moves on and the seasons change, you'll inevitably accumulate more clothing, decor, and the odd book or two. The trick is to find places around your room to store your stuff. And under the bed is the perfect spot.
Before you begin, make sure you take measurements of the space to ensure you have the right dimensions. That way, you will know how high storage units can be and how many containers will fit within the space.