Back to school: How to decorate your new dorm
Ah, the dorm life. Whether it’s your first foray into shared living space, it can often be tough to make your dorm room feel like a home away from home. Check out our experts' tips for adding those homey touches, maximizing the limited space and keeping in mind your roommate's preferences and personal space -- trust us, it’s important if you want a happy habitat.
Dorm room beds often are an odd size, so invest in Twin XL sheets. You might also want to consider some form of mattress padding.
And since the bed often is the centerpiece of the typical dorm room, "a great statement-making duvet is the perfect starting point," said the team at Dormify, a site for stylish dorm décor. "Our favorite [duvets] are our reversible options in Twin XL, that allow you to change up the look of your room every year, or even every week if you want!"
Lorna Montalvo, local marketing specialist for IKEA Brooklyn, suggests amping up the room with personal touches, such as "good lighting, organization tools and décor reflective of [your] style and personality."
"For many students, this is the first time they are leaving their parents for a new 'home,' " Montalvo said, "hence self-expression in their new space is of high importance."
"It is all about personal budgets, but the difference of setting up a room to the highest comfort level could be the difference from feeling good or being homesick," added Jeff Gawronski of DormCo.com.
The Dormify Team also suggests turning your bed into a daybed.
"Align the long side of your bed against a wall and place all of your pillows and throw pillows along the side against the wall to create a couch-like setting. ... Your room will instantly become the hangout!"
Wall decals also are a rising trend in dorm décor, according to Dormify.
"You can practically have objects from your home in your dorm room ... like a big, fancy chandelier or a sleek, modern bike."
Maximizing limited space
"A multipurpose ottoman tackles two common issues that college students face: storage and seating," said Kristine Kennedy, lifestyle director at Wayfair, a home décor site. She also suggests door storage units, such as towel racks and hooks, for smaller living spaces, as well as stackable storage boxes, which you can store under the bed.
"A small side table that can easily be moved around will provide a versatile surface for eating, reading and storage," Kennedy said.
To maximize under-the-bed space, look into buying bed risers so you can shove that bulky suitcase out of sight.
IKEA’s Montalvo suggested using "every possible space in your room. Add wall shelves high up to store less frequently used items; slide large totes under the bed for extra linens or clothes; [and] hooks on the wall can be used to hang just about anything you can think of."
Sharing is caring
You and your roommate most likely are going to have to share space for the whole year, so don't start off on a bad note by taking over the whole room. Respect your roomie's personal space and style, but if possible, try to coordinate on some key common ground, such as a rug or curtains.
"Coordinating with your roommate can help you both save money and create a great living space that’ll last you the year," Wayfair’s Kennedy said.
Just remember always to check your school's policies on what you can and can't bring into the room. You don't want to get slapped with a massive fine for that family mural on your wall when you move out.