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10 Ways To Make Your Dorm Room Feel More Homey

Each year of college is equally scary and exciting. With a new set of tough classes and fresh faces, it’s easy to get overwhelmed thinking about the unknown. At the end of the day, you deserve a comfy room to relax and de-stress in! We’ve rounded up the best tips for making your dorm feel more like home. Happy decorating, collegiettes!

1. Cover Your Wall With Magazine Pages

Flip through your favorite mags and tear out anything that catches your eye. Whether it’s a chic outfit, a cute puppy, or a gorgeous island paradise, it should make you smile! Check out these tips for turning old magazine pages into wall art. It’s like your Pinterest board came to life!


“I always cut photos out of ELLE magazine and put them on my wall. I just love the pics and they make me feel awesome and make me think of outfit ideas.”
-Anna T., HC Nottingham Campus Correspondent

2. Add Cozy Touches

You don’t need to spend a fortune on fancy dorm décor. The best pieces are ones that make you feel comfortable. Check out websites like OCM [ocm.com] or design magazines like Pottery Barn Teen for inspiration, or look for similar items at local retailers or chain stores like Target. Little details like bright sheets and furry rugs can go a long way!


“Our Campus Market (OCM) has some great discounts on really cute stuff. I usually go there when I want to add unique accessories to make my room stand out.”
-Shelly P., senior, University of Virginia

3. Make A Photo Collage

Photos remind us of our friends and family back home. When displayed on your wall, their smiling faces are sure to cheer you up every day! Go artsy and tape the pictures up in a neat shape, or try putting ribbons around them for a pretty effect.


“I wanted to create a whimsical design in my dorm room but I also wanted to hang up my pictures. I decided on making a heart collage and adding some fun lights to set a relaxed tone.”
-Rachel C., HC Hofstra Campus Correspondent

4. Personalize Your Stuff

Monograms aren’t just for the preppy-hearted! Monogrammed pillowcases, toiletry bags, and embroidered baskets can make a new space feel more like yours. In a brand new room, monogrammed items add just the right dose of familiarity. Check out Etsy for some great options, like these cool pillow covers.


“My best friend got me an aqua-colored ‘L’ bulletin board before I left for college. I had never been a fan of displaying initials, but now it’s my prized possession!”
-Leah B., junior, UC Riverside

5. Leave Room for Sips and Sweets

Make space for special treats that remind you of home. Whether it’s a batch of your mom’s fudge brownies or a favorite mug for your morning coffee, dedicate a shelf or side table for these items. If you’re in the mood for baking something on your own, try one of these yummy recipes!


“My parents and I used to have cookies and tea together during chilly evenings. Now that I’m at school in Southern California, cold nights are a rarity. But when I miss my parents, I brew myself a cup and Skype them. It’s our little way of connecting when I feel homesick.”
-Allison C., junior, Chapman University

6. Keep it Organized

When things get crazy with schoolwork, organizing your room is probably low on your list of priorities. But eventually, this can take a major toll on your room: your carpet performs a disappearing act underneath all your stuff and your closet starts to overflow. We’ve all been there! But when you’re working with limited space, it’s important to make that extra effort to put things away. Trust us, you’ll be happier and less stressed the next day… especially when you can find your shoes before you race off to your morning class! Check out this space-saving shoe organizer from Bed Bath & Beyond to get you started.


“I had always been organized in high school, but things changed in college. I was so busy that I never had time to clean my room. Then my parents came to visit and helped me get things back in order – we bought plastic containers in different sizes and my mom helped me sort my stuff. That really helped me out, and I’ve been motivated to keep it up ever since!”
-Kellie H., sophomore, Pomona College

7. Bring Your Teddy Bear

Okay, so it might be something else… like a favorite childhood book or a soft blanket. Whatever it is, it’ll remind you of the good old days at home. You don’t have to be embarrassed if you like having your stuffed animals around – a furry friend adds a cute touch to your bedspread. So if you find yourself missing family members and other loved ones, pull out your treasured item and remind yourself that you’ll see them soon enough!


“I felt so cheesy bringing my kiddy blanket to college, but it seriously helps me sleep at night. I hid it under my covers, which worked pretty well until my roomie found it one day. I told her what it was and she actually thought it was a super cute idea. She even asked her parents to FedEx hers to our dorm!”
-Christine L., freshman, Georgetown University

8. Make it Inviting

Turn your room into the hangout spot in the whole dorm. Add comfy seating, mood lighting, and some quirky wall decals. Comfy extras like floor cushions can be stored under your bed to save space. With such an inviting atmosphere, your friends will love coming over to hang out after class! Try hosting a movie night and whipping up some of these rocky road bars. You don’t even have to bake them!


“I’m living in a single room, so I usually have people over on the weekends. My room may be small, but it’s really nice inside. I hung old movie posters on the wall and found some velvet cushions in pretty jewel tone colors. Also, I always keep a stash of snacks to serve when I have visitors!”
-Tammie B., sophomore, Northwestern University

9. Embrace the Holidays

It’s normal to miss home and feel lonely in your new surroundings. You’re used to a full house, warmed by friends and family. So get festive and decorate your dorm for the holidays! It’ll remind you of home and really add some color to your space.
Some residence halls even decorate during major holidays like Halloween and Christmas. Better yet, grab your roomie and get her in on the fun — it’ll make for a fun bonding experience. Get inspired with these cool Halloween decorating ideas!


“Freshman year, my friends and I talked to our RA about decorating the entire building for Halloween. She agreed and we even had a door decorating contest. It was awesome walking around and looking at the crazy ideas people came up with… there were furry faux spiders taped to doors, giant cardboard pumpkins, and green neon lights!”
-Sierra W., junior, University of Washington

10. Bring Your Old Comforter from Home

It might sound weird to recycle your old bedspread, but why not try it? Even though most collegiettes purchase new ones for their dorms, it’s really not all that necessary (as long as your old one is still in decent condition!). Sleeping in a new bed might be uncomfortable at first, so being surrounded by your well-loved covers will ease any anxiety. If you want comfort and a new look, repurpose your duvet like Emma R. from UCLA.


“When I moved into my new room, I decided to keep my duvet since it was still in great shape. But I wanted a new look, so my sister helped me sew on patches and make it look completely vintage! The best part is that I don’t have to worry about anyone else having the same one!
-Emma R., freshman, UCLA

How do you make your dorm room feel homey?

Dani Wong is a sophomore at the University of San Francisco, where she is double majoring in media studies and journalism. After her short story was published in a recent book, she decided to explore a new facet of writing and became involved with student newspapers and magazines. Between interning, taking classes, and exploring San Francisco, Dani is embracing the new opportunities that city life brings. Her true loves include traveling, taking photographs, playing sports and anything food related!