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Shabby to Chic: 5 Tips for Decorating Your Dorm

For a lot of first years, this is the first time you’ve lived away from home. Having your own space can feel a little strange, and it doesn’t help that McGill’s Residences can be a little drab. I’ve compiled a few tips to help you turn your Rez room into a home-away-from-home, without breaking any rules!

Decorate the walls

Hanging some posters, a tapestry or even some interesting textiles can make a huge difference to the look of your room. You can go for something bold and eye-catching to detract from an unpleasant wall texture (read: Upper Rez rooms) or something that complements the colours already present. You can hang decorations using blue tack, or Command Hooks!

I recommend Amazon or Society 6 for some great pieces.

Choose interesting bedding

It may be tempting to go for something neutral when you’re picking your bedding, but this might just make the room feel a little sterile. Consider going for an interesting colour or texture, or even throwing on a blanket from home! In most Rez rooms, the bed is the biggest piece of furniture in the room, so it’s prime real estate for decorating. A few cute throw pillows won’t hurt either!

Light it up!

It may seem a little obvious, but putting up some lights really does improve a small space. Dorm rooms can be dark, especially as we move into winter and the days get shorter! Hanging some string lights or even buying a lamp or two really brings the room to life and helps you concentrate if you’re studying in the evening. Sunlight lamps are also a great idea – they’re definitely a mood booster and, according to McGill, an adequate solution to mental health concerns!*

Cover the floor

Whether it’s a strange blue-grey carpet or a shiny yellow linoleum, Rez floors just aren’t great. Don’t be afraid to cover them up with some rugs – even a well-placed, small carpet can make a big difference. Shag rugs are a great way to create cozy vibes, while woven carpets add interesting texture and patterns. Check out Walmart, Simons, or even McGill’s Free & for Sale!


Add some touches from home

Everyone gets homesick eventually, whether it’s your family or your old bedroom that you miss. Adding some things that remind you of what you consider home will make those hard days a little easier. Frame some photos of friends and family or “rehome” some knick-knacks from your parents’ house! Even a familiar piece of artwork will help you adjust to your new environment.

Happy decorating!

Lauren is the Campus Correspondent of HC McGill, in her third year of university. She is an Anthropology major with a minor in English Literature, and is passionate about her dog, her bed and archaeology.
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