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How to Create a Space You Love for this Upcoming Online Semester

From learning to navigate Zoom to adjusting to a transformed college social scene, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely derailed most of our lives as we knew them. Personally, this left me feeling completely unsure and unprepared during the start of this new virtual semester. Especially during such a chaotic time, it is so important to come home to (or rather stay home in) a space that feels productive, happy, and safe. Whether you are living in a dorm, an apartment, or your childhood bedroom- here are my (an interior design major’s) top 6 tips on creating a space you love for this upcoming online semester.

Get Inspired

Whether you are starting completely from scratch or upgrading your Hannah Montana-themed room at home, it is so important that you choose an aesthetic for your room that you are in love with. Don’t be afraid to take inspiration from (or even completely copy-cat off of) bedrooms you see on Pinterest or Instagram. There is no such thing as interior design plagiarism!!! Look through social media for photos of spaces that make you happy when you see them- this is what you want to feel every time you walk into your own bedroom! 


Ask yourself these questions: 

How do you want this room to feel?

How do you want this room to function?


Allow your answers to these questions to guide you in your design. For example, if you want your room to feel fun and energetic- use bright, warm colors and diverse textures. If you want this room to function primarily as a workspace- focus most of your efforts on your work area and create an environment you know you can work in best.

Rearrange your Furniture

Rearranging your furniture is a great way to make space feel new. Switching up your layout can make a room feel re-done without spending any money. It can also help you disassociate your bedroom with the past and focus on the future. This will likely increase your motivation a LOT.

Focus On Your Study Space

With classes going all-online, it is so important that you feel motivated and productive at home. Your study space is going to be the most important feature of your room for the next semester- so give it lots of love!!! 


Try to recreate environments you usually like to study in on campus. For example, if you love studying in the library, focus on creating a space that is clean, quiet, and minimal. Know yourself and your study habits and do your best to create an environment that will lend itself to them. Invest in good lighting, incorporate greenery, get a comfortable desk chair, etc. 

Keep your workspace clean and organized. If your desk is full of clutter- your mind will be too. Stock up on supplies you know you will need, but keep things visually minimal to avoid getting easily overwhelmed in your space. The best way to do this is with desk drawer organizers or a desktop organizer, like these from Amazon.

Make Storage Your B****

If you are living in a dorm or a small apartment- good storage is crucial!!! If your tiny space is cluttered- your brain will feel cluttered too. Utilize all the sneaky storage space you have (like under your bed or in your closet).

I love these in-closet hanging shoe organizers from Amazon. They store a LOT of shoes in a super small space and eliminate the need for a clunky eyesore of a shoe rack (totally ruins the vibe).

Underbed storage is easily the best and most effective way to hide your clutter- especially if you have a half-lofted dorm bed. You can get drawers or tubs like the ones from these literally anywhere. 

Fill ‘em up (preferably in an organized fashion) and ta-da! Everything is tucked away. If you want, you can even get a bed skirt to hide the remaining evidence. 

This jewelry organizer (or something similar) has been so helpful to me living in a dorm this year. It holds all kinds of jewelry and it’s the perfect way to keep all the little pieces organized- plus you get to show them off!!!

These rolling carts have been my favorite dorm storage hack so far. These are SO versatile and can store any random stuff you have. If you want it to look a little less cluttered, you can store things in baskets inside the cart too.

Incorporate Relaxation

This semester, separating work and play will be harder than ever. That’s why it is so important that you incorporate relaxation into your space. Give yourself the ability to step away from your work without feeling like it’s looming over you. Below is a list of some of my favorite ways to relax and unwind- even if you can’t leave your house! 


Candles (don’t tell my RA!!!)


Essential oil diffusers 

Lamps, fairy lights, or basically anything other than the horrific overhead LED light 

Comfy throw pillows and throw blankets

Fill Your Space With Things That Make YOU Happy

This space is going to be your office, bedroom, hangout, EVERYTHING for the next semester- you should love it!!! So whether your aesthetic aligns perfectly with trending pictures on Pinterest or not, fill your room with things that make YOU happy. Your favorite color, favorite animal, etc. 


One idea I love is to create a mood board. Go on Pinterest or Instagram and find photos that you love. Ones that make you happy or inspire you or make you laugh. You can pin these to a corkboard or make a collage wall and all of the sudden your room will be brightened by the things that simply make you happy.

Hi! My name is Eleanor Conner and I’m a freshman at NCSU. I’m from Asheville, North Carolina and I’m majoring in Design Studies with a concentration in Interior Design and a minor in Business and Entrepreneurship. I'm a member of Delta Gamma and I am on the social media team for Her Campus NCSU! I also currently serve as VP of Communications for Circle of Sisterhood at NC State. In my free time, I like to go out with friends, go shopping, workout, and drink coffee! I'm passionate about writing about design and lifestyle related topics, and I'm so excited to be working with Her Campus NCSU!
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