How To Make Your Dorm Room Actually Feel Like Home

“Welcome home, Buckeyes!”

I can’t tell you how many variations of that phrase I heard in the couple of days before, during and after I moved into my dorm. Tough, my dorm didn’t have quite the same charm as it did at the start of my freshman year; having to live in a little shoebox for the second year in a row can be absolutely draining. Not to mention the fact that when I opened the door to my room, it was just as drab as I’d known it would be. The floors? Gray. Blinds? Gray. Bed frame? Wow, you got it…gray.


That gray melancholy didn’t last long, though, thank goodness. With a little planning, lots of fairy lights and more orders from Amazon than I’d like to admit, my roommate and I managed to turn our room into a place that absolutely exudes happiness.

Decorating a tiny living space in a way that works for two different people can be really difficult, so obviously make sure to talk to your roommate before making any changes. That being said, here are a few ways that I managed to turn my room into my home.


1. L-Shaped Bed Layout:

I know, I know, this is a strange one to start off with, but bear with me. My freshman year, we kept the desks and beds in the same placement that they’re originally put in. This year, though, we decided to try putting our beds in an “L-shape” against the far side of the room and on the side of the window. It simultaneously opens the space up and makes it homier. Ten out of 10 would recommend.

Photo via MidCityEast

2. Rugs:

This one’s a no-brainer. Some light-colored fuzzy rugs will instantly make a room feel more comfortable, and they work double-time by covering up some of those drab floor tiles.

3. Fairy Lights (Obviously):

Hang. These. On. Everything. Outline the ceiling with them, drape them over tapestries and wrap them around pictures. They work anywhere and everywhere.

Photo via Society19

4. Tapestries:

This one was already alluded to in the fairy-light point, but fun tapestries are one of the best ways to personalize your room and make it your own.

5. Pictures:

This is another thing to help remind people that your dorm is a room and not a prison cell. Pictures with friends and family members are a surefire way to brighten your day.

6. Plants:

I’ll be the first to admit I have the furthest possible thing from a green thumb. I have exactly zero real plants in my room, but I do have four adorable fake ones scattered around! If you have the ability to grow your own plants, by all means, do so, but if you’re like me, fake plants are JUST as cute.

Photo via Bloomscape

7. Throw Pillows:

They’re soft, they’re cute, and you can nap on them. Enough said.

8. Blankets:

See above point about throw pillows.

9. Closet Curtains:

If your organizational skills leave something more to be desired, hanging up a curtain on an extendable curtain rod is an easy way to cover up the pile of unfolded clothes in the back of your closet. Plus, you can find ones with cute colors and patterns that will 100% tie your room together.

10. Organization:

Again, see the above point. A couple of fabric storage bins from Target are the fastest way to flip your room from a before to an after shot of a Marie Kondo episode.


A Couple More Tips That Make All The Difference: 

  • Our bed frames were excessively tall, so when we junior-lofted our beds, the frames were depressing, towering distractions in the middle of our room. If possible, remove any excess pieces of the bed frame that you can while still keeping the setup safe. In our case, we were able to remove so much that there wasn't any part of the frame above our mattress which meant more wall space.
  • Make sure to have your roommate looking over your shoulder when you’re hanging up pictures, tapestries or anything else. It’s sometimes hard to tell if a decoration is straight unless you’re looking at a distance.