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My dorm bedroom
My dorm bedroom
Anumeha Rajvanshi
Style > Decor

Creating Your Space: Learning to Furnish and Decorate as a College Student

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Freshman year of college is full of lessons. Perhaps most importantly are the ones about how to feed, bathe, and clothe yourself without the support and guidance of family or guardians. And while the basics of human maintenance are profound practices to be learned in college, you also come to find there are so many other areas of life that require the same TLC. For me, one of these pieces turned out to be the importance of creating a bedroom that supports rest and relaxation while appealing to personal style and design.

CPL Sections ROOM
Her Campus Media Design Team

My first semester on campus had me excited for an infinity of new experiences, and decorating a dorm room was certainly one of them. At 18-years-old I was pretty sure I knew who I was and what I liked— stylistically of course. I opted for a pink and gold marbled comforter, pink storage bins, wire fairy lights, a neon sign of a pink pair of lips, and a white shag rug. Now, don’t get me wrong, this room theme has potential! A cute, hyper-feminine, and bright depiction of an 18-year-old girl’s world. I don’t blame Freshman Me for making these choices. But scattered amongst the more graphicly chic decor pieces, you could see a style truer to who I am peaking through. A beautifully designed poster of Yosemite, some original artwork of Koi fish, baskets with linen covers, and vanilla candles. Much more tame you could say. And as I began peering into the rooms of my peers, I found that my decor was poorly executed compared to the surgical placement and unique stylings of others; and even then, I realized that all I’d really done was create this sparse conglomerate of the trendy fads that I thought my prospective friends would like. This was not me, and it would not do!

With a slightly better understanding of my aesthetic, I jumped into sophomore year— and because COVID-19 restrictions had lessened, I now had a roommate. With the addition of a newly white comforter outlined in small tassels, postcards picturing some of my favorite paintings and nature vistas, and a stark black bedside table, my room only resembled a slightly more mature version of the previous year. The neon, pink-lipped sign remained, as did a few other pieces. My roommate, whose side of the room was a cocoon of cozy colors and soft blankets, encouraged me to decorate the walls a bit more, to experiment with lighting, but I was hesitant to do so. While I envied the peaceful vibe her half seemed to emanate, I wasn’t quite sold on the idea of spending my energy towards bettering a perfectly functioning room. I had a desk, a bed, and a few decor pieces, what more did I really need? I’d only be there for like eight months anyway. The impermanence of it all felt wildly draining of any meaning I thought my room had. I now know that eight months can be pretty damn long.

Junior year rolled around, and this time I was determined to start off strong. My sophomore year roommate and I were now living with two other girls and I wanted everyone to think my room was cool! So, no more neon sign, no more shag rug, and no more keeping my mattress on the highest bed-frame notch out of laziness! I brought a warmly lit lamp, a wooden bedside table, an orange and yellow Persian rug, little golden sun mirrors, and increased the artwork/postcards. This was definitely my best work so far. And still, as time went on and I saw how my other apartment-mates filled their spaces, I couldn’t help but notice how still barren and cold mine felt. But this time I was only in school for a semester before studying abroad, and surely four months is actually not enough time to care. How wrong I was yet again.

At last, I’ve entered my senior year. And with the help of the same sophomore roommate that I still live with (I finally accepted her much-needed assistance), and a new tenacity learned through years of failed decorating, I am happy to say that my room is a space I am proud to show others and excited to be in. It feels lived-in while still respecting my appreciation for some minimalism. It is warm with oranges and yellows, some blues and greens, there are many blankets and pillows, plants galore, vinyl album covers perfectly arranged on my walls, soothing lighting, and intentionally placed trinkets. I feel safe in my room. I feel like it is an actual reflection of me. I’m happy to have explored being that flashy, hot-pink, graphically-styled teenager, but how comforting it is to be settled into my own nature. One of warmth and peace.

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Bella Giordano

U Mass Amherst '24

My experiences in journalism and psychology keep me motivated to find new opportunities where I can continue cultivating these skills. In my free time I find myself consistently creating passion projects, further exemplifying my love for what I do. You can find me cooking, podcasting, writing, or out for a run!