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10 Dorm Decor Essentials for a Freshman From a Freshman

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

When preparing to finally spread your wings and venture off into the new beginning of college, every girl dreams of dorm life. While part of the appeal stems from having more freedom and gaining your own space, a great deal of joy comes from decorating the dorm room too. College is a fresh start for many and an opportunity to pick and choose decor that fits your own personal style. 

What they don’t prepare you for is the blank and dreary cinder block walls that greet you when you move in. Of course, I’d seen TikToks and done all my research on what would be needed to survive within a dorm room, but I still found myself surprised by what items are functional while also fitting my aesthetic. I’ve compiled a list of these essentials below to make your life easier, take my word for it!

Candle warmer

Amazon Candle Warmer Lamp(opens in a new tab)

There is quite possibly nothing better than coming back from a long day of class and being greeted by the glorious smells produced by a candle warmer. A lit candle is strictly forbidden by all on campus housing due to the obvious fire hazard. However, I felt myself being put in a worse mood when I would come home to the damp smell of my dorm. I missed the smells of candles that my mom would always have lit at home, especially during the holidays. A candle warmer is the perfect solution, seeing as it does not deal with a lit flame but provides all the warm feelings associated with a candle. Not to mention the candle warmer serves a dual purpose seeing as it is designed to look like a lamp (a cute one, at that).

Mini fridge

Mini Fridge

A mini fridge falls more under the category of essentials rather than aesthetic. However, they now come in all shapes and colors, and it cannot be stressed enough how useful having one can be. I currently have my mini fridge tucked away under my bed and I love keeping it stocked with all of my girly drinks (shout out Poppi and Ollipop)!

Storage Cubbies

Graphite Cube Organizer

By far, the top problem I hear my friends complaining about is storage. Where does one keep all their stuff? The most convenient answer: storage cubbies. It saves so much space, especially if you are in a smaller room or will be sharing your space with someone else. Another way to make life easier is to label each cubby with what will be stored inside, from extra sheets to wash supplies.

Tiered carts

3-Tier Pink Cart

One of the most multifunctional pieces one can invest in is a tiered cart. They fit the clean girl aesthetic that is extremely popular these days and come in so many colors; there is always a choice to fit your room theme. The beautiful dusty pink cart linked above has had 84% of buyers leave a five-star review, highlighting its versatility and maneuverability.

Behind toilet shelves

Amazon Toilet Storage

A staple for the bathroom has to be shelving behind the toilet. From poo pourri to makeup wipes, this is another “hack,” per say, on how to create more storage within the small dorm space. Installation is fairly easy, and this is something you can absolutely keep and use in the future as well.

cute wall art

Champagne Problems Print

Preppy Wall Art

Wall art allows for the utmost creative expression. Whether repping your favorite artist or matching your own unique style, wall art definitely distracts from the jail cell feel that goes hand in hand with dorm walls. Adding the art and final touch accents at the end are what can truly bring a space together.

Closet Curtain

Sheer Ivory Curtain

Not only will dorm life downsize your closet space exponentially, but the majority of the closet spaces on campus will also not have doors! This is not the biggest problem in the grand scheme of things, but when trying to find small ways to make your room pop, consider a closet curtain! It looks far chicer and cleaner than having all the attention drawn to your overflowing wardrobe.

FLoating shelves

Pink Floating Shelves

Pastel Flower Shelves

Floating shelves are a genius way to display whatever you feel may create clutter on your desk. Mine hold anything from perfume to hand sanitizer, even my polaroid camera. And of course, there is the added bonus that you are able to place these shelves wherever you see fit!

rugs & bathroom rugs

Madison Collection Rug

Pink Bathroom Rug

Rugs can get pricey pretty fast, but Amazon has some great cost-effective options. When looking for a rug, it is important to consider that the best option may not be the flashiest. Having a more neutral piece with pops of color may work better in a confined space!

Neon Sign

Custom Neon Sign

Another strictly forbidden item within dorms is LED light strips and any type of fairy lights. A fun alternative to this is a customizable LED sign that functions as lighting. It can still give your room a fun glow in whatever color you desire, and most companies offer the ability to personalize what your sign says as well!

I hope this list helps your college dorm feel more like a home!

Ava Jessum is a writer for Her Campus UCF! She is currently a freshman majoring in Journalism. You can most commonly find her reading, listening to music, and visiting her two puppies (Skippy & Ruby). In the future Ava hopes to pursue a career as a broadcast journalist and can see herself working anywhere within the country. Her interests include travel, social dynamics, and criminal justice.