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5 Ideas For Transforming Your Dorm Into A Home Away From Home

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

I won’t sugarcoat it, dorm life isn’t always the most glamorous. Living off of microwaved Trader Joe’s foods and being surrounded by various shades of beige isn’t exactly what they show in the movies. Let’s just say, a Hedrick plaza is nothing like Rachel Berry’s NYADA apartment

Though, less can be more. As a third year dorm resident, I have perfected the art of transforming this small, bleak room into a place I love. I believe it’s so important to be happy in your space in order to feel productive and positive overall. 

Without further ado, here are my tips for transforming a tiny college dorm into a cozy home away from home:

External Lighting

I’m sorry, but I can’t stand the lighting in the dorms. In my opinion, it kind of gives the entire room a yellowish tint. My solution is external lighting. This can take many forms, bedside lamps, a slip or light or my personal favorite, fairy lights. Lighting like this helps create a cozier atmosphere, without having the lights completely on or off. The vibes are so much better for unwinding and reading when I can have the overhead lights off while my fairy lights keep my room dimly lit. 

Candle Warmer (Or Anything That Smells Good)

Unfortunately, we can’t have open flames in the dorms, which means no lighting candles. Getting a candle warmer has been my way around this rule. The candle sits on a plate that warms up, melting the candle and making the room smell good. I love changing my candle with the seasons (right now, it’s pumpkin pecan waffles scented). Alternatively, a wax melter or oil diffuser can serve this same purpose. 

Wall Art

I’m all for making your room feel like you. An easy and cheap way to do this is covering the walls with everything you love. For me, that’s pictures of my favorite music artists and cute art from Pinterest. Almost all of the stuff on my wall I have printed myself, but it looks just as good as if I bought it. 

Knick Knacks

For the sake of saving space, some may disagree with me on this one. While it’s important to not create clutter, bringing a few little less-functional things from home doesn’t hurt. In fact, I think little items like these are what really makes the space feel personalized and like I’m back in my bedroom. From a cute plushie (shown above), to my row of Sonny Angels, these little trinkets make the room feel warmer.

Hobby Items

Again, it’s important not to go overboard to prevent clutter. However, having the materials to do something enjoyable and not school-related helps me to de-stress. This can take the form of so many things, depending on what you like to do. For me, it’s a basket of my crochet materials. For others it may be a yoga mat, books, art supplies, you name it. 

If you are also sitting in a college dorm right now, aching for your bedroom at home, I hope these tips can help you give your space a makeover. There is beauty in simplicity; I’ve really come to enjoy my little room and I hope you can enjoy yours too!

Lily is a third year Political Science major at UCLA from Sarasota, FL. In her free time, she loves binge-watching sitcoms, listening to music, and finding new coffee shops.