• Decorating College Dorm Rooms

    A dorm room doesn't offer a lot of chances to fulfill the decorating urge. There isn't much space, and the rules may not give you a lot of flexibility. At the same time, many students want (almost desperately) to give their dorm room a comfortable, homey feel. This is the first time they've been out of the nest for such an extended period of time. Here are some thoughts to help prepare for all that.

    1. Find out in advance what the dimensions of the dorm room are. You need to know the size of the bed, the size of the blank space on the walls, the size of the floor area, the size of the desk and dresser if those are provide. This will help you plan your decorations.

    2. Know the rules. Every dormitory will have different rules. You may not be allowed to hang things on the walls at all, or there may be rules about how you're allowed to affix them if you do. Certain types of lamps or other fixtures may also be prohibited.

    3. Discuss things with your (future) roommate. Ideally, you'll be able to coordinate your efforts. If not, you'll at least need to define who gets to decorate which parts of the room. The coziest decorations in the world won't be so cozy if there's an argument over whether the decoration should be there at all.

    With that in mind, here are some simple decorations that may work.

    A Rug

    Bare feet on a dorm room floor in winter can wake you up in a way that's less than pleasant. A large rug can be luxurious to walk on. The look of the rug alone can warm the room up by hiding the institutional flooring.

    A Good Lamp

    You need a lamp that provides light on the desktop and another one that provides light for your bed. You'll be studying in both places. Ideally, you can have a wall-mounted lamp just above the desk so that it doesn't take up any real estate that you need for your books and notes. The rules may prohibit this, however. Another solution is to get a swing arm lamp that you can clamp to the edge of the desk. A similar lamp may work for the bed as well.

    A Comfortable Mattress Pad

    The mattresses in dorm rooms are often functional but nothing more. You can add in your own mattress pad to increase the comfort of a night's sleep without taking up any space in the room.

    Large Pillows

    Large pillows can also soften the room and provide comfort when sitting on the floor. They do take up space, which is a drawback. But they can easily be tossed aside or pile in a corner, which is a plus.

    A File Cabinet

    This will come in handier than you can imagine. But it also takes up space. You may want to coordinate with your roommate to share a file cabinet, each of you taking two drawers. If possible, get the wider, "legal" sized file cabinet to accommodate papers that are wider than the standard eleven inches.