10 Ways to Make Your Dorm Feel Like Home

Lifestyle Consultant, Designer, and Speaker

Whether you shop at Wal-Mart, Pottery Barn, or the family attic, here are some tips for making your college dorm room as comfortable as your favorite pair of jeans.

Calling all college students: put away your wallets and listen up! This is not another one of those “dorm room decor makeover” articles. You may not realize it, but your surroundings, even dorm room decorating, can play a huge role in your college experience.

It’s hard to control mammoth reading lists, looming term papers, and overpopulated 101 classes, but guess what, whether you live in a dorm, a frat or sorority, or an off-campus apartment, your room can be your sanctuary during the tough times as well as the good ones. So take control over where you live—it just might affect how you feel and how you function, academically and socially.

So, without further ado, here are 10 (affordable!) ways to make your college dorm feel more comfortable and homey.

  1. Comfort Living: A Back-to-Basics Guide to a More Balanced LifestyleComfort words. Define what you’re looking for in your dorm space. What words describe how you want to feel in your dorm room? Keep those words and goals in mind as you make changes that shift the emphasis onto you want to feel, instead of how you want your room to look. Have your roommates do it too!
  2. Your bed. Sleep is critical, so make sure your bed doesn’t get in your way. Try adding an egg crate foam topper or spend $10 for a better pillow. It’s worth it. Bring a pillowcase, blanket, or comforter from your old room for a bit of home-grown TLC.
  3. A light timer. Wouldn’t you rather return to the warm glow of lamplight instead of a dark and empty room? One practical tool: buy a light timer ($5 at the hardware store). Then set it to turn on in the evening and to go off before bed. It will be a gentle signal that says, “Welcome home!”
  4. Your floor. A rug underfoot makes getting up in the morning just a bit better. Even an $8.99 bath mat can work wonders, or you can go bigger for more comfort.
  5. Your walls. Claim your wall space in a big way! How about a flag of your home state or country, a collage of posters, 8” x 12” photos, or a patchwork of sarongs or tie-died flat sheets?
  6. Photos. Download some of favorite faces and places onto a digital frame. Placed on a night table or shelf, it’ll connect you to past memories and allow new friends to see another side of you.
  7. A comfy chair. A small corner of your room can become your “go to” place to chill out or unwind after a rough day. Options abound at yard sales, parents’ attics, and consignment stores.
  8. Music. Music is the fastest and cheapest form of relaxation transportation! Ask friends from home for their favorite songs and/or albums and make a compilation so you can all easily return to shared memories. Set up playlists to put you in different moods--for studying, for exercising, for relaxing, for partying.
  9. Books. There are plenty of guidebooks out there with tips like these, including my own! Comfort Living: A Back-to-Basics Guide to a More Balanced Lifestyle offers practical ideas, ToolBoxes, easy examples, and your own Comfort Words (see Tip #1), so you can make your day–to-day surrounding fit like your favorite pair of jeans!
  10. Christine EisnerFree advice. You can follow me on Twitter (@comfort_living) or visit www.ComfortLivingbyChristine.com to download two free essential tools for balanced living to create a lifestyle that offers comfort wherever you may be, connection with others as well as yourself, and pure joy.

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