Making the Most of Your Dorm Space

Student, Greencastle High School

Jan   2016



One of the most exciting aspects of the college experience is living in a dorm room. Dorms are full of new friends, long nights, and life-long memories. However, the first day you walk into your new room . . . you’re probably going to freak out. For the entire school year, you’re going to have to call 12x12 square feet home. Dorm rooms are tiny (probably even tinier than you’re imagining), so it’s going to take a lot of time and skill to make your room seem bigger and feel more comfortable.

But don’t worry! These quick and easy tips will help you make the most of your limited space:

Loft your beds

Even though it can be a pain in the butt, lofting your bed will create so much room in your cramped space, especially you and your roommate both do it. Put the TV and food under one bed and the seating under the other, or put desks under each bed. Loft beds provide much needed floor space and are well worth the effort.

Buy area rugs

Area rugs showcase you and your roommate’s personality and spirit (so talk about it before you buy one that covers your whole shared floor space!). Whether you want it to stand out or be subdued, whatever your style calls for, show it off with a rug—and be nice to your toes in the process. You can find good rugs for dorms anywhere, but some of my favorites are from Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. (Editor’s note: TJ Maxx and Marshalls have lots of good rugs tooooo.)

Add lots of light

Dorm rooms can be pretty dark and gloomy. Adding lights will make your space happier and brighter. Plus, it’s really hard to study in the dark. Buy string lights, floor lamps, desk lamps—the sky is (literally) the limit.

Limit your decorations

The more decorations you have, the more cluttered your room is going to feel. Wall hangings (like tapestries, pictures, and paintings) aren’t bad, as long as your entire room isn’t covered with them. So even though you’ve been pinning dozens of dorm room DIYs on Pinterest, you may want to reconsider. Limiting items on your desk, floor, and wall will make your space feel more open—and make it easier to clean. Bonus!

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Decorating Dorm Room Walls 

Use light colors

Because who wants their room to stay dull and dark? When you pick out your bedding and accessories, go for lighter colors to keep an airy feel. They’ll also help with making your room seem bigger. Avoid dark colors like black, brown, and maroon unless you’re using them to compliment another color (and even then, use them sparingly).

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About Cecily Girton

Cecily is a senior at Greencastle High School in Greencastle, Indiana. Besides writing for CollegeXpress, Cecily writes for her school newspaper and participates in her school and community theaters. After high school, Cecily plans on attending a liberal arts college to major in English.