Group of students in dorm gathered around table playing Jenga and laughing

13 Ideas for a Fun Night in Without Leaving Your Dorm

Don't have the energy to go out? We hear you! Here are 13 things you can do to relax and have fun in the comfort of your college dorm room.

You’ve been working tirelessly on a paper for weeks. You’ve had endless nights of little sleep, and all you need is a night off to have fun. But what if you simply don’t have the energy to go out?  Have no fear! Here are 13 things you can do to relax and have fun in the comfort of your dorm room. Many are also activities that you can do with your roommates and friends!

1. Movie night

This is a classic suggestion but a fun one nevertheless! You and your friends can even vote on a movie in advance to make sure it’s something everyone likes. Maybe think of a particular theme or genre to choose movies from to build a whole vibe around the night. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy—just don’t forget to bring some popcorn!

2. Cook or bake

If you’re looking for something to do solo, this might be a great one for you. Many people find cooking to be a relaxing activity that helps relieve stress. You can buy ingredients in advance to make your favorite dish or get creative with what you have in your dorm. If you want to have some fun with friends, try planning a cook-off or bake-off! Split yourselves up into teams and appoint a “judge” to decide who made the best dish. You can even copy popular cooking shows by giving each team a mystery basket of ingredients that they need to use in their culinary creation.

Related: Tyler's Ultimate College Cooking Collection: All the Best Microwave Recipes

3. Paint night

This is another activity that’s good to do alone or with friends. Buy a small canvas and some paints at your local arts and crafts store, then replicate a picture that you like (or find online), or get in touch with your creative side and paint your own masterpiece. If you paint with friends, make it like a paint night out at a paint bar and everyone can try painting the same scene. It’s fun to see how different your paintings come out!

4. Play a board game

Not many people play board games anymore, and it’s a shame—they’re so much fun! You can pick a game and invite some friends to play with you. Or bring a bunch of options, buy some snacks, and have a board game party in your room. Tabletop games are making a huge boom these days, and who doesn’t love a good round of Cards Against Humanity? Since that game came out, there have been thousands of others like it created. Find a new game you’ve never tried before and settle in for some fun.

5. Read a book

Chances are you haven’t had time to read books for pleasure because you’ve been busy reading materials for your classes. A night off is the perfect time to read that book you’ve been wanting to read! And with winter fast approaching, this suggestion is great for a cold night. Grab a book, make some hot chocolate, and read under your covers!

6. Exercise

Students start exercising significantly less once they start college. In truth, you probably don’t need a study to tell you that—you’ve been busier than usual, and you might not be exercising like you used to. Take your night off as an opportunity to get moving. It may not seem like the most exciting thing, but if you haven’t been able to exercise in a while, there’s a good chance you may be feeling a little lethargic. Not only will it be good for your body, but it will also help relieve some stress!

Related: How to Set Up an Effective Exercise Routine Living in a Dorm

7. Spa night

What’s nice about having a spa night for relaxation is that you can plan it however you choose. You and your friends can paint each other’s nails, buy facemasks, or even make your own facials using online recipes. You can make facial scrubs, face masks, and more from simple ingredients you may already have or could pick up at the grocery store.  

8. Clothing swap

While this option takes a little more planning, the benefits are great for everyone in the long run. You can put up flyers in your dorm and invite everyone to bring their old clothes. Then set up some tables, organize the clothing as you see fit, and swap away! Everyone will leave the evening content: they’ll get rid of old clothes and get something new.

9. Build a Spotify study playlist

This is another activity you can do alone or with friends. Start a new Spotify playlist with songs you like to listen to while you work. The advantage of doing this with friends is that you’ll have more people to give suggestions! Be sure to share the playlist with everyone and encourage them to keep adding to it as the semester goes on.

10. Decorate your door

Who says the floor you live on needs to look boring? You and your roommate can decorate your door to bring some color and excitement to your hallway! Decorate for an upcoming holiday or create your own theme—whatever you do is sure to be a conversation starter.

11. Do some free writing

Free writing is a great activity to reduce stress and relax. All you need is paper and pen. Set a timer for however long you want and write down whatever thoughts you have during that time. While the idea of free writing is to have no prompt and simply let your thoughts flow, if you find this difficult, you can also look up fun creative writing prompts online.

12. Call an old friend

Is there someone in your life whom you haven’t had the time to chat at length with in months? Sometimes you may be too tired to actually hang out with friends but still want the comforts of conversing with someone you care about. Use your night off to finally reconnect from the comforts of your dorm bed!

13. Get some sleep

If you haven’t been sleeping as much as you used to, then the best thing for you to do on your night off might be to get some rest. Leave your textbooks out of reach, turn off your phone, and get the sleep you’ve been craving!

Related: 5 Quick and Easy Tips for Better Sleep in College

No matter what you choose to do on your night off, know that taking a break is extremely important! College is a lot of work, and it’s imperative to take some time to recharge. Have fun!

Check out the “fun” tag for more great ideas to stay entertained and have fun as a student!

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About Tamar Lilienthal

Tamar Lilienthal is a high school senior from Coral Springs, Florida. Her passion has been writing for as long as she can remember, and she hopes to pursue it as a career. She has written for publications like National Geographic Kids, and she is so excited that she has the opportunity to write for CollegeXpress! Tamar is also a dancer, and she is trained in tap, ballet, jazz, and contemporary. She loves sunny weather and her cockapoo, Bubbles. She plans on taking a gap year and then attending the University of Pennsylvania in fall 2019. 


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