Decorating your dorm room: 101

| Senior Scene Editor

“College is a fresh start.” The meaning of this phrase will quite literally become evident when you first walk into your empty, sparsely furnished, white-walled dorm room. If you’ve ever dreamed of revamping your room at home but haven’t gotten around to actually cleaning it up, then decorating a brand new space can be a very exciting opportunity. Just remember to keep the following tips in mind.

If you didn’t need it at home, then you most likely won’t need it in college.
A backrest with cupholders and pockets for snacks? A lamp with five different colored bulbs? Sure, these items may sound amazing, but have you ever found a need for them before college? Many stores will try to convince you that you’ll need a lot of different items for college, but be sensible with what you buy! The same goes for bringing stuff to college that you already own. While you’ve become accustomed to that big stuffed elephant on your bed or that hanging basketball hoop on your door, that doesn’t mean that they have to make the trek all the way to your new Washington University dorm.

Let your walls speak for you.
Sure, the bare walls in your dorm room may not seem like much at first, but they give you the chance to express yourself. Posters of your favorite sports teams, bands or even funny sayings provide a great talking point for when your new hall-mates wander in. But don’t just limit yourself to posters—you can create funky wall art with simple blue tape or make an interesting collage of old ticket stubs. You can even coordinate with your roommate beforehand to decide if you want a particular design for your room and plan out decorations according to the theme.

If at first there is no apparent use for it, then find one.
Keeping an open mind is important in college and decorating your dorm room is no exception. Even if you may not be the typical “starving college student,” it’s still important to make the most of what you have. For instance, basic items like crates are great not only for storage but also for makeshift stools and tables. And who needs fancy plates and bowls when you can use microwave-friendly and resealable Tupperware containers?

Win the race to find space.
It’s no secret that space is a bit cramped in college, but there are plenty of ways to improvise and expand your room without magic. Many students lift their beds higher with bed risers in order to store stuff underneath. If you’re running low on floor space, then take a tip from NASA and look up. You can hang shoe racks from your doors and keep your life organized by posting a bulletin or dry-erase board on your wall. You can also replace bulky floor lamps with cool hanging lanterns or mini lights.

Keep home close to heart.
However you choose to decorate your dorm room, it’s important to give it a personal touch. A photo collage of friends and family members can be great to look at when you’re feeling lonely. A meaningful gift from a loved one can bring old memories to your new lifestyle. College may be a new transition, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave your home life behind!

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.

Subscribe