Want to create a cozy space to live while away at college? Check out these 9 simple ways to make your dorm room feel like home.
You’re headed to college for your freshman year!
It’s probably the first time you’re living away from home.
You’re moving to a new city or maybe even a new state.
Having a cozy welcoming place for the next nine months while you adjust to all the new things in your life…
freedom to do what you want when you want…
learning to manage your time between your studies and social life…
making new friends…
it’s A.L.O.T of change!
You may be a bit homesick or maybe you’re having the time of your life…either way creating a cozy dorm room that makes you feel at home is essential.
And as a mom who may not have been 100% ready to let my oldest two kiddos fly…it made me feel so much better to help my sons each create a cozy dorm room when it was time for them to start college.
I started by shopping over the summers before their freshman years to get all the things college students really need for their dorm room.
Then when we actually moved them into their respective dorms, I went to work helping them unpack and set up their spaces to create a cozy room.
Here we are after helping Gavin, our middle child, move into his dorm room before we said goodbye and left him in his new cozy home away from home.
As you can see his room was super small.
I mean dorm rooms are small but this one was really tiny, so we had to be creative with some of the storage and organization in his space.
Let’s see how I helped Gavin make his dorm room feel like home…
1. Photo Collage or Something Sentimental from Home
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My daughter and I surprised Gavin and put together an easy and affordable remembrance of home for his dorm room.
We bought an inexpensive bulletin board at Walmart and printed out some family photos and also pictures of his friends from home.
Such a simple way to bring a bit of home into his dorm room.
2. Decorate Those Plain Walls
Since many older buildings are made of cinder blocks you aren’t able to hang anything permanent on the walls.
Actually, come to think of it, I bet even newer dorms with drywall don’t allow students to make holes in the walls.
Using command strips won’t damage walls and can be used for all different types of lightweight wall decor.
College flags, favorite sports team flags, American flags, and posters can be hung with command strips and are the perfect decoration ideas for a guys dorm room.
I’m sure Anne will have even more ideas for girls after moving her twins into their college dorm rooms next month.
3. Comfort Under Foot
Adding an area rug makes the space feel a little bit cozier.
Plus, when you have friends hanging out in your dorm room there’s a soft spot to sit rather than on a hard floor.
4. Create a Comfortable Temperature
Did you happen to notice how many fans were in that last picture of Gavin’s dorm room?
They actually had 5 fans!!
An oscillating tower floor fan, a box fan that they put in their window, they each had a small clip-on fan on their bed, and Gavin had another small tabletop fan on his desk.
Guess who didn’t live in an air-conditioned dorm?
Yup…Gavin’s room was old, like really old, so he didn’t have a/c…so we set them up with plenty of fans to cool their room.
5. Make Meals in Your Home Away from Home
Bringing a mini-fridge and small microwave to college allows students to make a meal in their dorm rooms because sometimes eating the same thing every day in the dining hall gets boring.
Or maybe even heat up leftovers of your favorite meal that you bring back with you from a weekend home if you’re lucky!
6. Comfy Extra Seating
Students are provided a desk chair and bed in their college dorm, so having another place to sit and hang out makes your room feel more like home.
Gavin brought his hang-a-round chair from Pottery Barn with him to college.
All of my kids have this chair and it’s held up great for years!
I bought my oldest son, Jake an inexpensive version of this chair for like $30 or $40 for his freshman year and it broke within a month of him moving into his dorm. So, after fall break, he brought his PB chair from home back with him.
This chair may seem a bit expensive upfront but believe me, it’s worth the extra money!
7. TV & Game Console
This one may be a bit controversial but both of my sons brought a small television and gaming console with them to college.
Obviously, getting to class and studying is the reason students are going to college but there is also a lot of downtime in between.
And many boys love to unwind by playing video games.
It also helps them stay connected to friends from home they may be missing by playing video games online with their friends who attend other schools.
8. Clean Drawers for Clothing
Well, I’ll be honest this one is more to ease my mind than either of my boys probably cares about. LOL
But I like to line their dresser drawers with contact paper so they feel new and clean.
It’s easy and cheap but makes the inside of the drawers look cleaner.
I just wipe out the drawers with a Clorox wipe and then let them dry before applying the contact paper to the bottom of the drawers.
So simple and helps ease my germ-a-phobe mind!
8. Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
The other thing that helped me but both of my boys also really appreciated was making their dorm beds as comfortable as possible.
I add several layers to a thin dorm mattress…I start with a mattress cover.
Trust me…DO NOT skip this!
Jake’s mattress was gross…covered in stains…now that I’m thinking about it I probably should have contacted the school and requested a new mattress. I certainly was paying enough for room and board. #firsttimecollegemom
Thankfully Gavin’s mattress looked fairly new!
Ok so after covering the mattress, add a thick memory foam mattress topper, then a mattress pad, and finally the sheets.
Of course a cozy comforter or quilt and quality pillows.
Bringing a favorite throw blanket also creates a dorm room that feels like home.
Gavin also had a new bed rest pillow that allowed him to sit up comfortably since his dorm bed didn’t have a headboard.
Hope these easy ways help you create a dorm room that feels like home!
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Tuesday 16th of May 2023
As a first time college Mom of an App State Mountaineer who is going to be a freshman this fall, I would love to hear all your advice!!!
Wednesday 17th of May 2023
Congratulations, Christy! App State is an amazing place but the transition to moving a student to college the first time can be really bittersweet. Feel free to reach out with any questions! Go Mountaineers!
Saturday 13th of August 2022
I’ll add this…pool noodles (slit on one side) or pipe insulation to cover the bottom of the bedframe. Prevents many headaches when they hit their r heads on it! Oh, and extra long zip tie for attaching!
Monday 15th of August 2022
Ohhh thanks, Lynne...that's a great idea! My son later added LED lighting under the bedframe. Thanks for reading our blog & taking the time to comment.
Thursday 14th of July 2022
How did you use command strips with the tapestry? Did the fabric stick to the command strip? Thanks!
Friday 15th of July 2022
Hi Erin - The command strips did stick to the flag. You could also try using hot glue as I've heard that works well and peels right off cinder block walls later. Although I'm not sure if that would damage the flag or whatever you are hanging.
Friday 15th of October 2021
Nice blog! I really like the article and very helpful for me. Thanks for sharing.
Friday 15th of October 2021
Thanks so much for taking time to comment on our blog post. Happy you found it helpful! :)
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