Photo by Conrad Maxwell-Girod

Freshmen dorms — you’ve heard the horror stories concerning the small spaces, lack of privacy, lack of kitchen and an unknown roommate. Nevertheless, you have entered Spring House this fall and you must find a way to make it your home for the year. Whether it’s your freshmen residence hall, upperclassman residence hall or even a tiny apartment, there are a plethora of ways to make your small space livable and feel like home.

Maximize the space in your room
Maximizing your small space begins with the overall layout of your room. This means that you need to have a game plan for the set-up process. Maximizing your space can be done with your dorm furniture that Spring House or ACA provides. The standard dorm beds can be lofted, or raised. Lofting your bed will create storage space underneath it. Try sliding your dresser under the bed, throw your clothes hamper under there or maybe even your mini fridge. Focus on fitting the larger furniture items underneath your bed in order to free up more floor space. More floor space means more room to work on projects.

If you are a person whose main focus is having privacy in your shared space, there’s an option for you as well to create a small private area to study in, while staying in the comfort of your room, which is golden during finals week. Instead of placing storage furniture underneath your lofted bed, try wrapping the bed frame with a colorful sheet or long piece of fabric and securing it underneath the mattress. Then, place pillows, blankets, a lamp, an extension cord, your laptop and so on underneath your bed. The sheet around the space under your bed will supply an instant, private study room, even when your room is crowded with your roommate’s friends.

Comfort is key
Once you move into your new dorm, make sure to go décor shopping with your new roommate. Dorm shopping is a great bonding experience to get to know each other, while simultaneously coordinating your decorations to ensure a stylish room. The top three things that should be on your dorm décor list to ensure a comfy and homey environment are as follows: 1. Pillows and blankets. 2. A large area rug. 3. One or more lamps. The addition of decorative throw pillows and a fluffy blanket on your bed kick up the coziness factor, as well as personalize your room. Rugs are extremely important in making your dorm feel like home. No one feels at home when getting out of bed and putting their bare feet on cold concrete. Thus, adding a soft rug that you and your roommate pick out together adds more comfort. Finally, get as many lamps as your space will allow. Rather than always having to rely on the fluorescent light that is provided in your dorm, come in from class and turn on your yellow toned light bulb. As we all know from color theory, the yellow color in a lamp’s light bulb is more warming and calming than the blue in the overhead fluorescent light.

Once your dorm is maxed out in coziness, focus on decorating your white walls. Adding posters, paintings or even a tapestry can instantly add style and personality to the room. The white walls will instantly come to life the moment you hang your first decoration whether it’s a bold tapestry, the band poster from home or even the masterpiece you created in Drawing I. Don’t forget to decorate your bathroom too by adding a cute shower curtain and rug and don’t forget the bathroom is a common area that you share with your roommates. Thus, decorating the bathroom is another great opportunity to go shopping with your new roomie.

Freshman year will be full of new challenges, new friends, and new classes. It is entirely new territory that you must face everyday this year. The key to having a place to relax after these new and exciting days is making your dorm feel like home. So decorate away and come home to your new comfy space.