Advice & Features Articles College

Turn Your Space Into Your Place

How to make your dorm room reflect your personal style on any budget

Here are some easy-to-manage tips from moms and students for transforming your space into a place that you can really settle in to.

Katherine’s Tips


Dorm-Katherine-2“To make my 84 square foot dorm room a home, I used photos of family and friends and accented with my favorite color: sunshine yellow. There’s something about literally being surrounded by the people you love (at least in photos) and by great memories that makes the difficult moments in college a lot more bearable. It’s like being able to see your support group every day; it’s a reminder that there are people out there that believe in you and that you should [believe in yourself] too.”

THINGS I COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT!

• Laptop

• Shower caddy

• Headphones

• My personal bright yellow Keurig

• My memory quilt from my mama

• My mug collection

Katherine Ingram, Richardson, attending AMDA, New York
Katherine Ingram, Richardson, attending AMDA, New York

THINGS I WISH I HAD

• Meal plan

• Comfy mattress

• Noise canceling headphones

• Bigger desk

MOVE-IN TIPS FROM KATHERINE’S MOM, KAREN

• Buy Command Hooks and more Command Hooks (you can never have too many).

• Invest in a sturdy over the door coat rack (quality matters!)

• Pack rain gear for the long trek to classes.

 

Madison’s Tips

Madison, on left, with roommate Reilly Masterson, in their TCU dorm
Madison, on left, with roommate Reilly Masterson, in their TCU dorm

“Communicate with your roommate in advance to decide your color scheme and style.  We picked out our bedding together and then shopped separately for our accessories.”

THINGS I COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT!

• Area rug to make the tiny room more cozy

• Desk mirror/Makeup mirror

• Air freshener, plug-in or wax-melt warmer

• Door stop (especially during the first weeks of school when the best way to get to know people is to have an “open door policy”)

THINGS I WISH I HAD

• Ear plugs: Dorm walls are pretty thin!

• Wall calendar to put on the inside of the door and write down upcoming tests, quizzes, and assignments as well as fun.

• More storage drawers: “I had tubs to store items but when I needed to find a particular item, I’d end up having to empty the whole tub to find it. Baskets were the same way. I had cute baskets to hold things in, but when it came down to it, I think I would have much more preferred functionality over cuteness.”

MOVE-IN TIPS FROM MADISON’S MOM, MELISSA

Dorm-Madi-Move-In-Ready• Try to coordinate the timing of your move in with the roommate so you are not moving at the same time – there were a lot of us in a small space!

• Take a rubber mallet to raise the bed and a tool kit to put together book shelves, etc.

• Stop for a lunch break.

• We used several clear totes to move her, and she kept them at school under her bed for extra storage.

 

Colin’s Tips

Dorm-Colin-Desk-2“It’s essential to put yourself into your dorm. You will not feel comfortable in a blank room with bare walls and dull furniture. You have the chance to let your personality shine in your room.  And don’t let your parent organize without you knowing where your stuff winds up!”

THINGS I COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT!

• Amazon Prime (It’s free to college kids, and you can get anything you need in two days time – even in Ithaca)

• Noise canceling headphones

• Reading lamp

• Mini-fridge

• Microwave

• Netflix or comparable service

• Mattress pad

THINGS I WISH I HAD

• Bike

• Beach blanket/Large towel for quad lounging

• Portable speakers

MOVE-IN TIPS FROM COLIN’S MOM, TRICIA

Colin White, Frisco,  attending Ithaca College, New York
Colin White, Frisco,
attending Ithaca College, New York

• Avoid the temptation to unpack for your kid. After we unloaded and got everything into the room, I sent Colin out to have fun and meet new people.  I was the super cool mom then, but later he confessed he couldn’t find a thing!

• Bring drawer organizers to make the best use of the limited drawer space.

• Use closet space-saving huggable hangers and Wonder Magic clothes hangers (Ipow.com).

• Create your own medicine cabinet and school supplies survival kit using a small, desk-top stackable storage piece.

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