How to Make Your College Dorm Feel Like Home

When you first walk in on move-in day, your college dorm may feel a bit lifeless. You'll likely see white walls and standard-issue furniture lacking personality and warmth. And especially if it's your first year, the sterile environment may make you miss the comfort of your bedroom back home.

Fortunately, your dorm room doesn't have to stay that way. The room may look generic, but that makes it the perfect blank canvas. You may not be allowed to paint the walls or drill holes to hang decor, but there are still plenty of ways to make the space your own. 

With move-in day just around the corner, now's the time to shop and plan how you'll make your dorm room look and feel like home. Below, we’ve gathered a few ideas for how to make it happen this semester. 

1. Damage-Free Wall Decor

You don’t need to drill holes to deck out your walls! With removable products like Command™ strips, you can decorate your dorm without damaging the walls or chipping the paint. Using adhesive strips or hooks, you can hang tapestries, artwork, picture frames, mirrors, or even lightweight shelves. Just make sure to check the adhesive’s weight restrictions before hanging anything too heavy. 

2. Luxe Lighting

Additional light sources serve both fashion and function. Decorative table lamps, standing lamps, twinkle lights, and lanterns can light up a room and give you additional avenues to express your style. If you’re tech-savvy, you can also use a smart outlet with your lights so you can control them from your phone or via a voice-activated smart speaker. 

3. Choose a Cozy Carpet

Bringing in an area rug is a great way to add color and texture to your dorm room. Wool, jute, faux fur, cotton, silk, and nylon are all great rug materials for adding dimension to your dorm. Plus, your feet will thank you for the cozy comfort on cold winter days. 

4. Space-Saving Furniture

Your dorm will likely come furnished with a bed, desk, chair, and dresser or wardrobe, and that’s it. But, you’re welcome to bring in your own furniture—as long as it fits. So, what type of pieces can you bring in to add functionality and character to your dorm? 

We recommend sticking to space-saving basics and organizers. For example, you may want to purchase a few of the following: 

  • Nightstand
  • Pouf
  • Storage ottoman
  • Futon
  • Bookshelf or organizer shelf
  • Bean bag chair, butterfly chair, fold-out chair, or other collapsible accent chair 
  • Storage cart
  • Clothing rack
  • Shoe rack
  • Decorative hamper
  • Blanket basket
  • Room divider
  • Plant stand 

5. Build the Perfect Bed 

Now, let’s talk about the focal point of the room: the bed. Your dorm room bed may be small, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be luxurious. Adding cushioning and cooling with a mattress topper and dressing the bed with silky-smooth sheets can make even a standard–issue mattress feel fit for royalty. With a comfy, cozy bed, you’ll feel right at home from the very first night. 

6. Go Green

Nothing brings life to a room like lush greenery. Some indoor plants will brighten your spirits on stressful school days and keep the air fresh. Plus, picking out plants and planters is a great way to express your creativity. 

7. Flame-Free Aromas 

For safety reasons, candles are likely off-limits in your door. However, you can still make your dorm smell amazing without open flames. With ultrasonic essential oil diffusers or diffuser sticks, you can bring your favorite scents to school with you.