Life in the residence halls

Kelli Koch

Dorm room decor

Imagine pictures of your family in frames throughout the room and your favorite blanket or stuffed animal on your bed.

Imagine walking into your new dorm room and feeling like you’re at home.

Your dorm room is now your home away from home for the next nine months. It should be a place where you can study effectively, but it should also be a place where you can host movie nights and hang out with your friends.

Every room has four walls, a bed, a dresser, a desk and a closet — not much to work with. But there are many inexpensive ways to decorate your new room to give it that cozy, home-like feeling.

To make the transition to college and dorm life easier, senior education major Allison Frye, who lived in Tri-Towers her sophomore year, brought pictures and pieces of furniture from home.

“I had a lot of pictures in frames of family and friends around my room,” Frye said. “I also had a futon and an end table to make the room feel more comfortable.”

According to, boring, white walls are the hardest to decorate. The site suggests hanging something of interest to you, like a poster of your favorite singer, band or sports athlete.

Frye said mirrors on the wall make a room appear larger, and picture collages can give a wall life.

Senior nursing major Sarah Jensen, who also lived in Tri-Towers, said hanging a string of lights can make the room feel more personal. She recommends hanging funky-shaped lights like palm trees or stars.

“On a stressful day, it’s nice to turn the lights on around the room and watch TV,” Jensen said. “It’s a great way to relax and relieve stress.”

Jensen said expressing yourself is the most important thing to do when decorating your room. She said to remember half the room is yours and to decorate your space to make you comfortable.

“Even if your roommate hates your lime-green comforter, you have to keep it,” Jensen said. “You have to keep in mind that not everyone is the same, and that you’re sharing the room. There has to be compromise.”

Space is a big issue when deciding how to arrange the room. Frye said lofted beds are a great way to add space to your room because they save floor space for other furniture.

“Lofts give you more space to work with because you can put your futon and TV under one and maybe your computer desks under the other one,” Frye said.

Storage in a dorm room is limited, and stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond offer many different storage and shelving possibilities. The store has shelves for behind a bed, folding bookcases and stacking cubes for storage.

Senior english and integrated life science major Allison Courtney, who lived in the Centennial dorms, said Bed Bath & Beyond is the place to shop to decorate your dorm.

“Bed Bath & Beyond has a wide variety of cute things at a great price,” Courtney said.

Courtney and Frye also recommend Target and IKEA for all your dorm room needs. The Bed Bath & Beyond Web site has a printable college checklist with all the essentials needed for dorm life.

Living away from home can be a challenging experience, but with the right decorations for your room, the transition to college life can be a smooth one. So turn your dorm room into your home away from home and make unforgettable memories.

Contact general assignment reporter Kelli Koch at [email protected].