Three easy tips to make your dorm more homey


The Daily Illini File Photo

Student dorm room in Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall.

By Yoav Margalit, Contributing Writer

It takes a lot of work to get a dorm room to feel like home. There can be a long way to go between unloading the boxes and setting up your new life. No reason to worry, though. Here are some quick fixes to make your dorm a home to come back to after a long day.

Keep it clean

Even if you’re not planning on having guests, it’s never a bad idea to keep things tidy. A good rule of thumb is to expose as much surface as possible. A table with space open on top looks organized, and a floor without clutter looks much tidier, but this rule can apply to furniture, too. A made bed with the blanket smoothed over it or a futon with nothing cluttering it can completely change the atmosphere. Who knows? This might even allow you to get along better with your roommate.

Clear the air

A lot of a person’s memory is based off of smells. It seems silly, but according to “The Neurobiology of Olfaction,” the impression of a place can change dramatically with just a whiff. Fixing this could mean as little as keeping a window open (especially if you’re in one of the dorms with no AC), but it can also mean a bit of work. Clearing away the dust covering the nooks and crannies of the furniture is one way to get mustiness out of the room. Also, making sure the laundry is out of the open is a fantastic way to clear the air.

But getting rid of the smells you want to avoid is only half of the job. Make some additions of your own. Investing in an air freshener is one option. You’ll want to pick hygiene products that smell right to you, and maybe even change the detergent brand you’re bringing on laundry day. Mix and match what makes you feel most comfortable.

Make it yours

So, the room is clean. The floor has been dusted. The sheets are clean. The room smells fresh. What’s left to do? Make it yours. A space, any space, isn’t a home until you want to live in it. That means the supplies you’ll need a lot of have to be accessible, and areas that you’ll need to get to have to be open. Your dorm should be your haven; you need to be comfortable being there for it to feel that way.

Once this function has been accomplished, it’s time to turn the eye toward form. Nobody feels at home in a concrete box, so why not fix it? If you plan on working a lot from your desk, why not put a small rug where your feet will be? It’ll be easy on the eyes and comfy on the feet.

If you haven’t already tried it, posters are a first-rate way to make a space feel like it belongs to you. Remind yourself of who you are, who you want to be or even just what you enjoy looking at once in a while. Putting some photos or posters where you’ll see them improves the ambiance.

Here’s hoping that with these tips, your dorm becomes a place you don’t mind spending time in. Nothing big ever happens at once. It’s the little pieces that build up to make something the way it is, and a home is no different. One step at a time, that concrete box of a room starts to feel more and more special.

Yoav is a junior in LAS.

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