How to Make Your Dorm Room Feel Like Home


Kenyon Edmond

Decorations hang in a dorm room in Carr Hall of the Pennsylvania Avenue residence halls. Plants or posters can help you customize your tiny living space.

By Clare Budin, Assistant Daytime News Editor

Of all the huge, world-shifting changes you go through when transitioning into college life, one of the biggest has to be moving from a home you may have lived in your entire life with multiple rooms and fresh-cooked meals waiting when you return from school to a one-room dorm space. When you first enter your cold, empty cabin on move-in day, it might be hard to imagine truly feeling comfortable in your dorm not just when studying, but hanging out with new friends, enjoying meals or just flopping as you would on your couch back home. Hopefully, these tips can help keep away the homesickness by building a closer community and comfier atmosphere in your dorm.

  1. Bring pieces of home to your dorm

As much fun as it can be to go dorm shopping for sleek new furniture and decorations, sometimes the most important additions that can make your dorm feel more like home are items you’ve owned for years and are the easiest to transport to college. Whether it’s photos of your family and friends, childhood art projects or your old DS (Nintendogs never gets old), having something tangible that reminds you of fun times with your hometown family and friends is incredibly valuable and comforting during times when you may feel stressed, lonely or just plain homesick. Try an easy DIY photo wall or collage with some of your old artwork for a dose of childhood fun during your journey to adulthood.

  1. Plants are your new best friends

At some points, especially when cooped up studying in the winter, spending hours in the dull and artificial environment of a dorm can easily become draining. However, there is an easy way to inject some much-needed life and natural brightness into a dorm that can be found at almost any home goods store. Small desktop succulents or decorative potted plants can be easily customized to fit your personal taste and space requirements. If you’re worried about the maintenance required to keep a natural plant alive, never fear: artificial plants provide the same attractive qualities of natural plants without the upkeep. Even during the harshest and loneliest winter months, you can still have pieces of greenery that keep you energetic and cozy.

  1. Home is where the (stomach) is

While your dorm’s atmosphere certainly helps to create a more homey environment, decorations aren’t the only factors in turning a space into a home. For many, one of the first things that transport them back to memories of home is the meals made with love by family members with well-worn recipes passed on sometimes through generations. But even though you may not have that family ready to whip up a meal, all you need is a cooking space and a recipe to get a taste of home. Most dorms on campus have some type of communal cooking space that can be used for approved blocks of time. Gathering with friends to create meals once or twice a week is a great way to bond with others through home-style cooking while breaking from the sometimes-repetitive meals at the dining halls. Also, don’t underestimate the value of a microwave to make innovative meals in short notice. There are plenty of options at local stores for relatively healthy microwavable rice, vegetables, and other staples. Have fun creating your own unique University cuisine!

[email protected]