Room decor makes room unique to you

Move-in Day is your first opportunity to make your dorm room your new home. In addition to bringing the essentials — clothes, pillow, laundry supplies, alarm clock — you should bring things that make your room uniquely you.

During the last few weeks before Move-in Day, you may wish to discuss with your roommate how to decorate. You are sharing the space so you might want to create this new home together. Some roommates scroll through Pinterest to find DIY craft projects to do together and decorate the room. Some may agree on a color scheme or theme for the room. You should definitely work together to arrange the furniture in a cohesive layout.

You may choose to make your sides identical or tailor it to reflect your taste and interests. Especially when purchasing more long-term items such as bedding, keep in mind that the comforter will stay with you while the roommate may not so you want it to be something you like and that expresses your personality.

My dorm decor included many posters. I shopped around at stores near home prior to Move-in Day but didn’t find anything I loved. Fortunately, there was a fantastic poster sale at the Illini Union within the first few weeks of school that provided me with many of the tools I needed to make my room my own.

Not only did posters come in many sizes, they were also affordable for my college student budget. There were prints with inspirational quotes, popular celebrities, fuzzy animals and colorful flowers, to name a few.

When affixing your newly-purchased posters to the wall, be sure to use poster putty or blue painter’s tape as other materials could peel paint from the walls upon removal.

My roommate chose to decorate with wall decals and photos.

The wall decals were nice because they could be peeled off and placed somewhere else, just like a giant sticker. My roommate’s bed was originally lofted but she chose to lower it so she was able to move her wall decals accordingly.

You can put pictures in a pretty frame to place on your bookshelf or find a cute way to hang them on the wall. One friend organized photos of friends and family back home into a giant heart. Another hung hers with colorful, patterned photo clips.

My freshman dorm room came with a bulletin board. If yours has a board, I recommend covering it with patterned wrapping paper or fabric as a background. Bring photos, concert tickets, certificates or other things from home that you can hang on the board. I started with only a few items and let my board evolve over the year.

For me, the devil is in the details when it comes to decorating. Even the smallest things like colorful pushpins or fun magnets on your fridge give your room an extra, quirky burst of color.

Christmas lights are another popular decoration. They may or may not work well in your room, depending on where the outlets are placed. For this, power strips come in handy to make up the difference. Some people simply used patterned duck tape to hang them on the ceiling while others used Command hooks.

While RAs take care of door decorations, many rooms choose to hang a whiteboard for people to leave messages. For this, my roommate and I used double-sided tape and provided passersby with a rainbow array of dry erase markers. During the holidays, we also wrapped our door like a giant present!

Colorful items like desk lamps and rugs really help to pull the room together and make it look finished. My roommate and I agreed on a rug that went well with both of our sides and that was easy to clean. I brought a desk lamp that matched my comforter to make my room pop a little more.

Be sure to bring items from home — be it a favorite stuffed animal or athletic award — to make your new room feel like home. You’re going to be living here for the next nine months so you want to feel like you’ve created a home for yourself. Especially on days when you’re longing to go home, these tokens will make you feel comforted.

Decorating my dorm room was honestly one of my favorite parts of freshman year. It got me excited for the upcoming year during those last few weeks of summer and allowed me to bond with my roommate in the early days. Returning from class each evening, I truly felt that I was at home. As I prepare to return to campus now, I again can’t wait to move into a new space and make it my own.

Steffie is a sophomore in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]