Candles, pillows create a relaxing space

By Mikayla Ostendorf

College can be a time of stress and inconsistency. But with a few touch ups to an apartment or dorm room, the place that you return to at the end of a long night out or a day full of exams can become a home of your own.

1. Candles

If you want to make your dorm or apartment your home, candles are a must. Though lots of dorms don’t allow flammable candles, battery-operated lights, which can be found at a craft store, are great alternatives. I decorated mason jars with glitter, filled them with sand, and then placed battery-operated tea light candles inside. The lights warm my room with a soft, flickering glow that transforms it into a cozy getaway for relaxing and unwinding.

2. Throw pillows

These little pillows serve for both style and function. They come in all shapes and sizes and in a variety of designs, from preppy flowers to bold sentence statements. Not only do they add flavor and personality to your room, they also allow for extra cushion. Place them behind your back while reading for additional support, or toss them on the floor when watching a movie for an extra-comfy seat.

3. Storage/organization units

Remember when your parents cleaned your room? In college, you actually have to take the initiative to make your own space tidy. Sometimes this gets hard when the going (studying) gets tough. An easy way to clean the clutter is to purchase stacked storage bins to hold everything — clothes, food and towels — in a set place. Having a clean room makes a world of difference, allowing for a clear mind to study and focus.

4. Shaggy rug

The floors in dorm rooms and apartments alike are simply uninviting with their whitewashed tiles or stained carpeting. Cover up the cold floor space with a fluffy rug — the kind that you may even prefer over your own bed because it is that comfy and inviting. Your floor will instantly turn from no-man’s land to an instant hangout zone.

5. Comfort food

Sometimes you’re just a spoonful of peanut butter away from comfort. Whatever your guilty pleasure may be — a tub of ice cream, popcorn or micro mac and cheese — keep it close by to help you survive the late night streak before midterms. Just knowing that your comfort food is back in your dorm waiting for you can help you feel at home in your dorm. Plus, it can help you make friends. Who is going to turn down an invite for free cookies?

6. Favorite aroma

At times, all it takes is a pleasant aroma to bring us back to our childhood. Whether it is the soft, clean cotton hint of just-washed laundry, or maybe a cinnamon sugar apple mix baking to crispy perfection in the oven, that scent will bring you to a happy place if you’re feeling homesick. Find a light-misted spray with that scent, and treat your room with it to occasionally beat the blues.

7. Signature blanket

You know, it is the one you’ve had since birth that is now shrunk to the size of a small washcloth. Or maybe it’s the homemade blanket with a peace sign that got you through your high school breakups. Whatever the case, you are going to want something to snuggle up in, either for a movie marathon or an all-nighter. Suggested complement: Cozy up with a pumpkin-flavored coffee or pastry and instantly create the most pleasant spot on campus.

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