Chances are, your college dorm room is never going to be as good as your childhood bedroom, but with a few tricks, you can make it feel pretty close. Here are some low-cost hacks that can turn the institutional discomfort of your dorm room into the comfort of your parents’ home.
1.) Soften your bed
Most people don’t get a good night’s sleep in college. Part of it is staying up all night to study, but part of it is the terrible institutional mattresses. Dorm mattresses are somehow simultaneously too rigid and too squishy. Compared to the nice mattress your parents conveniently picked up when you moved out, you may notice your dorm bed is kind of lame.
You don’t need to break the bank on a new mattress. A memory foam mattress topper can give you endless comfort at a fraction of the price. Bedding is frequently discounted as retailers clear out holiday surpluses. Just $50 can leave you sleeping on an inch and a half of pure bliss.
2.) A shower landing place
One of the worst parts of winter is stepping out of a warm shower onto cold tile floors. Your parents fixed this problem with a cushy bathroom rug, but that’s not an option for you unless you want to share it with the whole floor (ick!). What’s a student to do?
Consider a pair of bathroom slippers to complement those sandals. Slippers can help you step out of the shower and onto a cloud. Look for footwear with moisture-wicking soles. Hang them up to dry when you’re not using them.
3.) Fix the lighting
Institutional lighting is the worst. The hum and flicker of institutional lighting is obnoxious. That’s why your parents put concealed, indirect lighting in every room but yours. How can you recapture that feeling?
A table lamp or clamp lamp can get the same charm of indirect lighting without breaking the bank. An LED bulb will last forever and the fixture can be had for as little as $20. Put it on your desk, on your headboard or on your dresser for all-year class.
4.) Personalize Your Walls
Think of the walls of your dorm room as an extension of your personality. Forgo the cliche Bob Marley and Breakfast at Tiffany’s posters and opt for pieces that you really, truly love. Art from your favorite vacation spot, photos of friends and pets, or that painting you’ve had hanging in your bedroom forever.
5.) Play with Washi Tape
Washi tape is colorful, decorative, and it doesn’t leave residue behind, which means most dorm rooms will allow you to put it up! It’s also fairly inexpensive, allowing you to add a touch of color around posters, on bookshelves, on doors, and on your walls without spending a fortune.
6.) Utilize the Vertical Space
It’s a good idea to use vertical space whenever possible. Although most dorms won’t let you hang shelves, cutting up an “over the door shoe organizer” into sections can be a great replacement. Use 3M hooks to hang your sections on the wall or use push pins to attached it to a cork board.
Another helpful hint is to raise your bed so you can use the underneath space for seating or storage. Stack fridges and other large items on top of storage carts for extra space. By using the air between ceiling and floor for everyday storage, you can leave more space for the things that make you feel most at home.