Going off to college is just as much about learning independence as it is getting an education.
Part of that experience includes your dorm room.
It is the center of activity when you are not in class or out with friends. It is the place where you sleep, study and even hang out with friends.
Having the most fun and functional room can make a difference on all three of those.
Whether you’ll be heading off for the upcoming winter semester or not until Fall of 2015, keep several things in mind to make it a great learning experience.
Creating a Unique Space
Who says you have to leave everything as you find it?
Often all you have is a bed, desk and dresser. Why not move things around to fit your style? If you don’t have a lot of clothes, move the dresser into the closet to open up the floor space in the room.
Turn your bed into a daybed for guest seating. Add pillows along the wall and make it feel comfortable and fun with bright colors.
If you can bring in your own furnishings, use a loft bed to increase the functionality of the space. Remove the bottom bunk and put the desk in its place or set a small futon or chair in the location.
Make It Personal but Coordinated
Since you are sharing the space with at least one other person, you are either going to have one room that looks like two or a cohesive design.
Talk to your roommate to find a middle ground for design. Choose colors that you both like and use the theme throughout the small space.
You can create your own touches that work with the grand scheme for your area. For instance, choose wall art that you like from major retailers like Walmart that look good with your theme. Bring in a couple of pieces from home that says “This is my space” while still complementing the entire room.
To make your area feel personal and add some privacy without shrinking the room, use a piece of furniture as a room divider.
It could be a small futon if the room is large enough or cubed open bookshelves. It becomes an effective room divider without closing off the room.
Don’t Forget the Accessories
In a small space, you don’t want to overload it with too many items. At the same time, you don’t want it to look bare.
Compromise and choose just a few of your favorites that make a big impact. Items that have bold colors or a unique design will stand out. Don’t forget to add pillows and a rug to create a homey atmosphere.
A few books and photos can let others know something about you and make it easier to find topics of conversation.
It is a fine line between a welcoming space and cluttered; make sure you know what to add and when to stop.
Your new dorm room is going to be home away from home for many months to come.
Make it a place that reflects who you are and provides a relaxing, welcoming space every time you walk in.
About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including college life and finance.