Home. It’s where your fuzzy slippers are. It’s knowing which floorboards creak and which picture hides the crack in the wall. It’s having a comfortable, familiar space.
If you’re feeling homesick, here are 10 simple ways to add the comforts of home to your dorm room.
1.) Post photos of family, friends and pets, too!
I don’t mean “posting” to Facebook; I mean actual hard copies of photos. Whether you decide to hang them on the wall or keep them in a frame, photos are a good reminder of those you matter to. There’s nothing worse than feeling unfamiliar in an environment — photos help remind us of who we are and where we came from. Tip: Try taking a few photos on campus, then hang those up too! Pretty soon, your wall will be filled with memories made on campus.
Remember that it takes time to get used to a new setting. Home wasn’t always home — you grew into it, made memories, left your mark and reached milestones. That will happen at college, too — just allow yourself time to adjust.
2.) Get crafty
Personalize. Personalize. Personalize! Like I said above, nothing beats having a memory to (literally) look back on, so attend socials in your room. Not only will you meet new people, but you could end up making something to put in your dorm. It might be a DIY stress-ball, spin art or a painted flower pot. They might seem juvenile at first, but in retrospect I’m really happy I attended socials. Not only did I make connections, I also made a home for myself in my new setting.
3.) Add mood lighting
No, it does not need to be anything fancy. However, lighting has a major effect on our moods, and I always found the harsh lighting in the dorms increased my stress levels. The solution? I brought in string-lights, lanterns and low-light lamps. I could finally relax, and it helped me get a better night’s sleep.
4.) Toss in a plant, or two, or three…
The more green life, the better. As long as you’re willing to take care of it! For those of us who aren’t green thumbs at heart, start with a low-maintenance plant, like bamboo or cacti. Seeing it (especially in the colder months) will brighten your day.
5.) Anchor the room with an area rug
Is it weird seeing linoleum where you sleep? However durable, it is not the coziest of flooring. To get that “classroom feel” out of your room, roll out an area rug. It makes a huge impact on the space and expresses a sense of style.
6.) Make a space for sitting
Sitting at your desk may be great for studying, but so is sitting in the library, the MUB and other places on campus. Your dorm should be designated for downtime. It might not be the Holiday Inn Express, but you should at least attempt to make your environment more relaxed. Many students find moon/saucer chairs fit comfortably in their rooms. For optimal use of space, try lofting your bed.
7.) Invest in a single-cup coffee maker
Nothing beats a warm cup of hot chocolate on a snow day, chamomile tea when we’re stressed or a cup of joe when we need that extra jolt of energy to finish a paper. Nowadays, with a single-cup coffee maker you can have all three! This is an acceptable small appliance in the dorm, and if you can’t make it to the dining hall, it also boils water for quick, on-the-go meals like mac ’n cheese or ramen noodles.
8.) Do some cleaning up
If the weather is nice, crack open the window, let a breeze in and air out the room. Have 10 minutes before class? That’s enough time to run a disinfectant wipe over surfaces that we’re in contact with every day, such as doorknobs, mirrors, table tops, etc. You might not see a huge difference, but you’ll be glad you did it once flu season comes around.
9.) Hang curtains
Curtains aren’t necessary as there are blinds in the rooms already; however, if you want that extra touch of inviting, homelike decor, do it with curtains. Not only does it give you more privacy, but a bright pattern can really liven up the room.
10.) Keep your door open
If there’s one piece of advice you should take from this post, it’s keeping your door open. Let people feel invited; socialize with students on your floor. Open up (literally) to open up a conversation. The confines are only as limited as you make them, so live outside them — change your surroundings to help change yourself.