Living in a small, shared space doesn’t mean it has to feel small and be cluttered, sometimes all we need to make or dorm or small spaces feel more like home is some advice. One of my favorite things to scroll through on social media is home decor, and I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two over my years of living in small spaces, so here are some of my best dorm decorating tips that everyone should hear.
1. Make your space feel like your second home
One of the quickest ways to make your dorm or apartment feel like home is to incorporate pieces you have or had in your room at home. Whether that’s by bringing your furniture to your apartment or just taking pillows and blankets to your space on campus, this is one of the easiest dorm decorating tips for anyone to use.
2. Figure out what design style you have
This might sound a bit nuts for a dorm, but trust me, it’ll make all the difference. One way that’s sure to make your space feel cluttered, crowded, and all over the place is having furniture and decor that don’t feel cohesive. If you like boho or more modern styles, try to bring only items that fit those styles into your space. If you like a more minimal look, keep your decor to a minimum and simple.
3. Stick to a simple color pallet
crazy colors can be a bit overwhelming so when it comes to decorating your dorm or apartment, stick to a color pallet. This doesn’t mean all neutrals if that’s not your thing, but it does mean narrow down the colors you like and use them as your accents. If you like pink and green, get pink and green pillows, blankets, storage bins, and decor.
4. When it comes to walls, less is more
Don’t overcrowd your walls. Trust me, when you’re stressed out or feeling super anxious, you’ll appreciate not having all the noise on your walls. Also, white space or blank space is not our enemy, you don’t need to cover every inch of your walls.
5. Make sure everything has a function
This is another one of the most important dorm decorating tips to follow if you follow any of these. When living in a small space, functionality is key with EVERYTHING you bring into it. If you can lift your bed in your dorm room, DO IT. If you have above cabinet storage space in your apartment’s kitchen, USE IT. Just make sure it looks tidy in the process.
6. Organize by how much you use things
This tip is all about making your life easier. Of course, organizing by categories is important, you want to keep your hair and skin products together and your desk/office supplies together, but while you’re organizing into those categories, keep in mind the things you reach for on a day to day basis. When you’re running late, the last thing you need is to have to dig around for something and make a mess to have to clean up later in the process.
7. Maximize your storage space
Lofting your bed in your dorm is huge when it comes to maximizing your storage space. This way you can put storage bins or shelves under your bed and keep things better organized. You can even get cute bins to store like items in!
8. Make sure everything has a home
To go along with maximizing your storage space, you’ll want to make sure everything has a home. I know I’ve said it before, but this is honestly one of the most important dorm decorating tips I can give you. Storage bins and drawers can help loads with making sure everything has a home. And at the end of the day, making sure everything has a home will help keep your space looking tidy.
9. Make designated spaces for things
In a dorm, you have your sleeping space, makeshift kitchen space, and study space all in one room. A great way to make your dorm feel more put together is to designate space for each need. My roommate and I kept the mini-fridge, microwave, and Keurig together making one kitchen space. We also had a rug to help break up our desk/study spaces from our beds and our “kitchen” area.
10. If you have a roommate, talk about how you want to set up your space before you move in – if you can
I cannot stress how important this is. You’re already going to be cramped, the last thing you want to do is have too much stuff or clashing decor in your space. You don’t need two TVs or two Kurigs, and you definitely don’t want to have colors that clash. My roommate and I had different taste as far as color pallets go, but it worked because we kept things neat. She liked pink, and I like turquoise, and though we both definitely utilized those colors, we kept things like our rugs and our shared things neutral and that helped make the room feel more cohesive.