How to Make a Dorm Room Feel Like Home

Personalize your space to keep homesickness at bay.



Teenage gay couple having fun with friends. They sitting on bed, making selfies, drinking coffee and enjoy in time they spend together

Photo by: svetikd


Moving into a dorm room is a big step, especially if you are going to school far away from home. Your living space doesn't have to be bland. A dorm room is a blank canvas where you have the opportunity to truly make it your own. It should be full of life and a reflection of who you are. When your dorm is customized to fit your personality and needs, it will make your space truly feel like home. Here are some tips on how to make your dorm room your home away from home, no matter if you are two or 2,000 miles away.


One of the easiest ways to make your dorm feel like home is to make sure you bring photos and other personal mementos. In addition to photos, things like small trinkets given to you by someone special or souvenirs from your favorite travel destinations are perfect items for decorating your space.

When it comes to pictures, you can put them on the wall, in a frame on your nightstand or desk, or both. Having photos around helps you remember the good times and the people you shared them with. Photos of friends and family can also serve as motivation to do your best and study hard.

You can also incorporate memories into your dorm with scent. Smell is closely linked to memory and it’s a great way to remember special people and places. Pine, ocean breeze and flower blossoms are just a few scents that can trigger a happy memory and put you at ease in your new environment. Stick to diffusers or room sprays rather than candles, as most dorms don't allow the latter.


Plants are the perfect “pet” for college life. Most succulents and houseplants are low maintenance, provide wellness benefits and will brighten up your space. Whether you have a green thumb or not, plants are the perfect way to liven up your space because…they’re alive! As for wellness benefits, houseplants such as spider plants and succulents have been known to purify the air, enhance productivity and memory and help regulate room humidity. These little guys can make a huge impact.


Light is an important element in any room. The appearance or lack of light in a space can really change the mood and feeling of a room, so as you move into your dorm, it’s important to take note of what your lighting situation is like. If your room is in a basement or gets little to no natural light, you might want to invest in sunlight light bulbs. Sunlight bulbs mimic the glow of the sun and have been shown to boost productivity and mood, as well as help combat Seasonal Affective Disorder in the darker months. Conversely, if your dorm room gets tons of natural light, you might want to look into purchasing blackout curtains, which may help you sleep better and control the room’s temperature.

Additionally, lanterns, fairy lights and colored lamps can give your room a unique style and design that will make it a space you want to spend time in.


Dorm rooms are notoriously drab, so livening it up with color is a simple yet effective way to make your room feel like home. When choosing the color of your decor and furnishings, stay away from blacks and browns if you can help it. Colors add an element of fun to any space. Go for a bold red, yellow or blue. Look for dorm essentials with unique patterns and textures. Being surrounded by your favorite colors can really boost your morale for rough days and all-nighters. Life is always better when you’re living in color!


The number one way to make your dorm your own is by being unafraid to show your personality. Put up posters from your favorite movie franchise, show off your favorite artwork or regalia from your favorite sports team. Tapestries and flags are another popular way to show the other residents who you are. Not only will it liven up your space, but personality pieces can also serve as a conversation starter between you, your roommate and other residents. From there, you can easily get to know new people, find common interests and develop strong friendships. When you are your authentic self, your true essence glows. Don’t dim your shine!

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