Decorating Basics: Student Living With Style

Moving into the first house that you can call your own is a milestone in many people’s lives. For some, that home might be an apartment or townhouse, but for many people it’s a dorm room or student housing.

Unfortunately, most dorms and student living complexes are far from homey. Unless you’re lucky, you’ll also have to live with roommates. While you might not be completely on your own in your new living situation, you can still define your space with your own personal style.

The Bed:

Even if your new place is furnished, the mattresses colleges provide are rarely comfortable. You spend a third of your lifetime sleeping, so investing in where you spend that time is always a good idea. Considering both space and cost, choose a twin mattress for the money. They’re the easiest bed size to move and will fit perfectly in the dorm bed frame. Plus, when you do move to a bigger space and decide to upgrade your sleeping arrangements, it will make a convenient guest bed for hosting friends and family at your home.

The Colors:

Once you’ve secured a new spot to snooze, you have to decide a color palette. This part may be tricky if you do have a roommate, but there are plenty of neutral palettes that can be fun to pair even if your tastes do clash. Start with your bedspread and work your way out, since your bed will take up most of the real estate in your room. Just make sure your school is ok with your new paint job!

The Texture:

Add a blanket or shag throw to a bed or chair to create visual contrast and comfy up a room. Small dorms and student apartments may feel flat with a limited area with which to work. Playing with texture will add dimension and depth to your room so you can live large in a small space.

The Art:

Since dorms and student housing rooms are generally on the smaller side, it’s important to work vertically. The walls of your room are a perfect canvas to display art, photographs, and other decor that speaks to your personal style. Consider buying pieces that will grow with you, so you can have a touch of nostalgia decorating your future homes even after graduation.

The Floor:

If you are able to find a rug both you and your roommate can agree on, it will be a great tool to unify your share living space. Shopping together for floor decor that brings in elements of both your creative voices is a great way to get to know your new roommate’s sense of style too.

The Work:

Most furnished housing geared towards students come equipped with a desk. If not, you’re going to want to get yourself a place to work, because you’ll be spending a big chunk of your time studying. Once you have a desk, you’ll want to keep it organized. Find fun tools for your work space so all that homework will be a little more bearable.

The Lights:

Lighting makes or breaks a room, and the fluorescent lights fitted in most dorms don’t do its residents any favors. Even if your housing does have regular ceiling lights, they’re often just as unpleasant and rarely offer good mood lighting or light strong enough to work under. Traditional Christmas lights are a dorm room standard, but you might also want to try a standing lamp.

The Greenery:

Plants are the perfect finishing touch to liven up any home. They are incredibly beneficial in small spaces such as dorms because they help purify the air. Small spaces have diminished air flow, which creates stagnant air. This air can feel stale as you walk into a room, and will hold on to undesirable smells too. Bring plant life into your living space to freshen up your home. Keeping plants in indoor living spaces has been shown to improve moods as well, so it’ll keep you and your roommate feeling positive through the stress of school.

The Final Look

Now that you have all the pieces of the puzzle, find the decor choices that showcase who you are at heart. The right combination of these design elements will make your space a hangout hot spot, and you’ll have all the tools you need to keep decorating your future homes with taste and comfort.


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