Tips for Making Your College Room Home

making college room home

As classes begin at our local colleges, many students will be excited about classes, activities, meeting new roommates, and decorating their dorm rooms and apartments for the upcoming year. For all students, but especially for freshmen, it is important to make the dorm or apartment room as comfortable and homey as possible.

“College dorm rooms may not seem very much like home for the college student on move-in day,” according to the experts at, an online college dorm supplies superstore. “The college student will be moving into a new environment and the dorm room will have a lot of different features than the college student’s room at home.”

Local stores are already stocking up on college living essentials to make the college room feel more like home, so if you have a student headed back to school, check out these tips for adding big style to even the smallest spaces.

1. Essentials.

Whether your college home is a dorm room or an apartment, space is home while you are there. It’s where you will sleep, study, and hang out with friends. Since sleep is important for good health and academic performance, let’s start there.

The experts at recommend that you bring two sheet sets, a blanket or comforter, a mattress cover (check with your university to see what size mattress you will have), and pillows. A mattress pad may add comfort to a standard mattress, and don’t forget an extra blanket for chilly nights.

Depending on the facility, you may need bath/shower supplies, like bath mats and shower curtains, and/or kitchen supplies, like a microwave, dishes, and tableware. Check with your school’s residential life coordinator or the apartment manager to see what is included in your room before making any large purchases.

college building

2. Décor.

For some students, coming to college means meeting a new roommate. That also means coordinating styles with a stranger. Rather than matching, think coordination and cooperation. In other words, try to agree on a theme for the room.

Alissa Ahlman, chief merchandising officer for home décor superstore At Home, located in Douglasville and other locations throughout Georgia, said that popular themes for Back to College include Femme De Luxe, Airscape, Blue Mood, Bold Free Spirit, Chic Free Spirit, and Reprographics, all of which are showcased in At Home store collections. The key is to find a theme for the room that fits the personality of the students living there.

“We want to help students create a ‘home away from home.’ This year’s Back to Campus collection offers the opportunity to easily combine the various styles to create a unique look, … (and) allows shopper to decorate any space in a way that best reflects their personality,” Ahlman said.

To make the most of small spaces, the experts at HGTV recommend trying out various arrangements of furniture to find the best fit. Stacking beds, putting a dresser in a closet, or moving desks may provide more floor space in a small room. When adding accessories, they recommend thinking “multifunctional, compact, and mobile.”

For example, “when buying furniture for a dorm room or small college living space, the smartest thing you can do is choose pieces that are multifunctional. A futon is a perfect example; by day it can be used as a sofa, but by night it can instantly turn into a full bed.”

Since many dorm rooms come with a standard twin bed, try using pillows to create the look and function of a sofa during the day that easily converts to a bed at night. Other basic items like storage ottomans can function as seating and storage and are easily moved around.

Finally, when it comes to décor, color is key. Add color with accents like adhesive wall decals, artwork, a colorful rug, pillows, or even a comfy chair from home if there’s room. HGTV recommends that you “dress up what you can.”

“Every bit of space offers design potential. Even closet doors, which are typically considered dead space, can turn into your room’s next great focal point.”

3. Extras.

Today’s students come to school with lots of technology. House Beautiful has several unique ideas for storing electronics and hiding charging cords, including a repurposed vintage suitcase and a pretty notebook hollowed out to hold a phone. Check out even more charging station solutions on Pinterest.

You will also want reminders of home, so consider a digital photo frame to highlight favorite photos. Message boards and wall calendars can provide visual reminders of important deadlines and events. Other personal touches, including favorite books, photos, and small mementos will make your space feel more like home.

“The college dorm room may not feel much like home to start with, but with the right supplies, the college student can make the room feel like a home away from home and reduce homesickness,” says Nicole at

To stay on track while shopping for your dorm room or apartment, download one of these printable checklists to carry with you:

At Home’s 2016 Back to Campus Checklist

DormSmart Checklist for Guys and Girls

Wal-Mart Checklists for Dorm, Apartment, or House

The Duffey Realty family welcomes back all our local college students and wishes you all a safe and successful school year.

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