Whether you’re a nervous freshman or a jaded senior sleeping through the first week of classes, the beginning of the new school year probably greeted you with a blank, bland canvas: a dorm room.
Unless you used ABODO to find your apartment off-campus. In that case, you have a good head on your shoulders. And you might want to take a look at this.
When it comes to dorm life, we know the drill: bunk beds, ugly green carpet, a desk with the name of last year’s occupant carved into the top. There’s a lot you can’t change, and your options for prettying the place up are limited. But that doesn’t mean you’re locked into a design-scheme straight out of the Housing Office. There are things you can do to make your dorm a little more appealing, both to your roommate and to any other… visitors you might have.
Take a look at these four basic tips to make your dorm room look a little less basic:
1. Don’t Use the Overhead Lights
They’re sad and fluorescent and unflattering, and give everything in your room a sickly, pallid glow. Buy some cheap lamps and try a basic three-point lighting scheme — or, if your dorm room is too small, a two-point. It’s amazing what a desk lamp and a standing lamp can do for a room. Even the slightest shadow gives the illusion of depth. (And an air of mystery.)
2. Put Something — Anything — On the Walls
One of the worst things about dorm rooms are the sterile white walls. You can’t paint them, but you can cover them up, and you should. Posters are relatively cheap, and are easy to hang (no need for a hammer or a level). Try to steer clear of the usual suspects — does the world really need another John Belushi Animal House poster? — and pick something that reflects your interests. Better yet, make a photo wall of your friends and family. Just make sure to leave room for some of the people you’re bound to meet.
3. Choose a Color Scheme
Dorm rooms are small, and too many clashing colors can make them seem even smaller. Better to choose a single, soothing tone and use it to unify the room. You don’t have to paint all your belongings teal, but matching your bedding to one of your posters (or to the rug you put next to your bed) can make your dorm look designed, as opposed to merely thrown together via harried trips to Target. (Let’s be real: That’s exactly what happened.)
4. Bottles Are Not Decorations
Neither are cans. So before you build that PBR pyramid, ask yourself: Who am I trying to impress? And then take those aluminum records of your triumph to the recycling bin, where they belong. (You can always get more.)