With the collegiate school year right around the corner, incoming freshies are probably stressed to the max about the onset of lectures and exams. Blah. The one place they can escape it all to de-stress and reboot during the craziness of academia is their dorm room. Despite their cramped quarters, a dorm room can feel just like home if you think a little outside of the box when it comes to DIY projects ;)
We tapped design experts Jeremiah Brent, a celeb interior designer + host of OWN’S new show Home Made Simple, and Christiane Lemieux, Executive Creative Director of Wayfair, for tips, tricks and DIYable ways to make your dorm really feel like home. It is your little sanctuary after all!
1. Break out DIY candles + diffusers so it smells like home: We all know that certain scents can bring back memories — like when you smell apple pie and are instantly taken back to Thanksgivings at home with your family. Jeremiah explained that incorporating a scent like lavender (it’s calming) into your dorm is the finishing touch at really making it your own. Find a scent that means something to you — or one that even makes you more productive — and then diffuse that ish throughout your room. If your dorm doesn’t allow candles, Jeremiah suggests a no-flame-required option like Air Wick’s Sweet Lavender Days Freshmatic Spray. There’s also some awesome scents from Archipelago — like pomegranate citrus! If you need more inspo, check out these other creative ways to get your dorm smelling fresh.
2. Add pillows galore: Lots of comfy + cute pillows can instantly make your bed feel like it’s the one you’re used to sinking in to at home. Your bed also will likely double as your dorm room sofa, too, so don’t be pillow shy ;). Load your bed up with trendy scalloped ombre pillows (no sewing required — ideal for #dormlife). If you really want to take your pillow game to the next level, give one of these 20 creative ways to make your own pillow a go! A bonus is that these can double up as floor cushions since we all know seating in dorms is always super limited.
3. Roll out a rad rug: Christiane says that adding a rug can really define a small space and set the style theme for the room. College students are often ballin’ on a budget, so it’s best to DIY your own rug, like this Anthro-inspired beauty, instead of dropping hundreds on one that you might want/need to replace at the end of the year anyway.
4. Use a stool for extra seating: Seating is always hard to come by in the dorms, so adding a solid additional seating option, like these nifty DIY stools, to your space is a great way to make it more comfy for yourself + guests. Saving money is also the name of the game here, so why not repurpose a drab thrift store ottoman into a show-stopping statement piece for your petite place? Opt for a bright and bold pattern if you want to set the tone for your room with this piece, or choose a more neutral look if you have big patterns elsewhere (like your rug).
5. Jazz up your walls with temporary DIY wallpaper: We know wallpaper has a bad reputation, but Christiane suggested giving it a chance — and we couldn’t agree more! When done correctly (and temporarily) wallpaper can totally transform the look of a small space. There are tons of patterns and styles when it comes to temporary wallpaper and wall decals, but you can also do some seriously creative things with a little washi tape, your imagination and a wall in need of some swag.
6. Bring life *into* your dorm: Add some plants — real or fake, whichever suits your lifestyle better. They instantly brighten + freshen up the room and make it feel more home-y. You can bust out some DIY skills and make these hanging plants or find a plant you dig ;) and choose a cool pot/planter it can live in, then focus on making the planter match your style. How about a brightly-marbled planter made from nail polish for some dorm room style?
7. Be prepared to host guests: You’ll likely have pals visiting you, which makes being away at school feel like a bit of home in itself. You’ll also likely be confined to a small twin bed, so fitting anyone other than yourself in there is out of the question. That said, be prepared for your overnight guests by making a DIY Antho-inspired sleeping bag! Your bed needs to be super comfy and inviting, Jeremiah said, and so do your guests’ sleeping arrangements.
8. Add DIY wall art: Spruce up those bland walls! There are a TON of DIYable ways to create super unique wall decor, from sequin-themed to a 3D color blocked style to clipboard art! This is an awesome way to define the style of your space and really show your personality in your dorm. Oh, and place this personalized DIY wall clock somewhere that’s easily seen so you’re never late for class (except those 7am lectures, womp womp womp).
Best of luck in the new school year! As long as you’re comfortable in your living quarters, focused on your studies and organized, you’ll be golden.
What are your favorite ways to make a space feel like home? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.