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How to add personal style to a dorm room

At first glance, a dorm room doesn’t exactly scream “personality”: it’s small, crowded and can be dark (we hope it’s not dirty!). But all it needs is a little love and attention and it will become a reflection of your fantastic tastes. Whether you are a first-time college student or sending your own student away to school, follow these tips to make a dorm room your own.

Step 1: Know your space

Before you even start shopping, figure out what you are working with. Is the bed bunked? What size is it? Does the room come with a refrigerator? Most colleges provide information like this about each dorm, so check your residence hall’s website before hitting the stores.

Step 2: Coordination is key

An important thing to keep in mind is that the dorm is a shared space. Talk with your roommate to create a palette of colors for your room. You don’t have to match completely, but coordinating will help the whole room feel like yours, instead of just your half. Everything from towels and dishes to blankets and pillows should go together and will make your dorm magazine cover-ready and the envy of the whole hall! Find cute and trendy accessories like this comforter from Target.

Comforter from Target
Wall decal

Step 3: Spice up the walls

Most dorms come with plain white walls—which isn’t exactly the best way to express yourself. Add photo collages of your friends, family, and pets to make the room feel like it belongs to you. Hang your favorite movie or music posters and wall art with these cute, cheap frames from Target, or these wall decals. Use double-sided tape or stick-on hangers to mount everything on the walls — avoid using nails or anything that might damage the dorm wall.

Ikea lamp

Step 4: Brighten it up

The natural light in a dorm is often very limited, and typically the overhead light won’t be enough to give your dorm the extra glimmer it needs. Buy cute lamps to brighten up your space and a desk lamp, like this one from Ikea, for those late-night study sessions.

Step 5: Keep it clean

Because of the large number of people living in close quarters, dorms are a breeding ground for germs. Stock up on cleaning supplies like disinfecting wipes, dish soap and laundry detergent, and set aside one day a week to clean up your room. Avoid leaving messes like dirty dishes sitting around — instead, clean up after yourself throughout the day and take out the trash as soon as it is full. If your room is supposed to be a reflection of who you are, you don’t want people to think you’re a mess.

Step 5: Get comfortable

Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in your dorm room sleeping, studying and most importantly, socializing, you want to make sure your dorm is homey for both you and your friends. Add a comfy chair like this one from Target, and make sure you have lots of fun decorative pillows and throw blankets for you and your guests.

More tips for college

Your college freshman’s first mistake
Expert tips for dorm room decor
5 Dorm essentials you never thought you’d need

Target chair

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