Top Tips for Making Dorm Room Living Bearable

dorm room living

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  • University dorm rooms are notoriously uncomfortable.

    Between the institutional architecture and building materials, the less than ideal food, and the little privacy or personal space, surviving dorm life can be an art form in and of itself.

    Here are some tips for creating a nurturing life so you can make the most out of these pivotal years.

    Fill in the Blanks

    First, fill in all that white space in your room and dial back the hospital vibe. Thrift stores are a great place to grab some throw rugs for a cheap price. These will improve your room’s acoustics and create a softer feel in the room.

    You can also work on personalizing your walls. Make murals with free paint swatches or sticky notes, make shelves out of old books, or get motivated with a favorite quote spread across the wall you see upon waking.


    While it’s exhilarating to be on your own, you don’t have to pretend that you don’t miss home at all. Print out some of your favorite pictures and hang them from a string with clothespins along with other inspirational images and quotes. A visual reminder of a favorite pet or hiking destination can take the edge off of an entirely new situation.


    Self-soothing strategies will up your quality of life during those stressful stretches at college. While candles and incense may have helped you chill before, dorms tend to prohibit flames and smoke on their premises. Instead, make a rice sock, throw it in the microwave, and dab it with your favorite essential oil. Lavender is a great choice known for helping you relax. Then do a little journaling or sketching – a few minutes of downtime will actually increase the quality and quantity of your workflow afterward.

    Get a Good Night’s Sleep

    Failing to get enough sleep can result in a significant and negative impact to your health. You might also find that your grades are impacted. Remember that sleep is responsible for keeping your mind in top shape and your body refreshed and energized.

    Dorm room beds are notoriously uncomfortable. Soften it up with a mattress topper or go ahead and invest in a good memory foam mattress that will last you past graduation. Continue valuing your sleep by creating a sleep regimen that limits big meals, caffeine, or screen time right before bed.

    High-Protein Snacks

    You might feel like a late-night pizza binge is in your near future, but you can fend it off for a while by keeping high-protein snacks like paleo bars or nuts on hand. If there is a communal fridge available, stock snacks like Greek yogurt, hummus, or hard-boiled eggs. As an added bonus, these foods can help you focus, too.

    Space, or the Lack Thereof

    Bed risers are a classic college hack for increasing storage space, and some schools allow students to build lofts in their room. But be prepared to bring or create freestanding shelves, as most schools will not permit holes in the walls.


    You’ve probably already heard about the benefits of meditation, including increased focus and concentration, mood regulation, boosted performance and relationships, and better sleep and relaxation.

    Insight Timer is the most popular free meditation app available at the moment and offers thousands of different tracks spanning dozens of approaches. Try it out if you’re having trouble sleeping or are getting anxious about an upcoming test.

    other valuable tips:

    Go Green

    We’re not talking about recycling here – we’re talking houseplants. The last thing you might want is another task to remember, but College Magazine has compiled 10 types of potted plants that could work with your time availability.

    This will help liven up your living space, making it feel more like home. Plants are also known for their air-purifying abilities, which can help improve the air quality of your small living space.

    Say Hi!

    It might sound cheesy but putting effort into making friends will ease your experience during dorm life. Try bonding over music or food and consider choosing the class size for your personality type. This helps you feel more confident and speak to more people.

    With these tips in mind, dorm room living can be a breeze!

    Laurie Larson is a freelance writer based out of NC. She loves writing on home, health, and lifestyle topics.

    Image Credit: Pixabay

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