In college, there’s not a lot you can control. The outside world can fluctuate, including failed exams, big breakups, and thoughts of I-just-don’t-have-my-life-together. But one thing you can control is your dorm room. It will be your sanctuary when your world is crashing down and you just don’t want to talk to anyone. It can be your hiding place when the outside world is too much to handle. And it certainly can be the best place to spend time with your best friends.
A dorm room sanctuary is crucial. Especially when you just don’t want to see anyone, which normally looks like you eating your Jimmy Johns sandwich alone. I’m sure we can all agree on how hard it is to catch alone time in college.
It’s also critical to have an inviting place to collect your thoughts. Whether you’re worried about the major you picked, the boy you like (you’re not sure what his intentions are), or the club you are so heavily invested in, you need a place, a comfortable safe sanction to let the tears come down and to figure out just exactly what you’re doing.
And that’s why, friends, a warm and friendly environment in your dorm room is important. After writing a list of 10 Things You Don’t Need To Bring To College, I figured it was only necessary to make a post about the opposite. Therefore, I put together a list of dorm room essentials you can incorporate in your precious space to make it a place of safety, tears, and lots of laughter.
To create your own, lovely college environment, here are some of the necessities:
1. String Lights
These lights can illuminate a room in the best, most comforting way possible. My favorite time every night would be to read my books with the ease of these lights accompanying me. I had two pairs, one with a circular shape that strung parallel to my bed, and the other pair resting above my headboard with pictures attached. I recommend getting two pairs, or even more, because the more illumination, the better! I bought this origami pair and these clothespin string lights for pictures from Bed Bath and Beyond that lasted me a whole year.
2. Cute desk accessories
I mean, this one speaks for itself. Cute stationary is certainly a must for a desk space. I really love this stationary from Tj Maxx. In fact, if you’re going to take anything away from this, I recommend going to the sacred place that is Tj’s in their Home Goods section and going all out, because they have amazing things for your dorm room at very affordable prices. I got some stationary from Target as well, like this file folder that can last me all of college. I also am all for this Target marble stapler, because we ladies staple in style.
And if you’re a Kate Spade girl and you’re willing to splurge, I recommend getting some stationary from this lovely brand. Right now, they are hosting 15% off and free shipping, so you’re in luck! I absolutely love this gold note holder and these polka dot file folders. And if you’re into teaching, how cute is this golden apple? Talk about inspiration!
3. Pictures of Loved Ones
When entering adulthood, it’s important to remind yourself of those you love. For my freshman year, I hung pictures on clothespin string lights and I also put them on a bulletin board. I recommend buying a cheap bulletin board and painting it a color that suits your room theme. I went with painting mine white, but others paint them gold or even a teal blue. Whatever your preference is, as long as you are reminded by the people who you love dearly.
This might sound like a surprise to you, but I am a words person. Like, 100%. It’s my love language, what gets me through hard times, what helps me rejoice in wonderful times, and what inspires me every single day. Since college can be a shaky time for many, because none of us know what we’re doing, it’s important to remind yourself of quotes and words that motivate you to be the best version of yourself. I recommend getting your favorite quote or bible verse on a canvas (or paint it on yourself, if you’re artsy like that and if so I can’t relate) then that can give you daily encouragement.
I painted my roomie and I’s favorite bible verse on a canvas based off of a Pinterest picture that I aggressively copied. It definitely reminded us of truth when things weren’t looking too good in our lives.
I also bought some wall art off of Etsy, which is a great place for well-made canvases. As for store bought, I purchased some wall art from Altar’d State, and I positively love this piece. And y’all should really know how much of an advocate I am for Joanna Gaines, and she totally was thinking of us girls when designing her wall art collection. I absolutely love this quote and I’m all about this mantra from Magnolia. Since these are a little on the expensive side, I love this $6 decor and can’t get enough of this quote for only $7 from Hobby Lobby. These little touches will personalize your dorm and make you feel right at home.
5. A comfy rug
Since dorm room floors can be cold, one definitely needs a warm rug to make the room feel more snug. If you’re looking for a rug to splurge on, I absolutely love this one from Anthropologie or this one from Bed Bath and Beyond. Both look so comfy, like you could sleep on them with no trouble at all. However, if you’re looking for one a little more inexpensive, this one from Target has amazing reviews and is loved dearly by many college students.
I know, this might sound weird. But having green (fake) plants in your room will certainly make it more home-y and cozy. My roomie and I put two plants on our dresser right between our beds, and it lit the entire room up.
7. A rolling cart for toiletries
You might be thinking, what? A cart? But, here me out, friend. If you’re like me and love to have too many makeup products, hair products, and skin care regimens, and stay organized, a cart just might be for you. I got inspo from Pinterest to create a toilet tree cart and I am so happy I did. I rolled my cart to the bathroom every morning before class and instead of having to go back and forth to grab products, I had them all in my handy dandy cart. Sure, you might be referred as the “cart girl” by your hall mates, but know you certainly aren’t alone. At least you are being smart and organized. Also, it can be a super cute addition to your room, like your own personal beauty corner.
8. White Bedding
Since dorm rooms tend to be dark, you can lighten up the space with a bright white comforter. I don’t know what it is, but white comforters really put me at peace. Here’s one from Crane and Canopy that would be a perfect addition to any dorm room.
9. DIY Headboard
You guys, DIY headboard’s are a must for any dorm room. I found this craft while scrolling on Pinterest (which you can tell I do a lot by now), and I found this craft on As Life Grows. My roomie and I followed their tutorial, and it was super helpful! It is not easy by any means, but it is totally worth the hard day’s work. Ours lasted all year, and we will definitely be making new ones for next year.
10. Bed Skirt
A bed skirt might be a subtle buy, or a do I really need that? purchase, but these things make all the difference. Unless you want to see all of the rubbish that makes its way underneath your bed, a bed skirt will be necessary and you will be thankful for its presence when visitors come over. These also make the room look much more polished, so what’s not to like? My roomie and I got several white kitchen curtains from Target and used them as bedskirts.
11. White curtains
Clearly, I love white for dorm rooms! But really, white curtains make all of the difference, because they will draw more light into your dorm room. I love these curtains from TJ Maxx and recommend them for a bright and relaxing space.
So I hope, friend, that you are feeling inspired to revamp your dorm room into a comfortable space that you can always look forward to resting in. Good luck getting ready for college, and I wish you the happiest of dorm rooms!
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