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5 Tips for Making Your Dorm Feel Like Home

While living away from home for the first time is exciting, it can be a nerve-wracking experience for students, especially for international students. Being so far away from home and not being able to visit your friends and family on a whim can lead to feelings of homesickness. Although nothing can quite match the atmosphere that your own home radiates, there are things you can do to recreate that feeling on campus. Today, we’re exploring five tips to make your dorm room feel like home to help fight the homesick blues.

A Wilfred Laurier University student studying in her cozy dorm room with her bulletin board collage on the wall behind her.

A Wilfred Laurier University student studying in her cozy dorm room with her bulletin board collage on the wall behind her.

1. Hang a Bulletin Board Collage

What You’ll Need:

  • Bulletin board
  • Pins
  • Your favourite photographs
  • Adhesive wall hook

Photos remind us of the people, places, and activities that we love. A simple and inexpensive way to bring a bit of ‘home’ to your dorm room is by creating a bulletin board collage filled with photos of your friends, family, and hometown. Bulletin board collages are significantly cheaper than frames and perfect for small spaces where you don’t have the surface space to display a collection of frames. Looking at photos of your loved ones at a glance can help to ease the homesickness you may feel while studying abroad.

A University of Iowa student’s dorm room boasts a mini-fridge and coffee machine for her to use at her leisure.

A University of Iowa student’s dorm room boasts a mini-fridge and coffee machine for her to use at her leisure.

2. Make Meals in Your Home Away From Home

What You’ll Need:

  • Kettle
  • Microwave
  • Mini-fridge

Home cooked meals are arguably the single biggest thing students say they miss the most when they live in residence. While studying abroad, you may not have home cooked meals made by mom or dad, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook simple variations of them yourself in your new home. 

Adding the above appliances to your dorm room is one of the best ways to add a sense of comfort and convenience to your new space. It allows you to make a meal in your dorm if you’re sick or don’t want to head to the dining halls to get food. It’s also a great way to save money and stay healthy. Following this tip will help students cut coffee and tea costs and replace those midnight vending machine runs with fruits and veggies from their mini-fridge. Some residences even have larger kitchen facilities that students can take advantage of to cook the more elaborate meals they enjoy.

A group of students from the University of Arizona making the most of their dorm room’s space with a folding cushion chair.

A group of students from the University of Arizona making the most of their dorm room’s space with a folding cushion chair.

3. Add Extra Seating

What You’ll Need:

  • Folding cushion chair
  • Vinyl padded folding chair

One of the wonderful things about living at home is having the ability to invite your loved ones over. Dorm living can present some challenges because of the small space. Before inviting others over to your dorm, ensure you are following COVID-19 rules to do your part in keeping those around you safe and healthy. One of the easiest ways to work within the confines of limited space while having friends over is adding extra seating to your dorm room. A folding cushion chair is a great way to accomplish this. Not only is it a comfy alternative to having your guest sit on the floor, but it’s easy to slip under your bed when you’re not using it to maximize space.

A Western University student’s plant-filled dorm room.

A Western University student’s plant-filled dorm room.

4. Bring in Some Plants

What You’ll Need:

Adding plants to your dorm room’s decor will instantly brighten up your space, especially if it lacks the comfort of home. Plants can boost your mood, naturally filter air pollutants, and reduce your stress levels. The plants listed above are a few of the lowest-maintenance options to have in your dorm room.

A University of Westminster student utilizing a grey shag rug to bring warmth and comfort to their dorm room.

A University of Westminster student utilizing a grey shag rug to bring warmth and comfort to their dorm room.

5. Warm Up Your Floors or Walls

What You’ll Need:

  •  Rug or carpet
  • Adhesive wall hook (if you choose to hang it on the wall)

There’s nothing worse than waking up for an early morning lecture and putting your feet on the cold floor. When most people think about their homes, they think of a warm and welcoming environment. Unfortunately, the tile floors and cement walls typical of most dorm rooms don’t give off much warmth. When buying decor for your dorm, ensure you’re considering pieces that will help to create that feeling of a cozy space. 

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do this is by adding a rug or carpet to your dorm room. It will add a feeling of comfort to the space and can be placed on the floor or even hung on your wall. Both of these placements have their own benefits. Laying your rug or carpet on the floor will work wonders during the colder months and can act as a second seating option. Hanging it on the wall can be an easy way to add colour and texture to your barren walls. Just make sure you double-check the measurements of your rug or carpet, as well as your space, before making a purchase.

Your dorm room is the place that you retreat to after long days spent in lectures and the library. It will function as your getaway and should be somewhere you’re excited to head back to after class. Making your dorm room feel like home should be a priority, and if you follow a couple of these tips, you will have no problem creating a cozy space.

Ready to go? Start exploring your options to study abroad on ApplyBoard!