Making a dorm feel like home

Lexi Stumpfs dorm room in Linden Hall.

Lexi Stumpf’s dorm room in Linden Hall.

Avery Staker

Dorm living is a unique experience. Living in a tiny, multipurpose space with a stranger, coupled with a college workload and new independence can cause an adjusting student to easily become overwhelmed with stress.

These former dorm residents say how they turned their shared space into comfortable, relaxing, stress-free living spaces.

Kaylinh Luong, a junior in child, adult and family services, said she curbed her stress by establishing her own spaces within her shared room. 

“Even though I had a roommate, I still was able to have my own zones in my room, like my bed, desk and closet,” Luong said. “It gave me a much-needed sense of control.”

The biggest adjustment many students face is having to share a small room with someone else. Luong emphasized the importance of communication in a roommate relationship, even if it is about the little things.

“My roommate and I treated every room-related discussion we had with equal importance, even if one of us was just letting the other know that we were taking a shower or something that,” she said. “Knowing what she was doing made me more comfortable in our room and that way I also know that I wouldn’t intrude.”

Sophomore in microbiology Brad Small recommends getting to know your neighbors, whether it is by walking around to open doors or leaving your own door open for others to visit you.

“While it doesn’t necessarily make it feel like you’re at home, it does make the transition easier,” Small said. “It really helps with making friends and settling in.”

For those who value personal space, blocking out 15 to 30 minutes each day to clean — wiping down furniture, doing laundry, washing dishes or cleaning the fridge — could help. 

Another way to may a dorm feel like home is to personalize it.

Do you like art? Hang up paintings or drawings you made. Are you really into music? Bring a speaker so you can play your favorite songs while doing chores or homework. Anything you feel would be a core memory if you were in “Inside Out,” find a way to incorporate it into how you use and decorate your room.