Decorum for Decorating Your College Room

If you’re like me, going to college may be your first attempt at being able to decorate your room.  I’ve had to share a room with my sister ever since I was little, so wall space was very limited in my room.  Also, for the most part, my mom took it upon herself to decorate our room by painting it light blue and hanging fixtures here and there.  So, really, it was mostly my mother’s art project.  You can imagine my delight when entering my room and all I saw were white walls just waiting to be designed at my fingertips.

Before you do ANYTHING, fight out the limitations you are expected to uphold while living in either the dorms or in an apartment complex.

  • What You CAN’T Do:

No Holes

In most places, if you don’t own the actual property, but instead renting and they don’t want you to put holes in the walls.  This means no hammering nails in order to hang your pictures.  If you do, they will deduct money from your deposit or bill your student account for having to fill in these holes with plaster.

Any extra costs for students (which, let’s be honest, most of us attending college are struggling to pay for all the costs) are unnecessary and should be avoided at all times.

Instead of hanging certain items in your room with nails, buy 3M picture hangers.  This handy item applies to your wall from the sticky side just like tape, but can hold even the heaviest items you may have.  When you’re leaving for the year and taking everything down it’s easy to remove by pulling off, leaving no marks on your wall.

No Painting

Unless your leasing contract or RA for your dorm room specifically says you can paint, DO NOT under any circumstances apply paint to your walls.  The cost that your landlord or the school can charge you for them to un-do what you did could be astronomical.

Bottom Line: If the walls are white to begin with, you better make sure when you’re moving out they are still white to end with.

When you have your own place after college feel free to explore and paint any color on your wall.  However, for now, just deal with the color white and accept it.  There are other ways you can add color to your room by not having to paint, and this is less of a hassle.

  • What You CAN Do:

No Place Like Home

You’re expected to make your room as homey as you would like.  This way, if feels more comfortable and relaxing to you, and will help (especially in the beginning of your transition) to not feel as home sick.

Hang as many items as you would like!  By using the 3M picture hangers, of course.  Buy rugs, hang pictures on your wall of friends and family, add artwork that you’ll enjoy looking at every day, or get a vibrant bedspread/sheets to add color to your room (mostly tailored towards girls for this last one).

Finding Cohesion

It’s possible you don’t want to bring all these items from home in order to decorate your room.  Instead, you can wait till you move in and invite your new roommates to go shopping for specific items.  This way, you can have some bonding time and find a cohesive look for your room if you’re sharing one.

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Kali White

Kali White

Kali White is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing a degree in Communications and a minor in Sociology. Her goal is to have a career working for a publication company writing and editing. In her free time she enjoys the outdoors, reading, playing and listening to music, and travelling.

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