How to Make Your Dorm Room “Bigger”

The first step is always acceptance. You must accept the fact that your dorm room is the size of your mom’s walk-in closet at home. Accept it. You have to live in that closet-sized room…with another person or, dare I say, persons, for a whole school year. ACCEPT IT!

…Good. Now that you’ve accepted it, we can move on to the next step:


Yes, there are creative ways to make that space they call a bedroom appear larger- without tearing down any walls. Male or female, here are some easy tips that will make your dorm room experience much more enjoyable and, more importantly, much more comfortable.

Feng Shui, Meet Dorm Room.

First thing’s first…push that tiny, narrow twin bed against the wall. Next, get some extra decorative pillows as well as some body-length pillows and stand them up against the wall. Voila. Your bed can now serve as a couch during the day. Setting your bed up this way makes your room much more functional, giving you and your guests some extra seating. If you think you’ll be hosting larger groups of friends, get foldable chairs that could be stored away when they are not being used.

Conceiled Storage Spaces.

Storage space can be hard to come by in such a cramped space, so I recommend putting risers on your bed and using the space underneath for storing your things. Get some classy-looking bins that easily slide in and out from under your bed so you can utilize what would otherwise be wasted space.

Utilize Lighting.

Extra lighting and mirrors are necessary for opening up the room. This is probably the last time you won’t have to worry about your utility bill, so take advantage of it by keeping your room well lit! Get a couple narrow floor lamps to brighten up your space. Rope lights are another great and fun way to add a lot of light around the room.

I don’t care if you ever look into it, but put large mirrors on one or every wall. Large mirrors create the illusion of the space being larger. No really, they do. The reflected light off of the mirror will also be adding to the illusion, making it that much “bigger.” The mirrors have to be fairly large, however. Using a bunch of small mirrors will just make your walls look cluttered, producing the opposite effect you were going for.

If you were lucky enough to have a room with a window, keep it open when you can. As with the mirrors, the open window will make your room look much more spacious. The extra, natural lighting it will give you will help open it up, too.

Understand Color Effects.

Even if black is your favorite color, if you want your room to look bigger, you can’t decorate your room with it. Dark colors will just make your room look like a cave or some sort of dark pit of sadness. By using lighter colors, the room will feel much larger. So instead of blacks, dark purples or blues, use lighter greys, lavender or aqua.

Clean, Clean, Clean.

And finally, keep it clean, guys! Clutter will only make the room look smaller. Make your bed and keep your dirty clothes off the floor.

Following these tips will make living in the smaller space a lot easier. And I bet everyone who walks into your room will be like, “Oh my gosh, this room is enormous! Did you get some sort of suite or something?” Even if they don’t say it…they’ll be thinking it.

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Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She lacks the ability to draw, so she loves being able to express her creativity instead through her writing. She considers herself the “coolest nerd,” spending many Friday nights indoors playing Guitar Hero and discussing Pokemon cards with her friends.