Make the Most of a Tiny Space: Dorm Living Solutions

Dorm living is a huge adjustment for most students. Amidst the major life changes, like leaving home, finding your classes on campus, and connecting with new friends, the last thing you want to worry about is fixing up your dorm room.

After mom and dad kiss you goodbye, your tiny dorm room is home for the next nine months. Dorms are notoriously cramped spaces where students are expected to live, work and play – and share with a roommate. Making the most of your limited space is crucial to making it through the school year. Follow these six tips to maximize your new small space.

Don’t Forget the Floor

Choosing a throw rug for your floor can make a big difference in personalizing your space. Dorm walls are often difficult places to hang even lightweight framed pictures or art without sacrificing your security deposit. A rug with a bold pattern will define the space, keep your bare feet warm, and absorb sound. The rug has to be the right accent to the whole feel of your room. If it’s an eclectic room, go crazy and get the funkiest looking one you can get your hands on.

Storage, Storage, Storage!

And this doesn’t just include the extra stuff your mom and dad don’t want to keep at their house anymore. Self storage will empty your old bedroom and give you the option of saving your childhood memories without having to bring them with you to school.

Keeping your things organized will be an uphill battle, but no one wants to trip over shoes in the middle of the night on their way to a communal bathroom. Set aside part of your budget for organizational supplies and do that shopping after you’ve moved in. Once you see your things in the space you’ll have a better idea of what you can use instead of adapting an item you thought you’d need and could have done without. Underbed storage and risers are excellent options in most circumstances. Over door shoe pockets can often be used in closets to organize shoes or accessories. An over the door hook or rack of hooks might be a good way to hang towels.

Extra Items

It’s usually not advised to bring too much extra furniture into such a small space, unless of course that furniture will get a lot of use. A large open or wire shelving system can be put to good use in nearly any dorm.

Alternate Arrangements

Don’t be afraid to rearrange the furniture in the room to suit you and your roommate. Be sure both of you are on board before you bunk the beds or make any other extreme decisions. Visit other rooms with the same floor plan and see what’s working for other residents. Hopefully, someone in your hall has found the perfect solution and you can just repeat what they’ve done without reinventing the wheel.

Start With Bedding

Your bed will be the most “you” place in the room, so choose your bedding before you choose any other accents for your space. The bed will also be where you sleep, study, and snack; it will be your sofa and sometimes your desk. Choose bedding that is sturdy and easily washable. Dorms are no place for delicate fabrics that rip or stain easily. Don’t be afraid to mix and match fabrics on your bed and bring extra pillows.

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes to other decorative accents choose quality items over quantity. Dorm rooms are rarely clutter-free, but don’t add to the visual chaos with meaningless knick-knacks. We’re not advocating ringing crystal stemware, but rather avoiding pre-purchasing myriad posters in an attempt to define yourself. Bedside lamps are an excellent example of something that will be utilized and can also be aesthetically pleasing.

Related Posts

The following two tabs change content below.


Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

Latest posts by TheCollegeHelper (see all)