How to Make Your College Dorm Room More Homey

Written by

Dr. Ree Langham


February 2, 2018


How to make your college dorm room more homey

Moving away from home and into a college dorm room for the first time can be both overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time. Besides the fact that you won’t be sleeping in your own comfy bed anymore and eating your mom’s homemade casseroles, you still have to make new friends, figure out how to balance your academics and social life, ace your courses, and adapt to a new environment. Wooza! But, even though you can’t control everything in your new world, you can have some say in the place you now call “home.” So, even though your dorm room will never have the “hominess” of your childhood abode, you can make it as close as possible to the real thing. And guess what? This crafty article can help make your home-away-from-home feel pretty darn “homey.”

Below are nine simple ways that you can make your college dorm room more homey and comfortable. 

1. Sparkly Lights

What female doesn’t love sparkly things? Not many, I’m guessing. What better way to give your dorm room a little pizazz than by adding sparkly string lights to it. The best thing about these lights – they create the perfect ambiance for watching movies with your roomie or bae, reading a juicy book, or even studying for exams and completing assignments. So, if you want to create a “jazzy” dorm room that will have all the other residents jealous of your personal style, string up some lights and let them shine. Don’t worry guys, I haven’t forgotten about you, if string lights just aren’t up your alley, you can still “brighten up” your room and make it feel “homey,” simply by adding two tall lamps to your room. Shine baby shine!

2. “Smelly” Fragrances

What does your home smell like? Does it have a fruity smell, floral smell, cookies and cakes smell, or woodsy/earthy smell? Think about what fragrances remind you of home and take them with you to college. However, do not light candles or incense in your dorm room. Why not? Well, because most colleges forbid them due to fire hazard concerns. The good news is that you can “freshen up” your room by using fragrant sprays like Glade and Febreeze. But, if your college dorm is super small and stuffy, you may want to also add a couple of bowls of potpourri to remind you of home.

3. Inspirational Artwork

College can get pretty stressful sometimes, and if you are like most college kids, there will be times when you don’t feel oh-so encouraged and maybe a little homesick. Well, a good way to ward off the “blues” and make your college dorm room feel more “homey” is to place inspirational artwork on the walls. Oh, and if you are worried about putting holes in the wall – don’t, because you can always use putty instead of nails. So, when you are having a rough day and Mom and Dad aren’t around, spend some time gazing at the inspirational artwork adorning your walls, and I guarantee you it will feel as if Mom and Dad are right there with you – cheering you on. 

4. Photos of Your Family & Friends

Want to make your college dorm room feel “homey?” If the answer is a resounding YES, then you will most definitely need to decorate your college dorm room with lots of photos of family and friends, oh and pets too. Truth-be-told, it always feels good to see pictures of your loved ones. So, place a thousand of your favorite pictures (just kidding) on your wall (with putty, of course), or on a colorful or personally-decorated bulletin board. Or, be adventurous and string your pictures together with yarn and stretch them from wall-to-wall. Having photos of your family and friends around you will make you feel as if you are surrounded by love.

5. Linus’s Blanket

Remember how Charlie Brown’s friend, Linus, used to carry his blanket around with him everywhere he went? Well, if you want to make your college dorm room feel “homey,” you may want to bring some mementos from home like your favorite blanket, your childhood towel, preferred coffee mug, prized books, beloved stuffed animal, comfy pillow, or favorite comforter to college. Having your “security blanket” with you will make you feel “more at home” in your new surroundings. 

Looking for career advice? Choosing a college or career is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Make sure you get all the help you need. Go to the College Mouse career directory to find a career counselor near you.

Or sign up for our upcoming Keys to Career Success course. We will walk you through the steps you need to follow as you chart your career journey – from how to narrow your career options, choose a college major and decide where to study, all the way to how to plan your job search, switch careers, and position yourself for your dream job. Click here to sign up

6. A Vibrant Rug

Let’s be real, most college dorm rooms are old, which means they probably have their fair share of spots and stains on the walls and floors. Well, there’s nothing less “homey,” then blemishes that you didn’t make yourself, so what’s a college kid to do? Well, you could always slap a vibrant rug on the floor to make your room feel more comfortable – and clean. A good rug will not only make your room more appealing, it will also hide those hideous marks.

7. Comfy Loungewear and Pajamas

What’s the first thing you used to do when you came home from high school? Slip into your favorite loungewear or pajamas, right? I couldn’t wait to get home and get out of my “school clothes” and into my favorite pajamas. Pajamas, in my world, equaled relaxation and “hominess.” So, now that you are going to college, the best way to make your room feel more “familiar” is to practice that same routine – slipping into loungewear or pajamas. So, gather up your favorite lounge outfits and pajamas and place them in your suitcase – they are coming with you to the “New World.” P.S. Don’t forget your comfy slippers and plush rob.

8. Colorful Curtains

Does house have curtains? Most do, of course. Well, you can make your college dorm room feel more relaxed simply by adding colorful curtains to it. It will brighten up your room and make you feel happier and more upbeat about being at college. While some, not all, colleges have curtains in the rooms; they are usually quite hum-drum and boring. So, track down fabrics that reflect who you are – i.e. your dynamic personality – and hang them up. Oh, and if college rules prohibit your from removing and/or replacing existing curtains, simply hang your curtains over the original ones. Note: If you decide to add curtains to your college dorm room, hang them up with adhesive-based solution hooks to avoid tearing up the walls.

9. Low-Maintenance Plants

Plants? Yes, plants can make your room feel more comfortable, especially if you grew up with plants in your home. Others benefits of plants are they can boost your mood and improve your concentration and focus. Decide which types of plants catch your eye, and stick to the low-maintenance ones like cacti – that require very little attention and upkeep.

You May Also Like to Read…



Written by:  Dr. Ree Langham

Dr. R. Y. Langham holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Fisk University, a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (M.M.F.T.) in Marriage and Family Therapy from Trevecca Nazarene University, and a Ph.D. in Family Psychology from Capella University. She is currently a medical, health & wellness contributor, copywriter, researcher and psychological consultant for Livestrong magazine, Upwork, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of TN, and

Leave Comment

Share Your Comments & Feedback:

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.