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Campus Living

Organize, privatize and maximize your dorm

Janelle Vreeland

How to decorate your room in order to give you the most space and privacy

Although it can be fun, it can also be annoying and difficult living in a campus dorm. When two (or more) people are forced to occupy a small space, privacy and personal taste have to be sacrificed somewhat. So, what can you do to make the most of your limited space? Keep these tips in mind when decorating your dorm to make your dorm feel as big and private as possible.


One of the keys to decorating your dorm is to have a system of organization. The more clutter you have around, the smaller the space will feel. Luckily, there are many useful gadgets that make organization quick and easy.

Underbed storage units make it easy to stow away a lot of stuff so that it’s hidden but still organized. They come in a variety of styles and colors and make it easy to stow away almost anything that will fit under your bed. Before purchasing one, make sure that the height of your bed frame will allow it to slide underneath easily, and make sure that the unit itself isn’t wider than the bed. Technically, it doesn’t count as decorating your dorm, but it makes living in your dorm much easier!

Storage ottomans are also an inexpensive and creative touch when trying to create space while decorating your dorm. Not only are they functional as furniture — providing comfort as an ottoman or, even, extra seating —  they’re also functional as storage. Although it varies from style to style as to how much you can stow away in them, most are perfect for stashing CDs, DVDs and books out of sight. Best of all? Most of them are priced at around $20 which perfect for broke college students.

Space Saving

Decorating your dorm with space saving nightstands can add some much needed style. Look for small stands that will hold a lamp or clock easily, but that don’t take up much width or depth. Stands that come with built-in drawers are also a good option as they give you yet another place to stash away small items. These are perfect if you wear glasses or have medication that you want to keep close at hand but out of the way from roommates.

If decorating your dorm doesn’t involve the purchase of a desk, and if your campus wasn’t kind enough to prove you with one, you can improvise by picking up a lapdesk. They vary in size, style and function which means you’re bound to find one that is perfect for you. They’re sturdy enough to hold your laptop or tablet and many have built in fans or vents to allow clean cool air through to your computer. Some even have built-in cup holders as well as holders for your pencils, thumbdrives and earbuds. A lapdesk also ensures that you’ll be able to sit comfortably while working.


Unfortunately, campus dorms don’t provide very much privacy. Although where your room is situated is completely out of your control, there are a few purchases you can make while decorating your dorm that will keep your room, and your side of the room, more private.

Decorating your dorm with blackout curtains will allow you to sleep in on bright sunny days in addition to keeping voyeurs away. These heavy and dark curtains block out sunlight, and the outside world’s view, completely. They’re a must-have for those living in a heavily populated quad or for guys and gals dorms that are situated just a little too close for comfort.

It’s hard to have complete privacy when you have a roommate, but a three-panel room divider can at least help a little. They’re lightweight, fold up easily and don’t require any installation. And, since many are inspired by Asian and Japanese design, they add a stylish touch when decorating your dorm.

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