How to Make Your Dorm Room a Stress-Free Sanctuary

There’s a growing number of students struggling with stress, which makes it difficult for them to focus on academics. Surely a monotonous and cramped dorm room isn’t helping with that issue. Dorm rooms have their advantages. For one, they save money you desperately need for enjoying your college days, and they are a great way to meet new people and hang out. However, after years of living in a home with your parents where everything has its place and it is decorated just right, they’re quite a big change. Although you can’t turn a tiny room into a home, you can still make it homier and less stressful. Here’s how.

Cover the walls

One of the biggest flaws of dorm rooms is that they leave you no space to make real changes. Painting the walls is out of the question, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave them bare. There are plenty of creative ways to infuse them with personality. Vinyl decals are a neat way to make a big change, and they’re easily removable. Also, you can hang art without creating holes in the wall. For example, hang a clothespin for your photo display or use hooks that stick to the wall to show off some artwork.

Make a bedside table

Surely you had a bedside table in your bedroom back home, but you surely didn’t pack it when you came to college. It is the place where you can keep your books, a water pitcher, or anything else you might need during the night. And since you’re already including a nightstand, make it creative: use everything from an old suitcase, a drum and a barrel to cinder blocks and a bunch of books.

Comfort as a priority

Dorm beds are not exactly what one would call exemplars of comfort, but there are some things you can do about it. First, get rid of that decades-old mattress and replace it with supportive memory foam mattress, and make sure you get a good cozy pillow.

Now all you need to do is to make it look more comfortable. To achieve that you’ll need a knitted throw blanket and a bunch of soft pillows of different textures (faux fur and silk for example).

Don’t put your work where your sleep is

We get it, studying while you’re lying on your bed may seem really attractive, but it is far from being productive. It would be best if you could study and do your homework in the college library or even in a quiet local café.

If you have some room to spare, you can even design a dedicated study area. You will need a small desk (even a table can serve the purpose) and a chair. Place them in one corner of the dorm, add a table lamp, and voila.

Liven up

There are various studies proving that indoor plants can reduce psychological stress and purify the air. Both of these things are imperative for dorm rooms, and stress-free study environment. Besides, indoor plants make fantastic décor elements and they’ll instantly make your room look better.

If you are not spending plenty of time in your room or you’re not very proficient in taking care of plants, don’t worry, you can opt for some low-maintenance options that provide you with the same benefits. Aloe, bamboo and succulents are all great ideas.

Improve the lighting

Chances are that your dorm room features only one ceiling light fixture. This is a problem that can be addressed easily with one table lamp for your desk and one for the nightstand. You can also add string lights for extra magic, and scented candles (if allowed) with relaxing scents (e.g. lavender) or other items that produce scents.

Your dorm room should be the place where you can relax after a hard day of classes and homework. These tips will help you achieve that with minimal effort and investment.


Chloe is a blogger and a huge fan of social media. She enjoys learning and writing about design, business, productivity and career related topics. Her biggest dream is to travel the whole world and take stunning photographs of beautiful places. You can find Chloe on FB and Twitter.



8 Comments on “How to Make Your Dorm Room a Stress-Free Sanctuary

  1. These are great ideas, Chloe. I especially like the plant. Not sure the scented candles will work, though. Most dorms have strict rules about candle use due to fire codes.

    • You’re very right – I forgot to edit that. Candles are not allowed in many dorms, but students can definitely have other items that produce scents. I edited the text to highlight this. Thanks!

  2. Ohhh this is so helpful for decorating a room, college dorm style! College dorm rooms give me anxiety because of the small space and because it gives me the “study vibe” . Hanging a clothespin for photo displays or using hooks that stick to the wall to show off artwork is super cute and space fitting.

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