Ten ways to personalize your residence room

Turn your room into a home

Your residence is where you’ll be coming back to after classes, labs, tutorials, the gym, clubs - you name it. Your room should be somewhere you love coming home to every night!

Here are ten ways to help make your residence yours and make the most of your new space.

Invest in some wall art

Whether it's music, sports, or TV shows and movies, there’s nothing more personal than hanging posters on your wall. It’s a great way to express your interests as well as add a tasteful dash of colour to your room. There’s a poster sale that happens at least once a term in the Student Life Centre (SLC). I bought a few posters from them in first year that I hung up in my room, and I still have them up in my new place in fourth year!

Tapestries are another great form of art that have risen to fame as a means of dorm decorating. The wonderful thing with tapestries is that you can find so many unique ones with different colours, textures, and designs. If you’re looking for ways to change the tone of your room, finding the right tapestry could really help!

Leslie, my residence don, would always remind us to double-check with her or staff to see which tape is allowed to hang up posters. Make sure you check before you hang anything up so you don’t wreck the paint when you take it down. (Pro tip: that poster sale in SLC I mentioned earlier? They sell poster tape as well!)

A pile of polaroid pictures.

Keep your loved ones close by

Living in residence can be a great way to meet people, but sometimes it also means leaving loved ones back home. Bring a little piece of home to residence by finding creative ways to hang up pictures of friends and family or incorporating small mementos that remind you of home (favourite blanket, anyone?)

I have lots of friends who have some really cool picture frames. However, if you’re like me, you can also take the simple route and tape some pictures to your wall. I like to hang my photos and decorations using clothespins so that it’s easy to rearrange my décor, or swap out pictures when I get new ones printed. Regardless of how you choose to hang up your pictures, it’ll be a great way to keep your loved ones close to you.

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Light it up

Looking for a little light in your life? Changing or adding lights to your residence can make your place seem more like home. The majority of my friends like putting up Christmas lights – they’re cheap, look nice, and add a lot of personality to your room. The most popular sets are the plain white lights; however, I’ve been seeing more and more multi-coloured lights, especially the ones where you can manipulate the colours with your phone (i.e., the LED RGB Remote App on Google Play). It’s pretty common to bring desk lamps in case you’re working late at night. They can be a fun way to add a pop of colour to your room, or you could bring a fancy light that allows you to change its colours.

Make it inviting

Residence will become your home away from home, and you want to feel that the minute you walk in. That’s why it’s a great idea to start decorating your room at your door!

From an artistic design to a minimalistic whiteboard for people to leave you messages, your room will instantly feel more welcoming. In my first year, the rooms that looked the most inviting became the hangout spots, so if you’re looking to be a social room, decorations can be a great place to start.

Sometimes it can seem dim living away from home during the holidays, but with a few decorations it can be a bit easier to get in the festive mood. I had leaves hanging in my room during the fall, snowflake stickers on my window in the winter, and red and pink decorations on my door for Valentine’s Day.

One of my friends was used to watching March Madness NCAA basketball with their family, so they printed brackets for people to stop by and fill out on their door, and then stay for a game.

Make it tech-savvy

I don’t know about you, but when I think of home, I automatically associate it with relaxing. Having a solid entertainment setup in your room makes it so much easier to chill when you get home.

There are several ways of doing this. Having a small TV in your room that you can hook your laptop or tablet up to makes watching Netflix or YouTube more enjoyable. Some people bring a Chromecast to watch YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, or any streaming video service from Google Chrome. It’s a great way to put your favourite shows on the big screen, and can be cheaper than getting a smart TV. Plus, there’s more variety with what you can stream!

Another awesome way to make your place more entertaining is to bring a game console. Video games are a great way to spend time with your friends and take your mind off school! In first year, every night after dinner, my floor would play a few rounds of Mario Kart before starting on homework for the night. If you don’t have a console, or maybe want to try a few different games before investing, each residence has a console you can sign out.


Capitalize on your hobbies

When you’re going home to your residence, sometimes all you want to do is take your mind off everything and focus on doing something you love. For some people it’s reading, drawing, or playing video games. For others, rolling out their yoga mat or playing an instrument helps them decompress. 

If you're musically inclined, you can play your instrument to help you de-stress after a long day. Not only that, but an instrument will help fill up the room a little more and provide a great aesthetic! You can apply the same rules to whatever your favourite hobby is. For example, if you love reading books, you can find DIY methods to build a mini-bookshelf for all your favourite books!

Set up shop at home

If you love a café vibe like me, you can use this passion to personalize the way your residence smells! I kept a kettle in my room so I could make tea whenever I wanted. One of my friends had a French press in her room that she used to make pour-over coffee. 

To cater to this interest, I had a small shelf just for my favourite mugs and teas. I loved how it made it feel like I had my own café at home. I also love studying at local cafés, so having that little setup in my room made me feel right at home. If you’re not a tea person and more into coffee, you can do the same thing by making a little station with different kinds of coffee and all the other supplies you need!


Create a mini-greenhouse

I can almost guarantee that at least once a term at Waterloo, there’ll be a group, team, club, or service selling succulent plants. Having succulents in your place is a great way to add colour, and they're low maintenance (I mean, the only way that you can kill a succulent is if you basically forget it’s there!). You can even collect different kinds of succulents to really spruce your place up.

Have fun with it

The easiest way to personalize your residence is to think about what you have in your bedroom now and take pieces of that to add to your new space. If there’s a certain picture or piece of art that you have, feel free to bring it to your residence! That way, your place feels more like home. 

And that goes with anything – don’t be afraid to have fun when it comes to decorating your place and finding unique ways to express yourself. But before you get too décor crazy, don’t forget to follow Waterloo Residence's packing list so you know what you can and cannot bring to your new place. Happy decorating!