How to personalize your residence room

Two students sitting in a residence room. The wall behind one of the students is deocorated with photos and hanging string lights.
Author avatar of alyssa Written by Alyssa (she/her), student

Do you want to personalize your residence room and make the most out of your space? Well, here are some ideas you can use to make your space a place you enjoy!

As a university student, your dorm room is your home away from home. This means that how you personalize your environment will play a huge role in how comfortable and happy you’ll feel throughout the school year!

A few of the things that made my process and move into residence a little bit easier was the campus housing checklist. I followed that and also included some personal items to customize my room

Katie, Claudette Millar Hall (CMH)

The campus housing checklist is a useful tool when it comes to preparing for your move into this new chapter in your life. It helps you understand what you should and shouldn’t bring, which can be very helpful so that you don’t make the mistake of using two separate cars to drive up all your “necessities” like I did. However, instead of talking about what you shouldn’t do, let’s talk about what you should be doing. Keep on reading for some tips on how to personalize your university dorm room and make it feel like your own.

Start with the basics

Before you can add any personal touches, you need to make sure that your dorm room is functional and comfortable. Fitting all that you need for the year into one small space can be overwhelming, so it’s important to consider how you’ll organize your room, especially if you are living in a shared space with someone else.

Start by organizing your space and making sure that everything has a place. Invest in some practical storage solutions, such as bins or baskets, to keep your belongings in order. Buying storage bins for my shelves to hide all my miscellaneous items like medication, cleaning products, etc. was my favourite investment. It helped me stay organized and maintain a visually clutter-free space.

Clean dorm room

Add splashes of colour

Most dorm rooms come with white or neutral walls, which makes for the perfect blank canvas to start adding your personal touches. Incorporating some colour is an easy way to sprinkle some personality into your space. You can do this by hanging up colourful curtains, laying down a vibrant rug, or adding a comforter in your favourite colour to your bed. You can also display some fresh flowers in a vase to provide some liveliness and colour to your room!

Personally, I went with a more minimalistic approach when I decorated my room, so my splashes of colour came from plants scattered around my room and a few books I showcased on my shelf.

I have littered my walls with posters and pictures. Mainly because this is what my room was like at home.

isha, Eby Hall (UWP)

Display your art

Hanging up some eye-catching art or posters can make your dorm room feel more like home. Did you know that the Student Life Centre (SLC) houses a huge poster sale every September? Posters are the most common way to decorate, and it’s also one of my personal favourites.

Another easy way to make your residence room feel like home is to fill it with familiar faces. Pictures are a great way to not only personalize your space but also serve as pieces of décor. You can create a photo collage on your wall or just have a few framed pictures placed throughout your room! Tapestries are also a common art piece used to cut down on negative space and add more texture to the room.

Residence room with posters on the wall

Bring in some life

Plants are a great way to liven up a room and make it feel more welcoming. If you're new to plant care, start with some low-maintenance options like succulents or snake plants. Having plants in my dorm room pushed me to be more productive because not only did I have to take care of myself, but I had to take care of my plants too and make sure they were healthy.

Don’t forget to pack a speaker too! Whether it’s some lo-fi jazz to clear your head before a studying or an upbeat EDM playlist to boost your energy while cleaning, music is an easy way to make your room fit your mood.

Two friends in a residence room that is decorated with vines

Incorporate you hobbies and interests 

Your dorm room is a great place to showcase your hobbies and interests. If you're into music, set up a record player and display your favourite albums. If you're a bookworm, decorate your shelf with some of your must-read and soon to-be-read novels. If you're into art, invest in some reliable art supplies and a nice easel that you can fold away when you’re not using it.

Finding something that is important to you and letting that influence how you decorate your room is an effective way of curating a space that is most reflective of you.

I enjoy music and believe that it’s a big part of my life. If you’re like me, you may want to hang up posters or find memorabilia for your favourite artists.

nathan, Ron Eydt Village (REV)

Make it cozy

Your dorm room should be a place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. An aspect that is easily forgotten about when designing a space is creating the right atmosphere. For me, a lamp with warm lighting is a necessity. Not only does the lighting of your room effect your productivity, but it also can affect your comfort levels overall. Warm toned lighting sparks comfort and warmth, whereas bright white lighting promotes energy and productivity. Invest in some comfortable throw pillows and blankets to make your bed and seating area cozier.

Personalizing your dorm room does not have to be a costly or time-consuming task. With a bit of effort and a dash of creativity, you can transform your space into the second home of your dreams. 


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