As a college student, I’ve become accustomed to moving my living space. Whether it was into the dorms, back home for summer, into a new apartment, (back home for the summer again), and repeat one more time, I’ve seen and rearranged my share of rooms. It may seem difficult to make your college space your own when you know you will be leaving it in just a few months.
Despite certain limitations that may be in place (no holes allowed in the walls, no new paint colors, trying to work that free couch you inherited into your feng shui), there are many ways to fully embrace your space and make it your home. After all, establishing a feeling of permanence is important, as comfort is key to both productivity and relaxation.
Unfamiliarity is the last thing you want when you are trying to do your Zumba workout in your living room, fall asleep before your big exam, or make a dinner which experiments with all the different spices in your kitchen cupboard. I’ve put together a list of different ways to make a temporary space feel like a permanent home—and most importantly, doing so on a college budget.
1. Cover those walls with personal touches
First on my list when moving into a new place is covering those blank walls with my own personal touches (I’d like to give a huge shout out to thumb tacks and Command strips). A tapestry is an easy way to cover a big space and make it warm and inviting. Others may opt for cute banners, handmade paintings, postcards, or posters. Whether it’s fairy lights or a motivational poster, find something that always makes you happy when you look at it. Covering the walls makes for a cozy space that screams “you!” and makes you feel instantly welcomed.
2. Collaborate on common spaces
Especially when living with roommates, the common spaces such as living rooms, kitchens, and even bathrooms become an important place for everything from casual group hangouts to serious conversation, from late night chats to cookie-baking. The common spaces should be a place where everyone feels welcomed and at home, so contribute to these areas equally! Fun activities such as hosting a group painting night can be a way to create a shared community in the space, and it also gives you lots of new decorations for your walls.
3. Display your memories
An easy way to make your space feel more like home is simple: bring things from home. Whether it's an old family photo or your favorite childhood stuffed animal, bringing a little memento from your old living space can be a way to make you feel comfortable and safe. I lived close to the beach at home but not during school, so I covered my room with postcards of the ocean as a reminder that home is never far away. For many, however, college becomes a new home. Decorating your space with your favorite college gear and memories is another way to remind you that you are where you are supposed to be.
4. Liven things up with greenery
Literally liven things up by incorporating house plants, flowers, and succulents into your space. Greenery can be a great way to bring your space to life. As an avid plant-killer, I usually opt for a fresh vase of flowers on the kitchen table, or a sturdy succulent on my desk for a pop of color. However, those with more of a green thumb can take on more advanced greenery like ferns or air plants, which can make a room feel fresh and fun.
5. Get cozy with comfy bedding
As stated before, it is essential to feel comfortable in your space at all times in order to maximize productivity (and relaxation). Do so by making sure your bed is adorned with the comfiest of pillows, comforters, and sheets. Getting into bed should always feel like a special treat.