OPINION: How to make dorm and apartment living enjoyable

Damon Stone, Staff Reporter

You’ve moved from your home and are now living in a dorm on campus or an apartment off campus, and you want to make that space feel like a home. Whether you’re in a resident hall or apartment, here are a few tips and tricks to make your new living feel truly like a home

Add decorations

The walls of your living space are barren by default. Not a big surprise, but keeping those walls blank is a sure-fire way to keep where you’ll be spending the next two semesters far from feeling like home. 

Add some posters to the walls of your favorite band, TV show, movie series or whatever might tickle your fancy. Try putting a few pictures of your family on your desk or hang up some LED lights around your room. Anything to make your space feel more like you as an individual. 

Additionally, decorations can help with morale, especially when classes start to become more intense and challenging. A nice picture of a cat hanging on a wire, with the text, “Hang in there,” could be all that it takes to help motivate you to hang in there. 

Rearrange the furniture

The way that the dorms are laid out is not horrible (in my two years living in the dorms, I haven’t done this at all,) but it’s all the same. It’s more work than hanging some decorations, but changing how your living space is can help make it feel more unique.

For example, you could raise your bed, move your desk underneath and have some room in the corner for a TV. You could move everything out from under your bed, put it in your closet space and move your TV underneath your bed, like a mini living room. The sky truly is the limit to what your living space could be like. 

Sheila Flener, a professor of Interior Design and Fashion Merchandising, offered some insight into the prospect of rearranging furniture. Flener highlighted how personalization can help make your room unique and more like home.

“[Interior] design is about fitting your needs, and making you comfortable and happy, so rearranging is a great idea.” Flener said. “… Dorm rooms are institutional rooms, but bring yourself to the room. Feel like you belong to the community; … if you’re homesick, you’ve got to have things that remind you of home, embrace the community is what I’m trying to say.”

Invest in some noise-canceling headphones

This is the more pricey option, but it will definitely save you from some sleepless nights. Some people on your floor may not respect quiet hours, and are screaming and hollering late into the night. Not a happy scenario if you just so happen to have an 8 a.m.

By investing in noise-canceling headphones, you save yourself the worry of being late to a class, because your neighbors were too loud. And, on top of that, you’ll have a nice new pair of headphones to use when walking to class, working out or doing homework. Just don’t have them on when you’re actually in that 8 a.m.

Some examples of noise-canceling headphones include Anker Soundcore, Perytong Bluetooth headband for sleep and sports and the Bose QuietComfort. Any of these are a good pick to ensure that you can get that rest you need.

Connect with the people you’re living alongside

The hardest one of all, but has the most long-term support. By default, you’ll have a roommate, unless you want the whole room to yourself. With a roommate, you have at least one person you can talk to, gripe with and hopefully develop into friends after this year. 

The next step would be talking to those living around you, and connecting with them. The easiest way to do that would be to send out a message in GroupMe, asking if there is anybody on your floor that would like to go to the game room in DSU, play some basketball in Preston or something like arranging a movie night. 

Now, I won’t lie, this part is definitely the most challenging. Having the stars align just so that there are several people on your floor that you can easily connect to is rare, but certainly possible. You won’t know unless you try. 

Staff Reporter Damon Stone can be reached at [email protected]