Moving away from home and into a dorm room for the first time can be daunting. You’ve just packed your bags and traded in home-cooked meals, childhood belongings and the comfort of your own room for a small space with blank walls and a brand new roommate. But there’s no need to panic. Here are a few tips to make your new home away from home feel a little more like the real thing.
Though it may seem like a waste of time and money to decorate a temporary space, transforming your dorm into a comfortable environment is an important factor in creating a positive college experience. Line your walls with pictures of friends and family, magazine cut-outs, posters, maps or small paintings. Be sure to check out the annual Back to School Poster Sale at the Kimmel Center for University Life, beginning on Sept. 13.
Leave it at home
Though NYU residence halls boast larger rooms than many other schools, space is still limited. Bring only what you need to make you comfortable and leave the rest at home — too many extra belongings will make your room seem smaller. If you need extra room for storage, place bed raisers underneath your bed to maximize your space.
Light it up
Most dorm rooms have one florescent, overhead light and smaller lights attached to each desk. Add ambient lighting to your room to make the environment homier. Consider purchasing a standing lamp or an additional desk lamp, or hang rope lights on the walls or around the windows.
Have a seat
Though you will not be able to bring chairs or couches into your room, you can add extra seating to make the space more inviting. Buy a beanbag chair or several floor cushions so your friends have a place to sit when they come to visit.
Dorm mattresses are uncomfortable. Make your bed a place you can relax by adding a mattress pad or memory foam. Some mattress pads can be pricey — look for sales at stores like Target and Walmart and on websites like overstock.com. Bring your old comforter or blanket to put on your bed — the familiar furnishing will remind you of home.
You don’t have to break the bank to make your room look great. Many big-box chain stores offer discounts on dorm and back-to-school essentials like sheets, towels and school supplies. Be sure to stop at Bed Bath & Beyond on 6th Avenue in Chelsea on Aug. 26 for the store’s 9th Annual Shopping Event. From 10 a.m. until midnight, free shuttles will take students and parents from NYU residence halls to Bed Bath & Beyond, where students will receive a 10 percent discount on their entire purchase.
A version of this story appeared in the Aug. 26 print edition. Nicola Pring is features editor. Email her at email@example.com.