top of page

Creating A Relaxing Space

by Nicole Wilkes

Photography courtesy of Ece Yavuz

Calming Colors

The age-old practice of color psychology plays a significant role in how we respond to the spaces we occupy. Utilizing it can help you decorate to maximum chill—avoid bright red and keep your eye out for color names that include “dusty”, “pale” or “light”, as they are likely to have a calming effect regardless of the hue.

White Noise

Dorms are notorious for being noisy—the commonplace combination of high-occupancy buildings and thin walls are a recipe for noise pollution. It can be exceedingly difficult to relax in your room while your neighbors have friends over or are having a hard time finding their indoor voices. White noise machines help cover up whatever noises are keeping you from being able to relax.

Dual-purpose Rugs

If your dorm room is aesthetically reminiscent of a prison cell (Warren Towers, I’m talking about you), a soft rug can do wonders in making the space feel cozier. Not only that, they can also serve as noise-cancelers.

Light Sources

No one is a fan of the harsh, florescent lights that occupy most college dorm rooms and not everyone can be blessed with copious amounts of natural light. Among the most popular and aesthetically pleasing remedies to this is string lights (see also: Christmas lights and fairy lights). String lights offer warm light that can be distributed evenly across a certain area (like one wall or corner) or the entire room. If that’s not your vibe, try investing in one or two lamps that offer warm light.

Tapestries in Lieu of Photo Collages

While photo collages are sentimental and bring personal touches to living spaces, they can give off a chaotic, disorganized feel. Instead, go for a light-colored tapestry to fill the space and add a some color—a single tapestry can often fill an entire dorm room wall, giving a calming, uniform look.


Diffusers and aroma sprays are ideal for those of us who are prohibited from using candles (setting off the fire alarm is the opposite of a relaxing experience). Go for famously relaxing scents like lavender, pine and chamomile.


Provided you can keep them alive, plants are a great way to give your room a more calming vibe. English ivy, rubber trees and snake plants are notably low-maintenance plants that double as air purifiers. If you really don’t want to commit to a watering schedule, go for a succulent instead.

Work Space vs. Home Space

If you want your room to feel more like a sanctuary than a classroom, this is a crucial one. It might be the hardest tip to follow depending on your habits, but it is well worth it. Try to get into the habit of doing work elsewhere—the library, a coffee shop, a dorm study room. This will allow you to leave the academic stress at the door when you come home and finally relax.

bottom of page