Making Your On-Campus Housing Feel Like a Home

By: Katrina Scalise


As students settle into the new school year, their minds are usually occupied by classes, extracurriculars, and social obligations.


Dorm decor, furniture, and extra comforts are usually an afterthought, solved by a quick trip to the Room Essentials section of Target. However, decorating beyond the basics can help personalize your space, and ease the transition into the new semester.


The benefits of creatively decorating are also scientifically founded. Several psychological studies attribute mood to color theory and its application in living spaces. Prominent sociologists such as Jean Baudrillard argue that objects chosen to fill a space inform their purpose, and act as an expression of our personalities and desires.


Keeping in mind that American families spend an average of $1,200 on back-to-college supplies, according to the National Retail Federation, here are some cost effective ways to decorate your college space:


Plants: A study published by the National Library of Medicine found that interacting with indoor plants may reduce psychological and physiological stress. Support local nurseries by buying your plants at The Sill Boston on Newbury Street or Growing Season in Brookline!


Facebook Marketplace furniture: Looking to upgrade your university-furnished room? Want to find some extra seating or a quirky side table? Look no further than Facebook Marketplace! According to The Boston Globe, college students make up about 20 percent of the city’s population. During move-in season, there’s no shortage of students listing their used furniture online. Find unique tables, chairs, beanbags, and more for less than retail price on Facebook’s Marketplace page.


Posters and photos: Bring a piece of home to your dorm by displaying photos of family and friends! Get cheap photos printed and sent to you through Snapfish, Shutterfly, Freeprints, or CVS’ photo service. Or, show your personality by printing posters of your favorite musicians, artworks, or celebrities. For larger print jobs check out the printing services at Staples and FedEx.


Lighting: Several studies published in the National Library of Medicine have shown that ambient lighting mimics our internal circadian clocks: so trade in the fluorescent dorm lighting for table lamps and hanging lights. To be sustainable, use LED or plug-in lighting as opposed to battery-operated lights.


Floor decor: Utilize your floor space by adding a cozy, colorful rug to automatically brighten your space. Throw cushions or pillows on your rug to create a comfy hangout area for friends. You can even lay down a small, flat tray to act as a faux coffee table, hold playing cards and games, and protect your rug from drink spills.


Interactive feature: An easy way to personalize your space is to add an interactive aspect. Hang up a whiteboard or chalkboard, and let visitors write on it when they come over! Or, you can start a photo wall, and add photos of everyone who enters your residence throughout the year. To be extra unique, have your visitors sign their photos. At the end of the year, you’ll have a collection of mementos to remember your space.