Freshman Files is a summer-long series in which I’ll discuss the things I wish I’d known exactly a year ago when I was an incoming freshman. Whether you’re starting college at the end of the summer or are looking for some tips on how to organize or want to know how to pick out good shoes for a party, this series is for you.
A Freshman File on a day that isn’t Friday? Calm down dude, everything’s okay. Because I may have missed a few Fridays in June, I’m taking my initiate to blog every day as an opportunity to share all the content I had planned for last month. So let’s talk about my secret trick for making a dorm room feel like home.
Dorm rooms are bland (at least they are at my university). White walls, industrial lighting, durable furniture. It has to be this way so the rooms can be easily cleaned and maintained; also, who’s going to buy a bunch of eighteen to twenty-two-year-olds expensive furniture? This is great for knowing when enough dust has accumulated to give your room a scrub-down but makes the room feel quite boring and almost unsettling without enough color and life to warm up the space.
How does one bring that color and life into a lackluster space? Pictures.
When I moved into my dorm, I printed out a bunch of pictures from my phone. I sent the images to Walgreens online (you can also upload and purchase prints from the Walgreens app), which was simple and incredibly cheap. I’ve noticed that Walgreens and other drugstores tend to have print sales around holidays and the beginning of the academic year, so keep an eye peeled for those sales. I bought upwards of forty four-by-six prints and only paid six-ish dollars in total.
I didn’t have a plan when I got these pictures. Maybe I’d use them to frame my window or make some artistic pattern. When I saw the huge empty wall in my room, I knew exactly what I needed: a cloud of pictures. I taped all my pictures to my wall in one giant mass, lining them up so there were no gaps between the prints.
The difference was instantaneous. The pictures brought warmth and coziness to the space, reducing the amount of white space and making the entire room feel welcoming. When friends would come over and visit, they immediately commented on how colorful and bright my room was because I had all those pictures on the wall.
The collage expanded over the year as I took and printed out more pictures, which only added to the vibrant effect. Something so simple and so inexpensive took my dorm space from bland to personalized and comfortable.
I loved how my picture collage influenced my room so much that I now use the same idea for my room at home. The three doors in my room (two on the closet, one leading to the hallway) are now covered with duplicates of the pictures I had at school. Just like at school, they bring so much color to my room, which was previously all neutrals and felt slightly cold. Now, it’s inspired me to bring more color into my room while reminding me of all the joyful memories behind the images.
What are your favorite tips for making a space feel like home? What cool decor pieces do you use in your room?
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