Living abroad by yourself can be quite nerve-wracking and lonely. Source: Sam Wasson/AFP

While the idea of living on your own and fending for yourself seems great, it can also be a little overwhelming. If you’re moving to a new country as well, that stress is likely to double.

Whether you are a freshman or senior in college, living in a dorm room far from home isn’t easy. You must be thinking of ways to make your dorm room feel like home.

Now that classes have started, the excitement of the new semester has likely worn off, and you might be feeling just a little homesick. 

Living in a dorm room doesn’t make things any better. The small space of unappealing plain white walls, utilitarian bunk beds and a desk doesn’t feel cosy at all.

You want to create a space where you feel at home despite the small space. Thankfully, there are many ways to do it. And the best part is, it’s affordable.

If you’ve been searching for some ways to create a cosy dorm retreat that feels just like home, we have got you covered. 

Here are seven ways to make your dorm room feel like home:

1. Decorate your walls 

The off-white painted walls of college dorm rooms can be drab and uninviting. Although most unis won’t let you paint over these walls, there are many great ways to spruce them up still.

Start by hanging something colourful or bright to liven up your space. Tapestries, artwork or even posters are some of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to bring your room to life. 

If you are feeling homesick, why not hang a flag of your country on your wall? It’ll remind you of friends and family back home while giving you a talking point with new friends in college.


Students living on campus usually have to share the small space of their dorm room. Source: Fred Dufour/AFP

2. Light up your space

Dorm room lighting can be a little gloomy. Fairy lights are an easy and inexpensive way to add a touch of ambience. Drape it over your bed or add a little light to your closet or window.

Whether you hang your lights over your bed, or desk shelving or even clip your favourite pictures of you and your loved ones to a string of twinkle lights on your wall, adding lights can be a great destresser and help make your dorm feel more festive too

3. Add greenery 

What better way to bring your room to life than adding greenery? Plants can add colour, verve, and style to any space. And if you are afraid the plant might die, there are always fake plants. 

Plants are good for your health too. They absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Not only do they freshen up the air, but they also get rid of harmful toxins — according to NASA research, houseplants can eliminate up to 87% of air toxins in 24 hours. This is on top of perks found by other researchers, such as boosting concentration and productivity (by up to 15%).

4. Fill your walls with pictures

Another great way to add colour to your walls is by adding pictures of people back home. Being away from your loved ones can be lonely. Try to imagine the wall as a blank canvas and decorate it with everyone and everything you care about. Pictures of family, your best friends or your pets can help with this. Adding these pictures helps you to keep those you love close to you and give you that same feeling of being back home. 


Adding plants or flowers is a great way to brighten and bring a room to life. Source: David McNew/AFP

5. Add curtains

Simply hanging curtains on the windows will change the atmosphere of the entire room. Not only does it provide a little bit of privacy, but helps reduce noise levels. Soft textures absorb impact noise that come from door slamming, for example.

6. Create a comfy spot 

Create an area in your room where you can go to relax and escape the stress of studying. Using beanbag chairs and fluffy pillows in your corner is a cheap and comfortable way to unwind.

7. Get organised

Remember when you came home from school to a room that was clean and fresh? Now is your chance to apply what you learned from your mom to keep your dorm room neat and tidy.

Storage space in dorm rooms is limited. One solution is to use storage bins and shelves to organise your things. Spring cleaning once a week and if possible, use the cleaning products your mom used to clean the house to give it that homey feel.