Unless you go to an extremely fancy college straight out of a movie like Pitch Perfect, chances are good that your dorm room is super tiny. Whether it’s a room with just one other roommate or a suite that features a common area, most dorm rooms are small and cramped. That packed feeling gets even worse as the year goes on and you and your roomie (s) start accumulating more stuff and feeling more comfortable in your new room. And while a small bedroom is obviously completely doable and not the end of the world, it can start to feel suffocating when you’re actually living inside of it.
While there is no way to physically make your dorm room bigger than it is (unless you, like, donate a million dollars to your college), there are some sneaky ways to make your dorm room seem bigger than it is. It comes down to how you’re decorating and how you’re positioning everything. A lot of students assume that they shouldn’t be moving around the furniture that comes with the room, but that’s not true – for the most part, you’re allowed to do a little “renovating” to spruce the place up. If your focus is on getting a little extra space, then check out these tips on making your dorm room look bigger. It’s just a nice way to feel less claustrophobic!
1. Put your desk under your bed.
Most dorm rooms have bunk beds or beds that are already raised – and if they aren’t, there is usually the option to raise them and make them more like a loft bed. If you can do that, definitely go for it – you can use that extra room to store things. If your desk fits under there, that will free up a lot of space elsewhere. It also makes your desk area feel more cozy.
2. Or put your couch under the bed.
If you can’t move your desk or it won’t fit under your bed, try putting a couch under there. It’s not exactly a necessity in your dorm room, but it is nice to have, and unfortunately it can take up a lot of space – so putting it under the bed is perfect. If possible, make it a futon or pull-out for guests.
3. Add storage containers to your closet.
Your dorm closet will probably be small whether your room is small or not. Keeping it organized is a good way to keep the rest of your room cleaner, since there will be less stuff that needs to go somewhere. Instead of just using the provided racks and drawers, get small storage containers like bins or baskets to keep things more neat and to give yourself a lot more room.
4. Use minimal decorations.
It’s fun to decorate your dorm room, but going overboard with the photos, wall hangings, tapestries, and small decorative items is going to make your room seem cramped and messy. If you go for a more minimalistic approach to decorating, your room will automatically look larger because there will be less stuff in it.
5. Put your desks between your beds.
Most dorm rooms have desks at the foot of the bed, which can leave space in awkward spots – like between both beds. If possible, move your desks so that they’re next to each other and sandwiched in between the beds. It leaves more room at the foot of your beds, which is where you’ll want more room because it’s an easier spot to work with. Of course, this does mean you’ll have to do work right next to someone, so make sure you’re okay with that before doing this.
6. Move your beds so that they’re on the same side of the room.
Having your beds on opposite sides of the room gives more privacy, but it can also take up more space. Placing them like this, on one side of the room, could free up a lot of floor space. Just, again, make sure you’re cool with the fact that you’ll be sleeping super close to your roomie.
7. Add as much light as possible.
Lots of light makes any room look larger – darker colors make rooms seem smaller. Natural light is really your best bet, so if you have nice windows, either get sheer curtains or make sure they’re usually pushed aside. Whether you have natural light or not, you should also get lots of other lighting options, like bright lamps and LED string lights.
8. Store as much as possible under your bed.
If you can’t fit a desk or a couch under your bed, don’t worry – you can use that space for storage. Put things you rarely use all the way in the back, since they’ll be harder to get to. Then find small shelving units that will fit under your bed, along with boxes and drawer sets, to keep as many things as you can under there. It clears up the rest of your room, making it look bigger.
9. Add lots of mirrors.
Mirrors trick people into thinking a room is larger than it is – and unfortunately, not all dorm rooms have them. Get a desk mirror for your dresser or desk, get a large full length mirror for the wall, put one on your door, hang up a small one – don’t go too crazy, but two or three should help.
10. Decorate with brighter colors.
Like I said before, darker colors tend to make rooms look smaller. When searching for comforters or blankets, opt for white, cream, or something bright – I like how this girl accented cream with a bright blanket. Hang a colorful tapestry, add bright string lights, decorate with colorful pillows and other accents.
11. Put one bed under the other.
If you can move your beds, you might want to loft one up and leave the other lower, then put one under the other, leaving space on the side so it’s not exactly like bunk beds. It’s a little bit more comfortable of a situation than bunk beds, and will save space in the rest of the room.
12. Hang things on your door.
When decorating and organizing, don’t forget about the space on your door – it can hold a lot. Add a full-length mirror, some shelves, or get an over-the-door unit that holds stuff like shoes or accessories.
13. Hang sheets from your bed.
If your bed is lofted, hang some sheets like curtains from the bottom – this will hide whatever is under there, whether it’s storage or your desk, and give the room a cleaner, airier feel.
14. Make a canopy for your bed.
Giving your bed it’s own private space makes it seem separate from your room and gives the feel of more space. It’s also nice to have that teensy bit of privacy.
15. Add shelves over your bed.
Don’t forget about the walls! If you’re allowed, hang some shelves that are sturdy enough to hold more than just small items. Use them as storage to clear up the rest of the room.
16. Get a tall shelving unit instead of a wide one.
Tall shelving units like this will always take up less space than a wide one. And usually, they hold the same amount of stuff.
17. Stack things on top of each other whenever possible.
Sure, that TV could go on the floor on its own, but stacked on top of a drawer unit, it gives the room a little more space. I like how the microwave is even on top of the fridge.
18. Go for a specific color scheme.
If possible, talk to your roommate before moving in so that you guys can coordinate decor. If you both get the same colors, the room will look put together and more neat, as well as larger than it is.
Have you recently moved into a dorm? What are y our tips for making a dorm seem bigger? Share in the comments.