Newly admitted students: how to decorate your future dorm room

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Daniela Grinblatt/Staff

Congratulations to all you newly admitted UC Berkeley students! You’ve just been accepted to the finest public institution on Earth. There is a lot to think about over the next few months, from what classes you want to take to which meal plan to sign up for — and, of course, where you want to live. The housing application is both thrilling and nerve-wracking, because while it entails all the excitement of your future dorm situation, it also carries a lot of mystery with it. Where will you be living? Whom will you be living with? How the heck are you going to share a bathroom with 30 other people?

Fear not, incoming freshmen, all will be sorted out in a matter of time. Most of it you can’t control — the housing system works as a lottery, and you may not get your preference — so it’s not worth worrying over. What you can decide, though, is what to bring with you to decorate. So before you make that momentous trip to Bed Bath & Beyond, read the following tips, and think carefully about how to set yourself up for dorm room success.

Tip No. 1: Paint with all the colors of the wind.

Think of the UC Berkeley dorms as a blank canvas. While an unoccupied room may resemble an Alcatraz jail cell, it doesn’t need to stay that way! Hang lanterns, string lights, put up posters  whatever suits your fancy. UC Berkeley students are known for getting creative when it comes to adding personality to their dorm rooms.

Check out this video for one student’s innovative enhancement idea: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6x1GkgbVP1I

Tip No. 2: Less is more.

Remember that while you do have the freedom to accessorize your space however you want, your room is going to feel like it is the size of a shoe box. So don’t go too crazy. One vibrant rug or a few cool picture frames will go a long way. You have to leave room for, well, you.

Tip No. 3: Love thy neighbor.

Chances are you’ll be living with a roommate next year, which is absolutely wonderful! The dorms are social and fun, and living with another person teaches you invaluable life skills. You don’t want to march in on move-in day and dominate the space  roommate life is all about compromise. If a decoration you’re thinking of bringing might be deemed “invasive,” just skip it. You don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

Tip No. 4: Think outside the box.

Drape curtains over your bunk, prop pillows to turn a bed into a couch and stack shelving to create more space. A dorm room doesn’t need to look like a dorm room! Also, because of the lack of space, think about killing two birds with one stone  a single item can serve many functions. Check out Pinterest for innovative inspiration.

You’re all set, college kid — wave that magical interior design wand, and turn your Alcatraz into Versailles. Hit up Bed Bath & Beyond with ease, and make Martha Stewart proud!

Image sources (clockwise from top right): Jasmine Verret/Courtesy, Nancy Liao/Courtesy, Evana Ahsan/Courtesy, Jessica Ou (center)/Courtesy, Elijah Z. Granet/Courtesy, Siddhant Tandon/Courtesy, Daniela Grinblatt/Staff

Contact Daniela Grinblatt at [email protected].