Residence hall rooms conjure up images of cramped spaces, gray cement walls and strange odors. We’re sorry to say that, for the most part, it’s true. Surely this is not what you would want for your home away from home, but you’ll make do, as many freshmen before you have done. Take it as an exercise in creativity and innovation. Once you’re through with your first year, you’ll be a master at packing items into every last crevice of your minuscule room as a budget-conscious interior design virtuoso. But until you reach that point, here are some tips we picked up from looking into some UC Berkeley students’ rooms for what to do and what not to do.
Pick a good bedspread — but not too good
This is the centerpiece of your room. This is where the eye is first drawn because, sadly, the majority of the space is taken up by massive, hulking bunk beds. Take this as an opportunity to show all of your floor mates that you have excellent taste. Still, if they think your taste is too good, they might all pile on top of it. So make sure it’s not something you would be too heartbroken about should someone throw up or pee on it.
This will literally breathe life into your room. No, seriously. Studies have shown that plants improve indoor air quality. Try to pick plants that don’t require much care, such as cactuses and succulents. You don’t want your plants dying on you all of a sudden because you forgot to water them in the midst of midterm season.
Hang up posters, lights and photos
Posters tell the world that you are interested in cool stuff or have cool hobbies. So hang up that “Flight of the Conchords” poster, sit back and wait for the compliments to start rolling in. Another thing to make your walls a little less drab? Christmas lights. It’s a cliche, but twinkling lights have a magical, entrancing quality about them that almost makes you forget that your view from your window often includes a homeless man peeing into a trashcan. Really, anything you can pin to a bulletin board, you should put up. From postcards to photos of your dog, use it all to cover up those bare walls.
These are the things that make a space feel like home because no other people have them in their room. So what if five people on your floor have the same Bed, Bath & Beyond bedspread as you? They surely won’t have the hip record player your grandfather gifted you for your 16th birthday, or the doodles your friends from back home drew in high school art class. These strange, quirky things will make you smile whenever you look at them.
With so much stuff, the room gets cluttered easily, and trash piles up faster than you could ever imagine. We know, we know. It will be tough, especially when you’re busy, and even tougher when you’re lazy. But if you keep your space clean, you’ll regain some sanity, and you’ll probably work a lot more efficiently without a huge mess distracting you. Don’t leave half-eaten food out, and vacuum — seriously, some people get allergies from not vacuuming enough.