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Cozy Up: How to Make Your Dorm Room Feel Like Home

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The transition from childhood bedroom to dorm room is a big one. It's OK to have seemingly conflicting feelings — both excitement about a new space and new chapter in your life, while also being slightly terrified to leave the creature comforts of home. When you think about it, the college dormitory is a totally weird place. There's hordes of young strangers living together in semi-private, unremarkable lodgings. Sharing a bathroom with everyone on your floor isn't exactly paradise, but you'll eventually get used to the shy, towel-wrapped shuffle from room to shower.

Is there any way to make this alien landscape a little more, well, homey? You're an exacting person, so the standard dorm decor just won't do. You'll need at least a little something to dress up the dingy floors, the faux wood desk and the white walls. Buying brand-new things for your new surroundings is a tempting (and super fun) prospect, but do it smartly. In order to get the coziest feeling, mix old, new and standard-issue for a place that feels like home. Here's how to get started.

Buy Things That Are Comfortable

You can't help but feel cozy when you surround yourself with comfortable things — plush comforters, super-soft sheets, a foot-pleasing rug. If you already have something at home that you love, bring it along, but buying these things is a fun experience, too. Outfitting a new space with new things can help distinguish between your previous bedroom and this new place.

Surround Yourself with Visual Memories

Photos of hometown friends make great faux wallpaper. Just tape them up around your room for a quick, easy solution. Another great reminder of home? Buy postcards from a tourist shop in town (or bring ones from your many adventures) and tack up in a grid for a visual punch. But don't only look to the past for comfort! Want a fun way to incorporate your new college friends? Bring an instant camera from home (or use a service to print from your Instagram, like Printstagram) and take pictures of new pals and new adventures. Tack those up once developed, and watch the evolution of your college years.

Stay Organized and On Top of Schoolwork

Remember, you're at college to meet new people, develop yourself, have new adventures and, most of all, to learn! This is higher education, after all. One way to keep your room feeling cohesive and productive? Keep the things you need and use for school organized. Make sure to straighten your desk and keep papers and notes where they belong. Making sure that this small (but important) aspect of your room is together will make living there feel like a total breeze.

Bring Specific Things from Home

While you can't bring your beloved pet into your dorm, there are some things you can. If the thought of leaving your favorite pillow or towel at home is unbearable, then bring them. A few useful reminders of home will make your new space feel magically more cozy.

Get Fun Loungewear

Slipping out of your sneakers or boots and into slipper-like moccasins or changing into comfy loungewear from your lecture-ready duds will make your room feel a lot more like a relaxing paradise. Invest in some coordinating pajamas or nice-looking sweatpants and plan to veg out. And a plush robe is a must for winter!

Don't Skimp on the Accoutrements

Adding some things that aren't standard-issue collegiate into your room will make it feel like a real human lives there. Mix some favorite novels in with your required reading, plus add some copies of Elle and National Geographic on your desk along with those presentation materials and binders. And don't forget the music! If you can swing it, bring something fun like speakers you can place around your room or even a record player if you're more analog. A TV can also be a nice way to spend downtime when you're knee-deep in studies.

Want more? Check out College Confidential for more back to school style and Declare Your Style for dorm decorating tips and essentials.

Watch: Get Fancy with $500

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