Getting good grades gets you in a great college but they don’t grant added square footage based on your GPA. It’s normal for college-aged people to feel cramped in their living spaces. However, there are ways to make the most of your allotted dorm room space. Here’s how to make the most of the space when you have limited room and budget.
Keep it Light
Darker colors will make dorm rooms appear much larger and the opposite is true about lighter colors. If you can’t paint your dorm room (it’s likely the color chosen by the school maintenance people will be light or neutral) then choose light colored paintings and prints to arrange throughout. You don’t have to spend big bucks on professional paintings. Choose pictures and images from the web, save the pictures to a small drive, and take it to Kinkos or a similar printing vendor. For a small fee, you can cover most of your room with pictures and images of your choice.
You can make the room appear larger and brighter by hanging a mirror across from a window. The mirror will serve a regular purpose, ensuring you don’t show up to classes looking less than your best, but it will also reflect the incoming light and make the room appear less crowded. Since mirrors can be expensive, search for second-hand items on Craigslist or take note of garage sales taking place in your area (remember to check local papers’ classified sections).
Invest in Fun
College is a time for intense studying and growth as a person, but you don’t have to dress your dorm room like an adult. Keep it fun and less expensive. For example, you don’t need to invest in expensive chairs; ComfySacks micro suede beanbag chairs are chic and modestly priced. A dorm room is a place to sleep and keep your things, but unlike an apartment or house, you don’t have to spend a lot of your waking time there or a lot of money. Keep it fun and fill the room with only the essentials. If you prefer to live in a larger space, meet people at the dorms and discuss pooling funds to invest in an off-campus apartment the following semester. Renting by yourself can be expensive, but the price goes down as you add more people to the lease.
Get a Futon
Since it’s a small space and you’re trying to save money, you’ll want to buy pieces that can serve more than one function. A futon is a bed at night but serves as a couch and sitting area in the day. It’s much cheaper than buying a sofa and bed individually and you’ll save space since you don’t have a separate bedroom like you would living in an apartment or home.
Play with Dimensions
It’s common to see pieces of furniture pushed against the wall or arranged in a symmetrical way, but depending on the layout of the room, such may not make for the most room or best use of what you have. For example, pushing existing furniture against the wall may create more space and make you feel as if you have to fill the room with more stuff, which gets expensive. If you pull things away from the wall, you takes space away from the middle of the room, yet the room may look more balanced. Remember, sometimes less is more, and a room can look completely different depending on how you arrange what is in it.
Long shelves are great for storing books, clothes, DVDs, sporting equipment, or whatever you need to keep in your dorm room. Plus, it keeps clutter from accumulating on the floor, which is both messy and makes the room appear smaller. Rather than needing to buy a bookcase for books and dresser for your clothes, place all items along the shelves. It’s a cheap way to look orderly while finding a place for all of your things.
If you have a roommate, create a schedule where you both use certain needed items, such as a desk, and go halves regarding shared items, such as a couch or chairs. This will lessen the expense for each individual while limiting the number of needed items. Moreover, if the beds are made for it, consider stacking them versus keeping them both on the floor. It frees up space and makes the room look less cluttered.
It doesn’t take a 4.0 GPA to make a small room look great on a limited budget.