Turning a dorm into a perfect home away from home


To all of the incoming freshmen and transfer students out there: I congratulate you on your recent admission to UC Berkeley! Your work ethic has certainly paid off, and it has led you to this very moment. Soak it in, and relish the feeling for you are about to embark on a whole new adventure.

Now that the last chapter of your high school experience is seemingly said and done, why not let the dorm room decorating commence?


Whichever dorm you’ve managed to secure for your first year on campus, there are a few things to keep in mind. Remember: Your room will be your home away from home for the next couple of months. All that is to say: Decoration is key.

You want to be able to enter your room after a long day of studying and bask in the warmth of decor that sparks joy, motivating you to keep on going. This is especially true for those who tend to cling onto things that are familiar.

Feeling at home in a new city is just as important as succeeding in college. If you’re not comfortable in your living situation how can your heart or your mind be at ease? Don’t be like those students whose walls remain stark white and plain; decorate now and your mental health will thank you later.


There’s a good chance you’ll end up reusing much of the decor from that childhood room in your dorm come August.

The copy-and-paste method works just as well as starting from scratch, so there’s certainly no shame in recycling decorative pieces. In fact, I applaud you for doing so since I did the same. Incorporating film photos, magazine cutouts and other items from my old bedroom three hours away was what allowed me to have a brand new room already filled with fond memories.

I’m very much a homebody; I needed a space that reminded me of the hometown that helped guide me to campus. My roommate likes to call her side of the room her own little world, and I think this should ring true for every student.

There’s no right or wrong way to decorate a dorm, and while there’s only so much you can do about the stale air, sprucing up some walls can go a long way toward making a house a home.


If you’re someone who likes change, there are many places you can tackle for some stellar decor shopping. While Target and other convenience stores are optimal locales for purchasing practical items such as shower caddies, my recommendation is different when it comes to room decor. Instead of buying something completely new, I suggest you explore your local thrift stores.

Not only will you be reducing the environmental impact of your purchase on this planet, but you’ll also be repurposing a once-loved item. I know I’ve personally found knick-knacks from second-hand shops that ring with the nostalgia of blasts from the past. There are no limits to how creative you can be with your shopping!

Whether you’re a homebody like me — always immersed in memories of loved ones through tangible photos — or someone who loves change and something new, I hope this listicle helped in your planning process.

Happy decorating, and don’t forget the tape and the hanging strips! Trust me, however you choose to set up your dorm, you’ll have a lot of posters and photos to put up ahead of you.

Contact Anyssa Torres at [email protected]


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