For many students, a residence hall can feel more like a prison than a home. The trick is finding ways to transform your 8-by-10 cell into a personal oasis.
Many students opt to share their modest space with a roommate. But trying to reconcile individual styles with space limitations and housing regulations can be a recipe for disaster.
After going potluck two years in a row, Sarah Connelly, Leavenworth senior, said not to worry about trying to coordinate everything because it's a temporary situation.
"If you end up with a couch and a rug that you would never pair together anywhere else, it's OK because it's a dorm room," she said.
For the optimist, a new dorm room is a blank canvas. For everyone else, the room belongs in a hospital. Try introducing color into the space to make it less sterile and more inviting.
Avoid covering every space with posters, which will make your room appear smaller.
Regulations prohibit painting rooms, so consider fabric-starching a wall. Temporarily covering a wall is an easy way to transform the room. The procedure also is easy to remove on move-out day. Just moisten the fabric and peel away!
Changing the look of the floor is simple by adding a rug. Don't invest in something fancy because it will have a hard life. Instead, make a rug using heavy canvas. This is a cheap way to customize the floor without much risk.
Choosing the right bedding is a vital component in decorating. Stay away from whites and darks; they won't hide stains. Bring a foam egg-crate if you think the bed is uncomfortable.
Making room for 18 years of childhood memories will be a daunting task in your new home.
Lauren Cason, Overland Park senior, suggests storing extra clothes in boxes beneath the bed and leaving unnecessary items at home.
"If you haven't used it within the last year, it won't be used in the next year either," she said.
Other students find elevating their beds is an easy way to recover space.
"I lofted my bed and put a futon underneath so I could have a place to do homework and watch TV," said Eric Jantzer, Overland Park senior.
Before move-in day, talk with your roommate to decide who will bring the TV and fridge. But leave the stereo at home.
"It was covered in dust all year," Jantzer said. "Everyone just listens to music on the computer."
Connelly said to borrow from another resident if after moving in you find you have left something at home.
"Forgetting something is a good excuse to meet a cute neighbor," she said.