By Kayla Lutes, Features Editor

For many college students, their dorm room is their first home away from home. So, how can students be sure to get that special “no place like home” feeling in a dorm with half the space of their room at home? The answer is in the aesthetics. Comfy pillows, fluffy blankets and personal touches will make your dorm room the perfect place to come back to after a long day of classes.


Throughout my college years, I’ve brought three different rugs to help define and brighten my dorm room space. Rugs bring an instant sense of home when you kick off your Chaco’s and walk barefoot on the cozy surface. I bought a rug from Target for $80, which I used for my freshman and sophomore year before my mom gave it a permanent place in our living room during the summer. My current rug, weaved with bright colors that make me smile after a long day of work, was a steal from Tuesday Morning for just $50.

After rugs, curtains are the next homey essential. College life means sleeping whenever you can and nothing helps a good nap like well-placed curtains to block out the glaring sun. Curtains can also brighten up your space, and if you match them with your bedspread and rugs, they really pull the room together. Once again, Target is a great go-to for curtains with adorable designs. I got mine for around $20 each.

Personal touches are key to making your dorm feel like yours. Blankets are cozy and perfect for combating wonky air-conditioners and frigid winter temperatures. My blanket is one of my most personal items as a memento from my semester at Oxford, purchased at Primark for £5 (about $6.63). Pillows are also great for cozying up a room and expressing yourself. Most of my pillows are from Target and range from $10-$20, but you can find cute designs at Marshalls, Tuesday Morning and Big Lots too. My roommate expresses her love for elephants with everything from a blanket (about $15) to a toothbrush holder ($6) from Marshalls.


An easy and cost-effective way to make your dorm a haven from the perils of academia is to invest in some sweet smells for your room. As we all know, candles are a no-no when it comes to dorm life, but that doesn’t mean the mold and must of old buildings has to overtake your room. Air Wicks 4in1 spray kills odors and freshens up your space in seconds. My personal favorite is the Renuzit packs ($1 each) that work almost like a candle by giving off a fresh scent until the gel dissolves. I’ve had multiple RAs compliment the way my room smells while looking suspiciously around for a candle.

As you probably noticed, homey touches can range from kind of pricey to pretty cheap, so it’s best to be smart about where and when you make your purchases. Right now is a great time to hit up Target, Marshalls or Tuesday Morning for on-sale dorm items. It may help to think of larger purchases as investments that can last you all four years and even be taken into your next home. You can also trade-off the years you buy a new rug or curtains if you love the idea of switching your space up. Whereever and whatever you buy, make sure it highlights a piece of what makes you you, and of course, make sure it makes you smile.