The beginning of the year can be very stressful. Between move-in and the first day of
classes, it seems like there’s no time to breathe. On a campus like Vanderbilt where the motto is
“Work Hard, Play Hard,” but the reality is more like “Play Hard, Work 20x Harder,” you need to
find time and a space to reset. What better space than your room?
Now, dorm rooms in general are boring and downright depressing especially if you don’t
live in the brand new dorms (E. Bronson and WAM we’re looking at you). The rooms are small
and dull, not exactly the best for having a nice space. In order to make your room the safe
haven for recharging, there are a few things you need to do.
To start, pick a color scheme. Having a color scheme will push you n the right direction
to making your room a better place. A set color scheme or idea will have the room become
more cohesive. This first step keeps you from running all over the place and just randomly
throwing things in your room. If you want monochromatic, go with monochromatic. If you want a
multicolored room, run with it. Just make sure the room is cohesive. You already have a busy
life, you don’t need a busy room.
Second, make sure the bed is nice and comfortable. Get a bedspread that you
actually like, not something that you’re just going with because its easy. Make it fun and
interesting. Maybe a funky pattern or a nice vibrant color. My current bedspread is a nice jewel-
toned turquoise. If you’re like me, you will be sitting on your bed a lot because, again, the rooms
are small and there’s not much space for additional seating. Since the bed is doubling as a
couch, get some nice decorative pillows. These are a 2 for 1 deal. They add some nice textures
and colors to the room and they also provide cushioning so you’re not leaning up against the
Next, add something, anything to the walls. Staring at the same boring, cream
colored walls will drive you crazy. Posters, tapestries, or pictures are great ways to make the
space your own. Personally, I prefer a tapestry because it takes up a lot of wall space. You don’t
have to have something on every single wall, but hang something up on one or two walls. This
will make your space more comfortable and enjoyable to be in. Another thing you could add to
make your room more comfortable is a little Pintrest-y: Christmas lights. Now I know that they’re
over done and all of that, but they genuinely add something a little extra to the room to make it
Also, maximize your space. These rooms are small as is, so having a lot of extra clutter
will only make the room feel smaller, and quite frankly you won’t want to be in there (I speak
from experience). The easiest way to get around this is to loft your bed. The bed doesn’t have to
be super, super high, but loft it high enough to stick some things under there. Now, you have
one of two options when lofting your bed. You can either add a bed skirt to the bed to hide all of the extra stuff you just didn’t feel like dealing with or you can get storage bins, cube organizers, etc. and make it look nice while also storing some items. I am more of a “throw the suitcases, the boxes, and the other random items under the bed and call it a day” type of person, so I use
the bed skirt. I enjoy a good DIY so I made my own bed skirts. They weren’t as expensive as
bed skirts you can buy from the door, but they were definitely time consuming. Do whichever
one pleases you. Hiding the clutter also includes hiding your overflowing closet. If you don’t
have a door on your closet (which a lot of us do not), we have a full view of everything in your
closet. The simple solution? A cheap tension rod and a cheap curtain. Problem solved.
Lastly, get a rug. All of the dorms on campus have less than ideal flooring. It’s your
choice of freezing cold tile, the very old looking wood, or dingy carpets. If you add a nice accent
rug, it will help pull the room together. Pick a rug that’s fairly simple. There honestly doesn’t
need to be much thought put into this rug. It’s just one more piece to make the room more
Now all of the items I suggested to make the room your most comfortable space don’t
have to break the bank (cause let’s face it: we’re all broke). Amazon, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods,
and even Target if you catch them at the right time are great places to get nice items without
spending an arm and a leg. Remember, this is your space. You should feel comfortable in it.
Make it a place where you can retreat and shut out the craziness that is a Vanderbilt student’s
life (even if only for 30 minutes).
By Gabrielle Dyson