While moving into your freshman dorm room can be exciting, it can also be overwhelming. At a time when you’re being forced to adjust to all different kinds of new, moving into a strange new place away from the friends and family you’ve always known can be a scary thing when you realize it might be some time before you see them all again. The last thing you want to feel when you move into your freshman dorm is like you’re living in a place that’s completely foreign to you.
Much in the same way that visiting a new country - whether you go for a long period of study abroad or just to visit for a shorter vacation - can hit you with culture shock, moving into your first college dorm room can also bring a shock to your system. A new, sterilized space that you’re going to have to call home for the next nine months should be able to feel like, well, home.
While there are no set rules for how to make your freshman dorm room feel a little more homey, one of the best ways to turn it into less of a run-of-the-mill, regulated living space is to bring in some of your own furniture to offset the school-issued furniture that’s already in your pre-furnished space. You might not know exactly what kind of furniture you should bring. After all, you’re not trying to furnish your entire dorm, you’re just trying to make it more homey. That’s where we come in.
Here are 5 pieces of furniture to bring along with you to your freshman dorm:
1. Compact, high-rise shelving
One of the most difficult things about moving into your freshman dorm room is learning how you can maximize a very limited amount of space. If your dorm room comes with a roommate, this can be even trickier. Prior to moving into your dorm room, if you know that you’re going to be moving in with a roommate, reach out to them to determine how you’re going to share your new space. You might be able to work out an agreement that allows for you to share some spaces while keeping others just for yourselves.
One piece of dorm room furniture that would be a good thing for you and your roommate (if you have one) to use in a shared space is a narrow unit tiered shelf. Brought to you by MeshWorks, this six-tiered shelf is compact enough to fit into a limited space, and has enough shelves to let you decorate to your heart’s content. You and your roommate can place one of these in the corner of your room and divide up the shelves to use as extra storage space or a space to add some more personalized decor.
Use the shelves to store your bath towels or other necessary items you’ve brought along with you, or use them to display photos, knicknacks, and artwork that will add a touch of personalization to your room. Each shelf can hold up to 600lbs of weight and can be adjusted in 1-inch increments if you need to set it up in a space with a lower ceiling. Rest assured, these things are durable, and they’ll be a great addition to your dorm room whether you’re living alone or with a roommate.
2. Extra storage in a fashionable trunk
Let’s be honest: dorm rooms could probably stand to be bigger. When a university has to house thousands of students, however, we understand that they might be working with a limited amount of space - which is how you wind up with a limited amount of space. Particularly when you move into your freshman dorm room, you might find yourself frustrated with its size. How are you supposed to pack up your entire life and move it into a space that’s barely big enough to hold a bed, a desk, a dresser or wardrobe, and - if you’re lucky - a small closet?
The answer? Storage! By bringing along bins for storage, you free up more space for yourself in your dorm room while still not having to sacrifice on bringing along some of your favorite possessions. Our recommendation: purchase storage containers that will be both long-lasting and fashionable so that you carry them along with you even after you graduate. One of our favorite types of furniture-based dorm room storage is a fashionable armored trunk where you can keep your favorite miscellaneous belongings in one, safe place.
Not only are these super attractive to look at, but they’ll fit neatly underneath a lofted bed so you won’t have to sacrifice any of the limited space you have. Keep things like extra quilts and blankets, your favorite party games, or coloring books and colored pencils in your trunk to have on hand whenever you’d like them. Even better: a neat trick if you’re having friends over but find you have less space than you’d like to host everyone is to pull out your trunk to use as extra seating for your friends!
3. Floor-length mirror with storage
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of vanity. When most people move into their freshman dorm, the last thing on their mind is whether or not they’ll need to bring a mirror along with them. The fact is, however, that most dorm rooms don’t actually come equipped with a mirror. Only the most basic furniture that you’ll need to survive living on a college campus comes with your pre-furnished dorm room. If you’re the kind of person who takes pride in your appearance, then, you may want to look into getting yourself a mirror before you move in.
College provides you with many opportunities, such as socials, networking events, and even job interviews. While you definitely don’t have to look your best for every single day of class (though there’s nothing wrong with wanting to!), it doesn’t hurt to have a full-length mirror on hand when you’re in a pinch. The last thing you want to be doing before a job interview is fogging up the communal bathroom mirror while you try to style your hair just right. This Hub Floor Length Mirror with Storage is the perfect solution to bring as an extra piece of furniture for your dorm room.
Designed specifically to be ergonomic in smaller spaces, this compact, folding floor-length mirror is perfect for a freshman dorm room. With extra storage space in the back in the form of rungs that make up the stand, you can use the back of this mirror to hang your clothes that need to air dry, clean towels for before you shower, or even necklaces that you clasp around the rungs. Vanity doesn’t have to be a negative thing. And just like the storage trunk we featured above, you bring this mirror along with you even after you graduate!
4. Add a comfy headboard toward the head of your bed
One of the downfalls of having a dorm-issued bed is that, more often than not, they never quite butt up against the wall the way you would like them to. You may just find yourself frustrated over and over again as your belongings continue to fall into the gap between the edge of your bed and the wall. Frequent casualties to that liminal space are pillows and course textbooks that you’ve dropped after falling asleep while reading. There is a way to easily close that gap, however, and that’s exactly what we’re suggesting for you.
If you’re looking for a way to fill in the space between your bed and the wall, one of the simplest and most effective ways to do so is to get yourself a detachable headboard for your dorm room bed. As an easily-implemented piece of dorm room furniture, a headboard is something you can add to the gap between your bed and the wall with little trouble, and the rewards are phenomenal. The days of frustratedly reaching your arm down into the gap to scoop up your pillows will be no more with one of these.
The best thing about a detachable headboard? You won’t wind up banging your head on the wall every time you accidentally misjudge the space between your head and said wall. Made with a sturdy plywood backing and a foam cover, this particular headboard will provide a nice cushy place for your head to land, should you misjudge that distance again. It comes with an easy kit to help you attach it to the bed’s frame.
5. Keep your shoes in one place with a shoe rack
Organization can be tough in a dorm room, especially as a freshman. While your dorm rooms might grow in size as you go through school, turning from tiny single or double spaces to entire suites as you make more friends, your first dorm room will probably leave you wondering how you can possibly fit everything into its place and not wind up with something overflowing into the rest of the room. In particular, one of the hardest things to manage are shoes.
If you don’t have a set closet space, entryway cubby or corner of your room where you can keep all of your shoes, you might find yourself struggling to keep them all organized. In some, more frazzled cases, you may even find yourself kicking them off in the middle of the room, forgetting they’re there, and eventually tripping over them more times than you can count. Save yourself the hazard of unwanted injuries by investing in a little piece of dorm room furniture like a shoe rack.
Courtesy of Umbra, this particular shoe rack is small enough to fit into compact spaces. At 32-inches long with two levels, this shoe rack can help you keep about eight pairs of shoes in one place. Bring a pair for every occasion. You won’t even have to worry about tripping over one if you remember to take them off and put them on the rack every time you come back to your dorm room!
Moving into your freshman dorm room is the first of many changes you’re about to experience in your life, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw yourself headfirst into the discomfort. Ease yourself into your new room by adding a few extra pieces of furniture that can also help you to stay organized.