Anyone who has survived the winter season can tell you: being cold sucks.
Whether you’re facing mountains of snow being piled in your front yard and on top of your car or just that drastic dip in temperature that chills you all the way to your bones, going outside during winter can seem like a real chore.
But staying inside, in your similarly cold, white box of a dorm room can sometimes make you feel so suffocated that you find yourself thinking of braving the cold instead. We have a solution for both of these scenarios: if you make your dorm room homier, you’ll feel less compelled to escape from your room, but you’ll also have something wonderfully cozy to come home to when you do have to venture out into the cold.
Here are 6 ways to keep your dorm room cozy even when it’s cold outside:
1. Create a nest of soft, fuzzy blankets
When it’s cold outside, that usually translates to it also being cold inside when it comes to dorm rooms. Especially if your room is located in an older building, the construction of dorm rooms usually calls for less insulation. Cold air often creeps in through your window no matter how tightly you’ve locked it. Your primary goal in creating a much cozier, homier space for yourself, then, should be to think up ways to make the space warmer.
Since you can’t very well re-insulate your walls or re-caulk your windows, the next best way for you to stay nice and cozy inside your dorm room is to surround yourself with layers of plush, soft blankets. Use thick ones to swaddle yourself in when you’re feeling extra babie or thinner ones to drape around your shoulders as you move about the room or extra plush ones for the times you feel like curling up with a good book.
The more blankets you have, the cozier your space will feel. You can build a little nest of them on your bed, or maybe on a chair in the corner. Drape one over the back of your desk chair, as well as one on the chair in the corner. If you have a roommate, you can supply them with a few as well. Blankets give you physical warmth to protect you against the cold weather outside, but they also add an additional layer of warmth and comfort to any room.
2. String up some twinkly lights
You know those lights with the tiny bulbs that you see lining the roofs of peoples homes around the holidays? Those are the twinkly lights we’re talking about. In the context of dorm rooms, some people also call them fairy lights. The ones you see decorating houses and trees and mantles during the holidays come in a wide variety of colors.
When it comes to dorm rooms, most people just stick to classic white bulbs, but depending on the color scheme you’ve already set up in your room, you can opt for any of the other colors as well--or feel free to mix whatever colors you’d like together. If you want to make your lights stand out even more, you can opt for bigger bulbs, like the ones you see in Stranger Things!
Hanging your lights will probably be one of the more difficult decisions you have to make in terms of how you want them to hang. Most people opt to string them up around the perimeter of the room where the wall meets the ceiling, carefully navigating around any sprinklers that might be set up. The rest is really up to you. Hang them in a tight line or let them droop down into wide u’s. When they’re all lit up, they’ll add an extra glow of cozy warmth to your dorm room.
3. Stock up on warm drinks
Nothing will make you feel cozier than something that makes you feel warm on the inside. Whatever you like the most is going to warm you up the most, so whether it’s coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, keep a healthy supply of it in your dorm room that you can reach for whenever you feel the cold seeping in through your window.
That being said, most dorm rooms prohibit hot plates, so you’ll have to make do with the things you can use. If you have a microwave, you can easily heat up a mug of water in there, perfect for tea and hot chocolate. Coffee is a little trickier with a microwave (unless you like the powdered kind), but if you have a single-serving coffee maker, those don’t require hot plates--which means you can make coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
Once you’ve got a nice, steaming mug of your favorite hot beverage, you can settle in to even more coziness. Pair your tea with a thick blanket and a good book. Sip on your hot chocolate while you catch up on your favorite Netflix series. If you’ve got a huge exam coming up, you don’t even have to sacrifice your coziness for a good grade.
Make a cup of coffee and wrap a blanket around your shoulders to help you power through all the studying you have to do. You’d be amazed at just how much more energy and motivation you’ll have when you’re comfy. Bringing coziness to your dorm room can be done both in laborious and simple ways. Sometimes all you really need is a warm drink to feel cozy.
4. Invest in a flameless candle
There are few things that fill you with warm inner contentedness than candles. Unfortunately, most colleges don’t allow open flames in their dorm rooms. To get around this rule, try out a safer flameless candle! It will bring you all the light and warmth of a regular candle, but without the fire hazard. It’s also scentless, which means that if you or any of your friends are sensitive to scents, you don’t have to worry about any allergic reactions on your watch.
Solar light flameless candles, in particular, are a great way to bring the sunshine to your room even when it’s cold and dreary outside. Solar energy lasts for a long time and doesn’t require you to be constantly hooked into an outlet--which can also be a fire hazard in some cases. These particular candles have a single LED light inside of them, which can provide you with a steady amber-colored glow that flickers just like a real candle would.
You can place your candle anywhere you’d like. On the windowsill where the daylight can peek in through the blinds will ensure that your candle is powered pretty much whenever you’d like to use it. But you could also place it on your desk to add a calm ambience to your studying, or maybe a bookshelf next to a reading chair. This particular way to make your dorm room cozy is portable, so you can move it around to wherever you happen to be if you’d like!
5. Cozy up with with your laptop
While there is something to be said about excessive screen time, when it’s cold outside and you’re just generally feeling very blah, it’s okay to treat yourself. We encourage it, even! So when you’re feeling cold and icky, curl up under as many blankets as you can (while still keeping your hands free) and log into your favorite streaming service for a nice bum day.
You can watch whatever brings you the most happiness, but shows and movies that make you laugh or smile will probably add to the overall coziness more than something packed with fast-paced action or gruesome horror. Then again, if you find that true crime documentaries really help you unwind, maybe you should go that route.
Watching something you enjoy--especially if you combine it with a cup of hot chocolate and a warm blanket--is the perfect way to stay cozy in your dorm room even if it’s cold outside. Toss in some popcorn or your other favorite snacks, too, if that’s going to make you feel the coziest. Movies and TV shows are made to be watched when you’re all tucked in and rearing for some TLC.
6. Make a photo wall with all your favorite pictures
Sometimes, what you really need when you’re looking for a pick-me-up is a reminder of all the things and all the people that you love most in the world. A photo wall is a great way to give yourself that reminder. Packed with memories and smiles shared with your loved ones, you can look at your wall while sipping a cup of tea.
Do you have a favorite date you remember? Or maybe there was one concert you went to with some friends early in your college years that really made you all connect. Or maybe you just miss your mom and your dog. Put it all up on the wall and, even when you’re stuck inside, you won’t be hurting for any of those memories.
Not to mention, the photos all strung up on your wall are going to make your dorm room even more cozy. Most people associate coziness with a feeling of home, so having that reminder of home right there for you to look at whenever you’d like is the perfect way to bring the hominess to you.
When it’s cold outside, being forced to stay inside your dorm room lest you have to brave the outside chill can make you feel like a caged animal. You don’t have to feel like you’re locked in some cold, dingy dungeon, though. Make your dorm room cozy and you won’t even be thinking about the blizzard going on outside your window.