When freshman Katie Chandler walked into her four-person suite in Hammons on move-in day, she took one look at the 18-by-12-foot concrete room and knew creating her own unique space would require some creativity.

Turning a stark, empty space into one with character without permanently changing the room can be a challenge when decorating, but Chandler figured out a way to do exactly that. By intertwining faux green vines and fairy lights, Chandler created a bright backdrop on her previously blank wall. 

 “The fake green plant vines hanging on the walls help it feel less like a prison,” said Chandler, a political science major.

Another way to utilize empty wall space without spending lots of money is using removable wallpaper. Living in the dorms means everything has to be temporary so the next students to move in can make it their own. According to HGTV.com, removable wallpaper can be used to decorate small furniture and appliances to add color and character to your space as well. 

Another challenge that comes with decorating a dorm room is the lack of space. Freshman interior design major, Emily Nowe, wanted to create the illusion of more space in her small room, so she purchased low-cost shelves and used Command strips to hold them up on her walls. This allowed her to set picture frames, plants and other items on display in a neat and decorative way. 

HGTV suggests using your clothing pieces as decor as another way to overcome limited space. For example, using your favorite bag or a pair of sunglasses as display pieces can fill up empty space in your room and serve as art. 

Students who live in a small, shared space all year have to utilize their creativity a little more than others when it comes to making their dorm feel like home. One of the easiest and cheapest ways to do that is bringing a few special items from home and repurposing them as decoration as well as a reminder.

There are various other ways to decorate a dorm room, so consider looking at fellow students’ dorms to discover more decoration hacks. Distinct styles and layouts can inspire new ideas for your own dorm.