Make your new home feel like one
It has been suggested, maybe once or twice, that making an average dorm room feel somewhat livable is a rather difficult task. It has also been suggested that Columbia is not exactly average.
Like it or not, we’re in Manhattan, and therefore stacked on top of one another like sardines. But it’s great, right? Togetherness and stuff?
Yeah, sure. All that’s great, but how is anyone supposed to reasonably decorate any of these rooms, be them too small, oddly-shaped, or surrounded by prison-like cinderblock walls (hey, Carman)?
Your concerns are valid. This is a daunting task. But you can do it. Read on for some general guidelines that may help ease your burden of interior design.
Just cover the walls: Let’s be honest—Columbia has horrible walls. They’re all, in their own special ways, bland, depressing, and unsightly. Do everything in your power to hide them. The traditional option is posters, and that’s pretty painless to accomplish—poster sales will be going on almost endlessly both on campus and at the gates.
Just do your best to steer clear of very cliche choices and you should be ok. But you’re not limited to that. You can invest in some temporary wallpaper or make a collage of photos, postcards, or anything else you can find. Wall decals are also a great option.
Important note: Be very careful in choosing your means of hanging any of these up. Sticky tack does NOT WORK. Your room will get humid, it will melt, and your hangings will fall on you when you’re sleeping. Command products are also not as reliable as they claim to be. I personally removed the majority of the paint in my freshman-year room using their poster strips. What have I found to work the best? Thumbtacks, seriously. They leave the least amount of damage and make it easy to change things around relatively painlessly.
Regarding ceilings: This situation is trickier, and not necessarily required. But if you’re bold and/or creative, you may want to try your hand at revamping your ceiling. It’s kind of like another wall to decorate, right? There is no common fix here, but there are canopies, glow-in-the-dark stars, and christmas lights. But again, maybe you’re more artistically inclined and can concoct something.
Go hard or go home: Don’t actually go home, but if you’re not going to commit fully to decorating, your room is going to look bad. There, I said it. One poster and one string of Christmas lights won’t save you. You’re going to be studying, sleeping, and doing who knows what else in this room for the next nine months—it behooves you to make a bit of an effort. A somewhat homier room will be more enjoyable for you, as well as for new friends who will inevitably see where you’re living.
Febreze: No, you can’t see air, and no you don’t actually have to buy Febreze (Glade works fine, too), but the way a dorm room smells is inextricable to the overall atmosphere. This does not mean you can spray Axe, Old Spice, or any perfume or body spray all over. Do not do this. Just buy some Febreze. Everyone will love you for it.