Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 20, 2024

Making your living space feel like home

By MARIA HARAR | December 1, 2022



Harar provides advice on how to decorate and maintain a home that feels like your own.

As a core experience of college life, decorating your dorm room for the first time is both new and exciting. However, while many of us look forward to it, planning your room can also be daunting. 

Although having a cute, aesthetic room is a priority for some, the most important thing is having a space you feel comfortable in — a space to call home. To ease some of the anxiety you may be having or to simply help your room “glow up,”  here are a few tips on making your dorm (or apartment) feel like home. 

Finding inspiration

This one's for all of my Pinterest enthusiasts. How do you decide which aesthetic is for you? After you decide, how can you adjust it to your needs and financial situation? The answer is — and always will be — Pinterest. Start off with an idea, a vision, a color palette or anything and then find which pictures speak to you. Having a place to start that still allows you to be flexible with a click of a button can help ease the stress of decision making, especially if you’re an overplanner like I am. Once you have a general idea of what you want, you can find what you’re looking for while staying in your budget. 

Maintaining a healthy environment 

Once you’ve created your dream room, keeping it clean and well-decorated is key. While covering every inch of the room with decorations may seem like a fun idea, try to limit what you buy. Students living in freshman and sophomore residence halls have to move out less than a year after moving in. Do yourself a favor and make this process easier by finding a balance between what you need and what you want. 

A dorm that is easy to clean is a dorm that is easy to maintain, an essential aspect for the busy life of a college student. Coming home after a long day to a messy room can take a hefty toll on your mental health. Maintaining the overall “zen” of your space is a great way to have some control of your life, especially when everything else might seem out of your control. But if you do happen to come home to a messy dorm one day, don’t stress. Play some music and clean. When you're done, light a candle and take a moment to enjoy that achievement, no matter how small it might seem. 

Bringing home to Hopkins 

For those of you from far away, living on a campus distant from home can be stressful. To help with this, try bringing some trinkets from home; things like family photos, your favorite blanket or a random plant that reminds you of your mom can be easy ways to bring comfort to this new space. Filling the room with things that represent who you are can help cater the space towards you. Remember, the best dorms are the best dorms for you

Good vibes make a good home

The most important part of making a space feel like home is the energy that you bring into it. For the foreseeable future, your dorm is your home, so fill it with positivity. Whether you are someone who doesn’t like having people over or whether your place is the social hub of your friend group, making sure that the space is filled with the right kind of people is imperative. Filling your home with people who uplift you and bring “good vibes” can help cheer up an otherwise gloomy space.

But this idea should also be applied to yourself. Whenever possible, leave your problems at the door. Try not to bring in your stress or disappointment from a rough day into your dorm; that way, whenever you're in the room, you can separate yourself from the problem until you are once again ready to face it. 

While I have given you many tips on making your space feel like home, these are not hard and steadfast rules; customize them to your needs and give your dorm (or apartment) the glow up it needs to become your home.

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