One easy way to reduce anxiety is your living space. According to shape.com, cleaning and organizing can reduce stress and depression. For me, a chaotic, messy room leads to heightened stress. It makes sense in theory. Whether we like it or not, our surroundings influence our feelings. An empty room can lead to loneliness. A dark room can lead to yawning, sadness, or fatigue. Your living space influences your feelings- especially in college when you are away from the familiarity and routine of home.
Here is a picture of my dorm freshman year. I spent all summer planning it out, but this post should save you some time if you like my design:
(Aurora Hall at the College of Saint Benedict in Collegeville, Minnesota.)
However, that is not what I showed up to on move-in day. My dorm was brighter than pictured (a simple iphone photo doesn’t do it justice), and it was very empty. My bed was also uncomfortable, poorly furnished, with a terrible mattress. It also did not come like that. Here's what I started with:
(Aurora Hall at the College of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota)
Different angle, but same room. Same furniture. Same nasty rug. No tapestry. It almost looks like an oversized room in a monastery.
The first night of college,
we had a floor meeting. Our floor meeting consisted of faux yearbook awards for every dorm. We all walked down the hall, inspecting, laughing, oooing, ahhhing, gasping, and squealing. By the end of the night, my roommate Rianna and I had won the “Most likely to be featured by VSCO” dorm room.” VSCO.co is a social media site that has a portfolio type of design. Users can post pictures, edit pictures, and republish others’ pictures. Most often, VSCO pictures capture scenes and objects that are extremely aesthetic. Needless to say, the nomination was a huge compliment.
Everyone wants the VSCO dorm. It’s calm, pleasing to the eye, and I was able to do it under a budget. We also were told we had the biggest room on the floor. Of course, all the rooms are designed with the same dimensions, so that was not true. It’s all about using space wisely. Colors play a big factor in this too.
My first recommendation:
white walls. White walls. Capital W-H-I-T-E walls.
If you don’t have them, get them. White walls are extremely easy to manage. If they seem a little off-white when you move-in, cleaning them with something as simple as a Clorox wipe can get rid of the gunk, dust, or residue causing the discoloration. As for marks left by previous students, the girl down the hall from me recommended the most brilliant fix. And it worked! Using an unscented deodorant bar on any command hook marks can leave the walls looking white and untouched.
White walls are amazing. They make your room not only look cleaner, but bigger and newer too. Removable wallpaper is a good option. Etsy, PotteryBarn, Wayfair, Target, Amazon, and Home Depot all offer removable wallpaper at a reasonable price. The cheapest I’ve discovered can be found on Etsy, as low as $6.00 USD. Most schools will allow it. If they don’t initially, strike up a bond with your R.A. If you’re on your R.A.’s good side, anything is possible.
get an area rug.
Though they are poorly pictured, Rianna and I had two rugs in our room in addition to the ugly one planted to the floor. We had one white sherpa rug, and another more simplistic white-and-pink rug. They not only brightened the room, but provided comfort for our feet without turning our heels blackish-brown from mysterious dorm dirt.
As for the bedding, I chose white and gold. They match well together, and are not entirely feminine. They provide a powerful yet organized look. The symbol and story of the mandala is also comforting for those with anxious minds.
The lights are also from Target, as well as the 3-tier cart, and the keurig. The tapestry is from Redbubble, and I got it for a pretty reasonable price. Since most Redbubble products are created by independent artists and e-commerce entrepreneurs, the price often fluctuates.
I hope this helps you to feel planned, calm, and comfy in your own dorm space. You can always add, rearrange, or do whatever to make you feel most centered. I carry essential oil diffusers everywhere, so I had one in my room as well. Mine was a $3 diffuser from Five Below, and it broke in a week. I wouldn’t recommend it. However, there are many others sold by thousands of retailers that work amazing! My favorite is the one I have from YoungLiving. :)
All the peace,