How to Make the Most of Your Cramped Dorm Room


Dorms can be a fun place to live, as you’re able to meet like-minded individuals and partake in bonding activities. However, the pros also come with the cons, such as sharing an already cramped space with strangers. Transitioning from your own room to a shared area can quite daunting, as you deal with the challenges of space and privacy. However, don’t feel as though you’ll need to pile everything in a corner. The following tips can help you organize your space, giving the means to adjust into the dorm room life:

Contact your Roommates

You don’t want to bring a mini-fridge, TV, and so on, realizing that your roommate has done the same. Instead, try to contact them ahead of time and coordinate who will bring which item. Generally, colleges provide you with your future roommate’s contact information so that it’s easy to establish communications.  Understanding who brings what will reduce the chances that you bring similar items and further bring clutter into the room.

Choose Decorations Wisely

Dorm rooms are a blank slate, and every year, students infuse the room with their own personality. When choosing decorations, keep in mind that some will give your room a cluttered feel, while others give the illusion of spaciousness. For example, posters and clippings of pictures can give the impression that your walls are small and crowded, making the space smaller than it seems. On the other hand, mirrors are a great way to make your room appear extra roomy.

Do You Actually Need It?

You may be tempted to bring every comfort and luxury from home, but take some time to consider whether you’ll actually need the item. For example, microwaves and mini-fridges may not be necessary if you have a cafeteria nearby. In addition, if your dormitory offers a common space with seating, then bringing a sofa or lounge chair from home may be overkill. The fewer items you bring, the easier it will be to move out at the end of the year.

Keep the Clutter Out

One of the quickest ways to make a cramped room seem even smaller is to let it collect clutter. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that you and your roommate establish some sort of organization in order to keep your room as spacious as possible. If needed, come to an agreement about cleaning and organization, and whether you’ll need to divide chores.  But if you’re unable to decide, remember that both you and your roommate have your own space. If he or she has their own living preferences, then you’ll need to be flexible and learn to accommodate.

Extra Storage

Dorm rooms are generally stocked with the bare essentials, such as a bed, desk, and a single cabinet. Therefore, you may want to bring extra storage to hold all of your supplies and belongings. Considering that the floor space will be quickly taken up, you may want to go for vertical storage and invest in stackable units. Another great way to create storage is to buy wall hangers and hooks, which can place items out of the way. Don’t forget to bring clothes hangers as well, lest you wish to dump all your clothes onto the floor.


Christine Cooney is a writer at The House Designers, writing articles on DIY and award winning home plans on The House Designers blog. She loves learning about architecture, home décor, and online house plans.

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One Response to How to Make the Most of Your Cramped Dorm Room

  1. Guilherme says:

    Having lived in shared homes and single bedroom apartments I can say that all the above makes sense but my #1 savior was to have furniture I can close or use as storage within.

    We can talk about minimalism and organization all day but I still found the most practical with lots of mental release benefits was to have a place were I can leave stuff organized and have it easy to find later.

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