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College Living Tips: Dorm or Apartment Decorating Tips

UCI Off Campus Housing

Living in a college apartment can feel like living in a hotel for nine months out of the year but it doesn’t have to if you put in a little time and effort to bring a bit of home to your new place. The great thing about living in an apartment is that it isn’t permanent, but at the same time, it also causes many renters to become complacent in terms of making it into their home.

I am a proponent of making the most of the apartment or dorm you’re living in so check out the tips below:

Momentos From Home

The quickest way to feel more at home in your new apartment is to bring some of your favorite knickknacks: from something as big as a piece of furniture like a comfy couch to something as simple as pictures of family and friends. Creating a comfortable space where you feel at ease is an easy way to get you on the right track academically and personally.

Pet Fish!

When you’re up at 3 am and still working on that term paper that you’ve been procrastinating on, looking over at Nemo swimming around his bowl can be one of the things that inspire you to fill up the last 2 pages with eloquent prose. Just don’t forget to feed it and clean out the bowl once in a while…

Meet The Neighbors

These are the people who are either going to make your living experience great or horrible so you ought to make nice with them as soon as you can. After introducing yourself to the neighbors, if you’re new to the area you ought to go and explore. Find where the closest market is or how far the nearest fast food joint is.


Painting your room is a quick and cost-efficient way of transforming your drab apartment into your new home away from home.

Tip: Be sure to check your lease agreement to see if painting is allowed.

Invite Your Friends and Family Over

Being the host at your first apartment home is one way to make you feel like you have made the transition from teenager to young adult. Being in charge of the menu and the festivities for your guests will bring everything … for lack of a better word – home.

Bean Bag

Everyone wants to sit on a novelty like a bean bag . . . well maybe not everyone or even anyone but when the couch is taken a bean bag is the next best thing! They can add a bit of character to an otherwise ordinary apartment. It might not be the most mature thing to have, but then you’re still in college so it’s A-OK!


There’s nothing like getting home and turning on the TV and just spacing out. Watching TV or Netflix with your new roommate is also an easy way to get to know each other; you can even bond over shared favorite TV shows or movies.


Having a plant of some kind can make your apartment’s kitchen, bedroom, and/or bathroom feel like your very own oasis away from the hustle and bustle of college. Not only are indoor plants a great air purifier, but having a nice plant in your space is like bringing in a bit of nature into your home with very minimal effort.

Find out which houseplants are best for your home here.

Cook At Home

It’s amazing how quickly an apartment can feel like home if it’s filled with the smells of a freshly cooked meal – preferably one of mom or dad’s go-to recipes! Not only will your apartment feel more like home, but you’re likely to have plenty of leftovers to pack for lunch!

Unpack Everything

Don’t even think about leaving anything in your luggage or in a box. If there’s a surefire way to feel like you’re a guest in your own home it’s to literally be living out of your suitcase. Invest in some nice hangers or if you’re in an apartment home a big dresser to stow all of your clothing and other possessions in.

College is a great time in everyone’s life so make the most of the wonder years by first making your apartment or dorm feel like a home rather than just somewhere you go to sleep.