Living in the residence halls on campus is certainly a memorable college experience, for better or for worse. There’s the cafeteria food, the community bathrooms and of course, the closet-sized rooms to share with an old friend or a complete stranger. While there is nothing to be done about the dimensions of these spaces we call “home” during our college years, there are several steps one can take to liven up the room and make the most of the space that’s there …

Beth Dykstra
Theater student Rachel Arnsdorf cleans her room in Alpha Phi. (Shubra ohri/Daily)


Keep clean

“You don’t have a family room or kitchen or anything, so when you’re in your room, you should really make the best of it,” said LSA Sophomore Ingrid Macon. In her single room in Bursley Hall, Macon says she always makes her bed to keep the place clean. A small room will seem even smaller if clothes are scattered everywhere and trash is piled up in the walkway.

“For garbage, it’s simple. We use the Simpson’s topple rule—whoever knocks the garbage can over it gets to take the trash out,” commented Engineering Senior Chris Baldwin. “We haven’t had a problem with that yet,” Baldwin added that he and his roommate make an effort to vacuum once every two weeks and keep their laundry organized.

Developing a plan is the best place to start, make a chore list that is realistic. “It’s not hard to keep it clean, it’s just a matter of doing it when it needs to be done,” Baldwin commented.


Maximize the area

Since residence hall rooms offer little floor space in the first place, this precious commodity must be conserved at all costs. Many students decide to loft their beds at the beginning of the year to make their rooms appear bigger.

For those students without lofts, space can be conserved in a variety of ways. Slim storage bins can easily be slid underneath beds that are not lofted, while shelving units allow items to be stored up to the ceiling. Both can be purchased at major retail stores, such as Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, and their low cost is easy on the wallet.



No room is complete without some personal flair to make the depressing stonewalls and tile floors feel a little more like home. While University Housing prohibits painting the walls, residents can use wall coverings like those available at Urban Outfitters to add a little color and decoration.

The unique offerings of Urban can spruce up any room with little effort. “We have a lot of furniture that can be broken and moved easily,” said housewares manager Jon Szczepan. The store offers rugs, bedding, lamps, picture frames and living space novelties such as wall clocks.

Though the year is winding down, it is not too late to make your small space more comfortable. During the cold and dreary winter months rearranging furniture or putting up a new lamp might liven up an otherwise dismal environment.


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