Ah, college: it’s a broad new horizon, a rite of passage — and possibly one of the most significant moments in a young person’s life. It’s also a time of having to live inside a tiny cement block with another human being. Okay, so dorm life may not be the most glamorous, but it’s easily one of the most fun. And when it comes to adding mad style to your dorm, a little bit of ingenuity goes a long way.

And since Esurance is all about innovative solutions, here are 5 simple tricks for an awesome dorm.

1. A bed idea

Your first move should be maximizing your floor space, which might require a little bit of shifting. With a few inexpensive throw pillows, boring dorm beds can easily become daybeds, creating a multi-use area that saves space. You can also utilize the area under your bed as an easy storage spot. Plus, bed risers can add a good 5 inches of height, allowing you to fit a surprising amount of stuff under there. And some risers even come with extra outlets!

2. This’ll floor you

When it comes to flooring, not all dorms are equal. Although you might get lucky with wall-to-wall carpeting, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a linoleum or tile situation. So what can you do about cold hard floors? Enter the area rug. This is another item that boasts big-time variety, including size, color, and pattern. Larger rugs are great for mimicking the effect of carpet, while smaller ones are a smart choice for anyone trying to add a homey touch to their space. 

3. Show your clutter “the door”

Got a lot of knickknacks? Maybe a nail polish or action figure collection? If your drawers and storage containers are already packed, then there’s a myriad of possibilities with one often-overlooked space: the door. It can be easily outfitted with handy hanging organizers. Conventionally used for shoes, these organizers can store all kinds of stuff: socks and scarves, school supplies, and even handy, reachable snacks (hey, you never know). Or you could use it for shoes, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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4. Off-the-wall ideas

When you start to explore your walls as potential real estate, a whole world opens up. Corkboards are great for keeping track of all those event flyers you’ll be collecting. They’re easy to install and come in some fun colors and patterns. You can also go with the magnetic whiteboard, if pins aren’t your thing — these also come in some pretty cool color and shape variations. For bigger items, wall-hung wire baskets can create a good home for folders and other lightweight items.

5. Walls, walls, walls

If your walls haven’t already been completely covered by your brilliantly innovative storage concepts, then this might be a good time to add a little panache. But how can you spruce up your space without spending a fortune? First off, you’d be amazed at what people are doing with simple decals these days. Some are rather sophisticated, offering rustic woodgrain backgrounds, writeable chalkboard-style surfaces, quirky polka dots, and just about any motif you could dream of. The best part? They’re cheap. And if you’re a DIY fanatic, you might have fun making your own wall art with some washi tape!

Dorm life: it’s like nothing else you’ll ever experience. Getting your space in gear is not only a great way to stay organized, but it’ll also help you feel at home during a big, exciting change so you can totally rock your first semester. Just don’t overdo it on that packaged ramen.

Related link:

First time living in a dorm? Here are 4 tips to help you get through it.

DIY hacks

about Chris

Chris has written everything from fiction manuscripts to pretend newsletters about pirates. He's even edited numerous volumes of work written entirely by kids. As a freelance writer at Esurance, he strives to bring out the whimsy and heart of insurance. Outside of Esurance, Chris is an audiophile, visual artist, and explorer of late-night taquerias.