The average college dorm room size is about 230 square feet, and you and one other person, likely a stranger, will have to share that tiny space once you start school in the fall. It can be a difficult adjustment because you won’t have nearly as much privacy as you’re used to, but here are a few tips and tricks you can use to mimic privacy and make your room more livable.
- Create a Fort
Forts aren’t just for children, and you may find that having one will help you keep your sanity when your roommate is driving you up the wall. Use some bed risers to elevate your bed and hang a curtain on the edge of your bed frame to create your own private area. Make it homey by adding a mushroom chair, book light, and maybe even a small television.
- Laptop Privacy Filter
If you have a nosey roommate who you constantly catch peering at your Facebook messages on your screen, a privacy filter can help. For only $30, you can guarantee that no one will be sneaking a glance at your screen, even if they’re sitting right next to you.
- Pop-up Bed Tent
Nothing says “leave me alone” quite like a pop-up bed tent. Especially as an introvert, I would love to zip myself away in one of these to read, do homework, or even watch a movie without distraction.
- DIY Bed Canopy
You can make your room feel more home and ensure yourself a little more privacy with a homemade bed canopy. Scoot your bed to the corner of the room and stick 3 Command hooks right above where your bed posts are (you don’t need one for the post in the corner since you’re shielded on that side by both walls). Then, for each of the two sides of the bed that are exposed, string two sheer or semi-sheer curtain panels on a sturdy piece of string. Finish it off by tying the string to the command hooks. You can also use some ribbon or lace as tie-backs when you don’t want to be completely secluded.
- Loft Your Bed
Some dorms allow this, but some don’t, so make sure to check with your RA to see if this is allowed in yours. If allowed, lofting your bed will automatically separate you from the rest of the room by physically being above everyone and everything else. Most dorm beds have several notches in the bed posts, so you can easily raise it to the highest notch. Then, you can build a fort underneath, hang a hammock, keep your desk, or store out-of-season clothes and extra bedding.
- Room Divider
Do you remember those chic dividers that Disney princesses and other royal character would always change behind in their rooms? You can have one too! That way, you don’t have to worry about the awkwardness of being half-naked in front of the roommate whom you’ve only known for two days. Room dividers can also be folded up to save space.
- Separate with Furniture
Even if you can’t/don’t want to put up any kind of physical dividers in the room, you can always give both your roommate and yourself a little space by rearranging the furniture. You can either put your beds foot-to-foot with a bookcase in the middle, place your dressers back to back between your beds, or your desks next to each other between your beds.
- Use Drawers, Not Trays
If you don’t want your roommate and their friends peeking at (and possibly using) your toiletries or school supplies, put all of your items in drawers instead of trays or on the counter. Others are a lot less likely to look through your stuff if it’s out of sight. Then, you don’t have to worry about your roomie seeing some weirdly named medicine on the counter and thinking you have a contagious disease.
- Bring Your Own Fridge
As roommates, you have to share a lot of things, but I’ll bet you don’t want to share your leftover pizza or cans of Vanilla Coke that you bought with your limited funds. If you share a single mini fridge, your food and drinks are almost guaranteed to start disappearing. It’s best to avoid this problem from the get-go by investing in a new or gently used mini fridge to keep under or by your bed.
- Pick a Side (and Stick With It)
This one’s probably a no-brainer as most sets of roommates designate sides of the room at the beginning of the school year. Unfortunately, some roomies don’t stick with that, and you’ll soon see your belongings getting all mixed up together. You should talk to your roommate if it becomes an issue, but you ultimately can only control your actions. So, make sure you stay on your side of the room and respect your roomie’s privacy so there’s a better chance they will respect yours.