How to create more privacy in your dorm

Gimme space

Minimal bedroom on a gradient background
(Image credit: Future / Unsplash)

Sure, living in a dorm is fun! You finally gain some independence and get to have a space all to yourself. Not to mention you get to buy the cutest dorm decor, too, and decorate how you want. Still, you're also out of the comfort of your parents' place and might be living with a total stranger as your assigned roommate. 

Although a lot of it is fun and games, sometimes you'll just really want your own space. Having privacy in your dorm is always a key ingredient to healthy living. Why? Because you’ll avoid conflict with your roommate and let’s face it, we ALL need some time alone to study, meditate, journal, and more.

With this in mind, I’ve cultivated some tips that’ll guide you toward obtaining the privacy you desire in your dorm room, no matter how close quarters it is.

Must-haves for creating privacy in a dorm

When it comes to physically separating your space from your roommate's there are some helpful products that are dorm-friendly.

Use curtains or blinds 

Curtains or blinds are great for blocking out light and creating a more private space. Either one can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed in your room, even when your roommate is around. Use a tension rod to hang them up or get a hanging canopy. Even curtain panels can be used as a great tool for separation.

Hang up a tapestry

A tapestry (like this cute one from Urban Outfitters) could be utilized as a makeshift divider and can create a sense of privacy in your room, even if you don't have a lot of space. Although they're normally used as dorm wall decor, they easily double as a temporary wall. 

Put up a screen divider

Screen dividers create a separate space for sleeping or studying, which can assist you with focusing on your work or getting a good night's sleep, even if your roommate is being noisy. A good room divider also comes in handy if you move into a studio apartment down the road.

Bring a pair of noise-canceling headphones

Noise-canceling headphones are great as you can use them to block out sound (this pair from Sony is Amazon's Choice). They'll help you tune out your roommate or noise out in your hall and focus on your activities, whether it be studying, writing a paper, or meditating. They're also great for listening to music or white noise. If you don't have a pair, definitely have earplugs on hand. This jar from Amazon comes with 60 pairs, so you'll always be covered.

Install a lock

If you live in a larger dorm with multiple rooms, a portable lock on your door can keep people out when you want privacy. This is especially important if you have roommates who don't respect your boundaries or like to drop in unannounced.

Make the most of a bookshelf

Dorm and renter-friendly bookshelves do more than hold your favorite reads, they also provide a fabulous way to create privacy. They can create a barrier between your bed and the rest of the room and can store items that you don't want others to see. 

Tips for creating space and privacy in your dorm

Aside from finding the right products for physically separating your space, there are some tips for creating a respectful environment mentally and emotionally, too. Keep these ideas in mind and chat them through with your roomie. 

Agree on what's yours and what isn't

Sure, you could assume that all roommates are created equal and that they’ll be down to share every single little thing they bring into the dorm with you as you do, however, that’s not always the case. With this in mind, have a conversation with your roommate about what belongs to each of you. Label your items so no confusion arises either.

Be mindful

Be respectful of your roommate's privacy and knock prior to entering their space. This is just a common courtesy, as it will assist with creating a much more harmonious living environment. 

Be aware of each other's schedule

If you and your roommate discuss schedules for the semester, then you’ll be able to accommodate each other. Let’s say you focus on school work better at night and your roommate likes to go to sleep at a certain time, finding another location to get work done is ideal as you’ll be mindful of your roommate’s sleep schedule. With this said, step out to the library or campus life building to get work done so you don’t face conflict with your roommate regarding their sleep schedule or overall privacy!

Spend time apart

Just because you live in your dorm together doesn’t mean you have to spend every single moment of your time together. Think about it as experiencing freedom as you do now that you are living apart from your parents. When spending time apart from your roommate, you’ll create boundaries, healthy space, and privacy.

Express yourself and communicate openly

Talk to your roommate about your needs for privacy and see if you can come up with a solution that works for both of you. This could involve setting up specific times when each of you can have the room to yourself or for a date night, or even agreeing on certain rules about noise and visitors.

As a result, creating privacy in your dorm room is totally possible, bestie! Invest in these featured items and follow the tips to create privacy in your dorm room without having to face any conflicts with your roommate.  

Aida M. Toro
Freelance Writer

About Me:

Hello! My name is Aida M. Toro and I am a freelance writer that loves cultivating stories about amazing people, fashion, interiors, art, and food. I currently write for Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, The House Magazine, Hobnob Magazine, The C-Word, and Real Homes. I live in West New York, New Jersey, which is literally a 10-minute ferry ride or 20-minute bus ride away from New York City. Although I was born and raised in West New York, I consider NYC my home, as I believe it to be the place where all dreams come to fruition, and of course, spend most of my time in. When I’m not writing, I love perusing the city streets and taking snaps with my iPhone of street art along with random things, scoping out new restaurants as well as their spaces, shopping at some of my favorite stores, spending time with family and friends, walking my cockapoodle Benji, and working out at Lifetime or DOGPOUND, which are some of the top fitness spaces in Manhattan and overall the U.S.