I'm a former college student, and these are my top tips for making your dorm room cozier

Time to get snug, bestie ✨

A graphic of two colorful dorm rooms on a flower background
(Image credit: Future/Dormify)

Let’s be real: College is a fun time, but it also can be overwhelming, too. Moving into a new room, in a new place, is a whole experience. I know how it feels, having been a college student myself once. One of the best ways to get settled IMO? Making your dorm room as cozy as poss.

When I moved into my college dorm room, one of the first things I did was hang up pictures of my family and friends, and strung fairy lights across the room. I found that small changes really can make a big difference when it comes to creating your own space.

From adding warm lighting to throwing in soft textures, there’s a range of different ways to make your space feel like home. By doing this, you’ll be able to relax in your new space and fully enjoy the college experience.

So, scroll on down for my fave ways to make a college dorm room super cozy.

7 ways to make your dorm room cozy

Whether you're just moving in and want some home comforts or are reading this in cooler months and want to get super snug, these tips will turn your dorm room into a wholesome haven.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Glow up the space with fairy lights

As TikTok always says, turning the big light on is way too much. I’ve often found that college lights are way too bright, and they never seem to be adjustable either. Enter the classic fairy light! Even if you aren’t allowed to stick them onto your wall, you can drape them along your bed headboard, nightstand, and desk to make your space glow!

2. Throw on blankets

When it comes to getting cozy, I’m such a tactile girlie. It’s gotta be soft, and it’s gotta bring me comfort. That’s why I absolutely love blankets. Not only will they provide extra warmth at nighttime, but they’re also great for wrapping up in before you delve into dorm movie nights with your new besties. Knitted, faux fur, and crochet textures are my go-tos, as they look seriously aesthetic. 

3.  Add a few (fake) candles

Most dorm rooms don’t allow candles (*sobs*), but you can get pretty close to the same vibe with battery-powered ones. While they won’t give off delish scents like regular candles, they will provide the same soft, flickering light. Have one next to your nightstand instead of a lamp, or even dot a few around your room.

4. Place accent pillows on your bed

I know, I know. It can be so tempting to get tucked into bed, like all the time. But when you’re hanging out in your dorm room, you can’t lie in bed all day! Equally, you can’t just sit on the bed without anything to properly rest on. That’s where accent pillows come in, baby. As well as being super comfy, they’re an easy way to brighten up the interior.

5. Make it personal with pictures

Homesickness is not a nice feeling and can be a real struggle. I personally found that hanging up pictures was a really comforting visual way to remember memories with friends and family. Go through your camera roll, pick out your fave pics, and get them printed out. You could even carry a disposable camera (they’re back!) around with you on campus to capture some new memories to hang up.

6. Go for ultra comfortable bedding

Tossing and turning on a lumpy mattress is seriously the worst feeling. You aren’t in The Princess and The Pea — you’re a college student that needs sleep! While you might not be able to perfectly replicate your bed from home, you can get pretty close by investing in soft pillows, breathable sheets, and comfy comforters. These will all elevate your basic dorm bed into something majorly bougie. 

7. Bring in sweet scents

Sure, you can’t light candles in your room, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it smell good. Two easy solutions: reed diffusers and room sprays. I recommend putting your reed diffuser somewhere you know you’ll be sitting a lot (such as your desk), so you can fully enjoy the scent. For room sprays, check if your roomie is cool with you spraying, and then walk around the room as you spritz it, so the whole area is filled. 

Up next: 5 tips to create a good study space no matter how chaotic your dorm is

Eve Smallman
Staff Writer

Hi there! I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses.