How to transform your dorm room after a study sesh into a self-care sanctuary

Make some magic ✨

Desktop with headphones, coffee, and notebook
(Image credit: Future)

Living in the dorms usually means making the most out of a small space that you study and relax in. And, while there might not be enough room to create separate study and chill corners, you can totally decorate your dorm in a way that easily transforms from study sessions to a self-care sanctuary with a few multi-purpose design moments. 

From fueling your study breaks with a curated coffee and snack corner (that also has some essential wind-down treats) to taking a break for a mindfulness practice with multipurpose dorm decor, it’s all about creating a space that can easily transition between two purposes. It may seem impossible, but with a few hacks and products, it'll feel like a breeze. 

How to turn your dorm into a relaxing space

Up ahead, we share our top dorm decor tips for taking your dorm from study sesh to a relaxing place to rest and prepare for your classes.

1. Curate a coffee corner

When decorating your dorm room, a coffee corner is essential for study sessions. You can create a space-saving one with either a utility cart or a cubby shelf and basket inserts. Be sure to add things like a portable blender, small coffee maker, and an electric kettle, plus your favorite teas, coffees, and smoothie essentials. 

For study breaks, be sure to also incorporate some snacks, beverages, and other goodies for winding down. Herbal tea mixes such as chamomile or peppermint can provide your mind and body with a sense of chill. And, adding supplements such as Kava drops for your smoothies can help encourage relaxation, too. 

2. Invigorate the senses

Candles are a dorm room no-no. However, you can still use the power of the senses to make your dorm room smell good and turn it from a study space to a chill spot with an electric essential oil diffuser. Purchase premade blends — like ones specifically designed for focus or relaxation — or have fun making your own by combining go-to brightening aromas like lemon and eucalyptus and chill scents like lavender and chamomile. An essential oil diffuser also doubles as chic home decor that you’ll have in your space long after dorm life, making it an excellent investment for your college studying sessions. 

If you don’t have the space for a diffuser, it’s also worth incorporating roller balls into your study sessions and chill breaks. This Brainstorm essential oilroll-on from Saje is designed specifically with focus in mind, while the Tranquility blend is designed to help you decompress. 

3. Add some weight

Your dorm bedding can also make a difference when creating a space that is equal parts functional for studying and relaxing for those self-care moments. When designing your dorm, be sure to include a mix of textiles to play with texture and create a more serene environment. And, to up the ante, include a weighted blanket to promote calmness. After hours in front of your laptop, a weighted eye mask can also help you relax and soothe tired eyes.

4. Get meditative

Chances are, you don’t have a ton of space in your dorm, however, if you utilize your space well and incorporate multifunctional pieces, you can definitely take a meditative break between studying. A storage ottoman is an excellent place to house books and other studying essentials and doubles as a meditation chair. You can also use an oversized throw pillow in your dorm room in place of a meditation cushion. 

In addition to meditation cushions, a pair of headphones will also come in handy so that you can listen to relaxing music while you practice mindfulness between studying sessions. 

5. Go for a glow-up

Getting your dorm lighting right can make a major difference in your room, especially for moments when you want to wind down and relax. Decorating with fairy lights can help create a whimsical moment in your room, plus helps you dim the lights and balance your circadian rhythm for more restful sleep, too. You can also play up the vibes with an aura lamp and change the color based on your mood. And, don’t forget to keep a small night light near your bed for a more peaceful atmosphere. 

Jessie Quinn
Freelance Writer

Jessie Quinn is a lifestyle writer with words published in The Spruce, Byrdie, Well + Good, Shape, PEOPLE, and more. Jessie has a Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Journalism from Academy of Art University and leans on her background in fashion to inspire readers to hone their personal decor style as if it's their wardrobe. When she's not writing, Jessie can be found browsing the aisles of her local antique stores, creating DIY home decor projects, and taking care of her dozens of houseplants. Her eclectic decor style balances vintage, modern, and artisanal pieces that reflect her artsy style and love for handmade goods.