Dorms to Kids Rooms: 5 Hacks Your Teen AND Toddler Will Love

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Dorms are a fresh start, a space all your own. They’re a chance to create a space that reflects your personality as you make the transition from kid to adult. The floral wallpaper you picked when you were eight won’t follow you to college. The spaceship night light will mysteriously not make it to your dorm room outlet, even though your mom swears she remembers packing it. At first it’s going to look the same as the other dorm rooms on your hall, but it doesn’t have to. In the world of DIY and Pinterest there are enough ideas that can make the dorm room yours. It might not be home, but it can be awesome. Here are 5 college dorm hacks to make yours the coolest hangout on the floor:

1. Storage ideas!

Dorms are small. You’ll find yourself in either a double or a triple, and 3 people in one room can be more than a little tricky when it comes to storage. Closet space, desk space, and bed space—everything is going to feel packed in tight. My own dorm was chaos, with clothes everywhere and shoes scattered around the room like I’d been walking and suddenly evaporated. So while I can’t speak from experience, I can speak from the other side and tell you that I wish I’d been smart with my storage. Scour the Internet for lists like this one and be proactive—you and your roommate will thank me later.,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_60,w_806/v1/prod/images/c25ba9255406b8812f1926e6256a5280.jpg

2. Become the DIY queen!

The good news is that cute things can be done on the cheap! Pinterest is filled with DIY projects based on products that would cost you hundreds at Anthropologie. There’s no need to spend all of your summer job money. Find fun DIY projects that you can do with your roommate. Bring supplies with you when you move in, or hit up the local craft store together It’s a fun way to bond in those first few weeks, and there are so many projects to try. Personally I need this DIY floral chandelier.

3. Bring along pieces of home!

Your dorm room won’t be home, and that’s okay. Even if it is a new and exciting time in your life, there are going to plenty of moments of homesickness. Homesickness doesn’t cramp your style, or make you any less independent. It’s important to have pieces of home that come with you. Your favorite fridge magnet, the worn out blanket you’ve had forever, and lots of photos of friends and family. When you’re sad, and at some point you will be, you’ll have the memories and emotions that come with those pieces of home. Make sure that in the season of new you make room for the old.

4. Be sure to coordinate with your roomies!

In most cases you’ll be moving in with a total stranger. It’s going to seem odd at first, but in the month or so before it’s important to make contact on Facebook. It helps you get to know one another before you’re sleeping ten feet apart. There’s only so much conversation that can occur in Facebook messages, but once you’ve covered the basics move on to the fun stuff. Talk aesthetics. Talk room décor. Talk color schemes. Send pictures back and forth and decide who is bringing what. In some cases you and your roomie might be on the same style page, and that’s awesome! But for some it might require more effort. Just remember it’s more about coordination than assimilation. Make sure both of your personalities shine through.

6. FOOD!

Isn’t there that terrible saying, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Well it actually is true of college students. Food is the best way into the hearts of your peers. This list has 31 foods you can make in a microwave, because the communal kitchen/oven is almost always taken. When a midnight snack calls, you’ll be the one to save the day.

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Paige Dinneny is a recent graduate of Biola University. Born and raised in Southern California, she currently lives in Long Beach and is now pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Fiction at Cal State Long Beach. Her days are filled with many jobs including social media marketing, retail and this! She spends her free time writing, watching the Game Show Network and going to concerts.