Dorm rooms are designed with function in mind, not style. Since it will be your home for the next several months, it is a great idea to make your room your own. Here are some tips that will help you kickstart the dorm decorating process.

Get inspiration.

Think a bit about your personal style. What colors do you like? How did you decorate your room at home? Are you wanting to try a similar style or something completely new? You can also get some great ideas by searching online for dorm room decorations or creating a Pinterest board.

Review dorm policies.

Your dorm may have rules that will affect how you can decorate your room. You will most likely not be able to remove any furniture from your room (beds, chairs, desks, etc. that your dorm provides), and you won’t be able to decorate in any way that causes permanent damage, so no nails, duct tape, or packing tape while hanging posters! Command strips are usually ok. In addition, it is not unusual for candles or hot plates to be banned to reduce the risk of fire. Look at your college’s rules and remove any banned items from your decorating list.

Plan for the essentials (in a stylish way!).

Dorm rooms will provide your ‘bare bones’ necessities such as your bed, desk, some shelving, and maybe a refrigerator and microwave, but you will likely need some things to make the room more comfortable. This may include lamps/string lights (dorms sometimes have terrible lighting), rugs, bedding, and organizational items (you won’t have much room). Coordinate with your roommate to bring shared essentials into the room. If you want, you can come up with creative ways to make your room essentials be a part of your decorating scheme. Pick a bright rug, a fun lamp, or a classy bedspread. Everything in your room can be a work of art!

Keep it contained.

This should be a given, but keep all of your decorations contained within your room and out of the way of doors, windows, and appliances. If you have a roommate and you are not creating a joint decorating plan for your whole room, keep your decorations on your side. Your artistic flair will not be appreciated if it annoys your roommate or makes parts of your room unusable.

Keep it simple.

Before you start decorating your room, remember that you will most likely be moving out at the end of the school year. It is a good idea to decorate in a way that won’t cause damage (you will have to pay for damages) and in a way that is easy to set up and remove. Also keep in mind that you will need a plan to either move, store, or donate any large items if you are not planning on living in the dorms during the summer.

Dorm rooms can look boring at first, but they are a blank slate for you to fill with your favorite things while you are at school. Current college students, do you have any dorm decorating tips? Leave them in the comments below!