How To Make The Most Of A Small Dorm Room

Going off to college is a fun and exciting time for young students. A big part of this experience is moving away from home for likely the first time ever to live in the school's dorm. These lodgments always sound amazing, but once you get there and start moving your things in, it dawns on you just how tiny a dorm room is. Everything needs to be functional or multifunctional in such a small space.

To make the most of the small area available in a dorm room, you must think vertically and decorate accordingly. Space Shop Self Storage recommends lofting the bed, adding bed risers, stacking storage bins, and storing appliances vertically. Some schools provide their students with microwaves and mini-fridges, so to make the most of the space, it's best to put the microwave on top of the fridge, and if you choose to bring a coffee maker, put that on top of the microwave. Moving on, here are a few ways to make the most of your small dorm room.

1. Bed risers are a must

Lifting a bed in a dorm room is by far the best way to create more space in a tiny area. A lifted bed helps to add space vertically for organizational items like drawers, storage trunks, and additional school-issued furniture. Most dorms have beds that can be lifted without having to purchase anything. To lift those beds, you will need a rubber mallet to tap the bottom frame of the bed out and place it higher on the legs of the frame, securing it with metal pins (via Nectar).

While many schools have frames that can be lifted, some don't. For those cases, you can purchase bed risers. They are metal or plastic blocks placed under each of the bed frame's four legs to lift its height. According to SavvyCollegeGirl, risers can lift a bed an additional 3 to 5 inches off the floor, or you can stack these two sizes of risers to lift a bed up to 8 inches. If you don't like the look of the storage underneath the bed, you can hide it with a bed skirt.

2. Ottomans for multifunctionality

An ottoman is almost necessary if you choose to lift your bed. When your bed is an extra 8 inches off the floor, it can be difficult to get into it. No one wants to jump to get onto their bed when they're studying with their new friends. This is where an ottoman comes in. These furniture pieces are multifunctional because you will need one to use as a step stool to get into your raised bed, and you can also use it for hidden storage.

By Sophia Lee suggests using your ottoman to keep items like additional shoes or blankets. Because this furniture piece will be easy to access since it will be out in the open or tucked under your bed, you can take advantage of that by keeping items you use every day in it. Another function of an ottoman is for additional seating. Dorm rooms are small, and when you have friends over, you may need more than your bed and desk chair so your pals aren't stuck sitting on the floor.

3. Hooks for smart storage

Utilizing the wall space in a dorm room is important to save valuable floor area. Since most schools don't allow students to put holes in the wall to hang hooks or décor, command hooks will become your best friend. These hooks will allow you to hang all kinds of items without damaging the wall. What's more, you can easily remove them at the end of the school year by pulling them straight down. However, command strips can be tricky, so a tip when taking them off the wall is to heat the strip with a hairdryer first. If you accidentally rip the tab off, use dental floss to separate the strip from the wall, Thrifty Decor Chick recommends.

You can use command hooks all over a dorm room. For example, you can put them on the walls to hang items like jackets, hats, and jewelry, according to Extra Storage Space, or you can have them in the closet to hang towels or shower caddies. They can even be placed near the door to remind you not to forget your keys or backpack. By using hooks wherever possible, you will use the open vertical space in your dorm room, making the area seem a bit bigger.

4. Get a mattress caddy

Nightstands are unnecessary furniture pieces that take up space in a dorm room. However, there are other ways to use your school-issued furniture piece to optimize your storage space and keep your room from looking cluttered. For example, if your bed is raised enough, you can keep your nightstand underneath it and use it as additional drawer space for clothes, school supplies, or kitchen supplies.

Once your original nightstand is out of the way, Simplifying College recommends putting a mattress caddy or shelf in its place. A mattress caddy is a fabric caddy that sits in between the mattress and the bed frame, while a mattress shelf hooks onto the bed frame. They give you all the necessary storage you need by your bed for a book, phone, and glasses without taking up floor space. If your bed is raised and you need more storage area, you can even replace your nightstand with a three-tier cart or a set of canvas drawers. That will give you more room to store items like clothes and beauty products, while you can use the top as your nightstand.

5. Play with the lights

The lighting in dorm rooms is not always the greatest. To help with it, many students purchase lamps, but adding a lamp or floor lamp will take up valuable space in such a small room. In addition, it doesn't feel very homey when dorms use overhead lighting with cold white lights.

To fix this problem, Extra Space Storage suggests using a clip-on lamp. These lamps add a ton of light without taking up lots of space. You can clip them onto bookcases, headboards, nightstands, shelves, or desks. Clip-on lamps are a good choice because you can head their light in a single direction, allowing one roommate to sleep while the other can stay up studying.

Another option for lighting in a dorm room is to hang fairy lights or holiday lights on the walls with command hooks. These light types will add to the room's aesthetic and provide a warm glow without taking up a ton of space. However, it is important to check your school's fire safety rules before hanging these lights.