We’re packing up and going to college! Well, without the packing up. You’ve gotten the high school diploma, and now it’s time to start a new chapter. This might seem trickier if you have chosen to stay home for school. But it actually starts with your room.

The vibe of your space can subconsciously change your mood and attitude. So, find new ways to transform your childhood bedroom into a space fit for a college student. Here are some tips to get you started on your at-home dorm room!

Change Your Palette

A blank canvas for a new space starts with the canvas of your room, the walls! Giving your walls a fresh coat of paint can be a huge step in transitioning your room into a DIY dorm. As a kid, you loved the idea of covering the four walls of your bedroom in your favorite color, but now you feel like you’ve outgrown the look. Whether it’s hot pink, bright robin’s egg blue or a dark navy, it’s time for new paint. (In truthfulness, I had yellow walls in my childhood bedroom, so we’ve all been there.)

An off-white or light, neutral gray can help open things up. These colors can give the appearance of a larger room to make things feel less cramped. (Which is definitely a bonus over traditional door rooms.) This change gives you the freedom to explore the use of colors and tones throughout the space. Having a commanding accent color on all four walls does not give you a lot of room to play with things like area rugs, throw pillows and wall art. 

Bedding Refresh

Start this chapter by making your bed, literally! A new set of cozy sheets will help you unwind after a long day of studying, lectures and note-taking. Your mind is not only absorbing copious amounts of information, but you are also navigating a new stage in your life, which can be exhausting. Create a bedroom that keeps you focused for school, but also helps you recharge in order to be the best young scholar you can be!

Keep your bedding neutral to give yourself more flexibility in accents that catch the eye. If you want to add subtle dimension, try a style with a monochrome pattern. Complete the set up with a plush throw blanket that also adds a pop of color! 

Decorate with Wall Art

Now that you’ve given your walls a fresh new color, decorate them with beautiful art! For those of you who are not moving into a dorm this fall, experiment by building a gallery wall. Unlike students in residence halls, you can drill holes to hang your favorite prints, posters and framed pieces. This small change in your décor will give your room a more mature vibe. And although we loved our boy band posters and botched magazine collages, it’s time to step things up. One Direction will understand. 

Studying at Club Lib

When creating a productive study space in your bedroom, think of two essentials; the workspace and the lighting. Depending on your course curriculum, study habits are going to be much different than they were in high school. Ensure your ability to ace every exam by dedicating a space in your bedroom to just school work. Doing homework from your bed may impact your sleep schedule, impeding your ability to excel during the day. 

Pick out a desk with ample room for textbooks, study materials and coursework. Add a table lamp that keeps things bright and helps you stay alert. Our brain is affected by light and uses it as an indicator of needing to stay awake or getting ready for sleep. So, don’t study in a dimly-lit room! 

Simple Changes Make a Huge Difference 

This transition from high schooler to college-bound adult doesn’t have to be as extreme as you think. Home décor accents have a large impact on the look of your bedroom, so start small and see how you feel. Here are our recommendations: 

Fake Foliage

If you are not ready for the responsibility of caring for a plant, try a fake one! An artificial version will still give you the vibrant green color in your space, without the maintenance! Depending on your style, dress it up with a patterned pot or keep things minimal with a neutral option. The pretend plant you pick can also vary on your available space. Snake plants are compact and can fit anywhere. Palms create a tropical vibe, even if you live in the Midwest.  And a pothos can add visual interest when placed on a high floating shelf. 

Storage Made Smart

Invest in efficient storage for all of your belongings. Depending on your needs, this could be a sleek filing cabinet, an accent piece or just a bed frame with sneaky storage drawers. Removing clutter from the space will help you feel more organized in all aspects of your life. And your newly neat “college bedroom” will be a better place for relaxing at the end of the day. The same goes for traditional dorm rooms, storage is an essential to maximizing your space.

Setting Up New Rules

The transition to college life doesn’t just end with a new look for your bedroom. Choosing to stay at home was a great step for your future and your education. Have a conversation with your family about what this new chapter means for everyone. You are a young adult on your own journey, and that should be recognized and supported! Although it’s important to respect the rules of the household, express your need for new rules. 

And this new-found independence should work for the entire family. If you are asking for more freedom, you should also accept more responsibility. Offer to help with chores like preparing dinner, shopping for the groceries or doing the laundry. These small steps are actions towards adulthood, and will help your whole family with this transition. 

Let us know how you created the perfect space for a college student! Drop your decor hacks and tips in the comments below, or share a photo with us! Tag #MyAshleyHome on Instagram to possibly see your makeshift dorm on our feed. You can also find more inspiration for your space on our Pinterest board.