Making your space feel like home

By Gus Bode

Students get creative with college living

Moving from a large spacious house to a cramped shoe-boxed- styled dorm room or apartment can be tough for students.

But with the help of a few decorating tips, the comfort of a home can be brought to those cramped college dwellings.


I bought out the room and put up wall-to-wall carpeting, she said. I save space by putting my dresser in one of my closets and using it as a make-shift kitchen where I make coffee, store food and cook with my Crock-Pot.

Crescenti personalized her room last year by hanging a large Bob Marley quilt on her wall, but this year decided she would rather sleep under it. To hang it, she bought large 3M sticky hooks that don’t damage the walls when they have to be taken down at the end of the year. The hooks are available at retail stores such as Kmart, Wal-Mart, and just about any other mart around.

The good thing about removable hooks in dorms and apartments is they usually aren’t in violation of housing rules. University Housing and most apartment complexes do not allow students to put nails or screws into the walls or do anything else that may damage the room. Students should always consult the residence hall guide book and apartment contracts when they first move in to know exactly what they can and can’t do to their home away from home.

Lucie Milota, a sophomore in marketing, misses the comforts of home and designed her place to be more cozy, which makes her stay in Felts Hall more enjoyable.

I put a futon in here and a little Rubbermaid thing to store stuff, she said. I also put in carpet. It helps sound-proof the room.

Milota also gives her dorm a feel of home with things to remind her what it’s like back in Berwyn where she’s from.

Every Saturday, my mom would go grocery shopping and she’d always get fresh flowers, she said. I got used to that flower smell and sometimes I’ll do it too. I’ll just go get flowers, because it gives me that home feeling.


Milota gets some of her ideas, such as drapes around her bed and cloths over tables, from interior decoration shows like those on the Discovery Channel.

Flowers, posters, furniture, black lights and just about anything else students need to make their place more welcoming are available at the numerous retail stores around Carbondale.

Hobby Lobby, 1150 E. Main St., is one of the stores that students flock to for their decorating needs, and this time of year is one of the busiest.

It gets a little slow during tax season, but when everyone gets their refund, they feel the need to spend, said Cheryl Clover, assistant manager at the Carbondale Hobby Lobby.

Clover said posters, poster frames, silk trees and furniture are among their popular items for students.

Students in apartments usually end up having to buy even more supplies for their new place than dorm-dwellers do, and Liz Weideman and Amanda Reese are no exception.

Both live in a Lewis Park apartment and have to buy all their furniture for their houses, including beds and tables. They both live with two other roommates, and they are always coming up with ways to decorate their place.

Plants are a big thing, said Weideman, a junior in biological science from Chatham. They are something alive in the room, and it’s green.

Reese, a junior in creative writing from Shelbyville, said Rubbermaid bins also save them some space, and to save money they buy cheap picture frames from Wal-Mart for their posters, which makes the walls look nicer.

We also go to a lot of rummage sales, Reese said. It saves money and they have good stuff like multi-functioning book shelves.

A unique touch the four have added to make their apartment more fitting of their personalities is they painted a chair to go with a table they bought. The chairs have various pictures of things that they each like.

I painted flowers on mine, Weideman said.

Decorating ideas for dorms and apartments can come from anywhere. Some of the best ideas come from other students, while many opt for creative inspiration from other sources. Whatever the medium, students’ personalities have a habit of coming out in the way they decorate and design their place.

We watch a lot of TLC, Reese said. That show is great [ for finding decorating ideas].