Hello future freshmen! I hope that you are incredibly excited for college to start since it's a little over a month away! As the summer comes to an end, it is important to begin considering what you need to bring to college with you—and what you need to leave behind, particularly in terms of decorations. I speak with the unique position of having both brought far too little with me and then having attempted to compensate by bringing a ton of things back with me the first time I went home. Needless to say, my car was filled to the brim as I returned home from college after my freshman year. Having learned my lesson, I hope I can advise you not to follow my same mistakes. With a little forward thinking, you can arrive at your residence hall in the Fall with exactly what you need and nothing more!
For the Wall
As a general rule (and a good place to start), blank walls never tend to be welcoming, so be sure to bring along things to put on them. I say "things" because there are countless objects that college students tend to put on their walls, so bring what makes you feel at home. From band posters or movie posters to tapestries or paintings, there is always something you can use to create your perfect space. My personal favorite decor includes dried flowers tied in a bundle alongside favorite memories captured in photographs strung together with twine. American flags or your home state flag also look wonderful hung up on your wall.
Considering any type of decorations, but particularly wall "things," it can be nice to coordinate with your roommate. Depending on how y'all are planning to share space, you can both bring theme-oriented decor and go from there. If you're the concert-going type, hanging up posters from your favorite shows with records of your favorite bands makes for a good vibe. Simply talk to your roommate and figure out what might work best for the two of you. If you don't want to coordinate, that's perfectly fine too; there's plenty of wall space for the two of you!
Lights, Camera, Action!
In my personal opinion, one of the most vital decorations you can bring to your room involves lighting. This can be by way of lamps, Christmas lights, bulb lights, or those glow-in-the-dark stars your mom stuck on your ceiling when you were five. Similar to the wall decorations, there are a ridiculous number of ways to light your room. There are obviously the built-in lights in your residence hall room ceiling, but to create a more relaxing space, definitely bring your own lights. You can string lights around the perimeter of your ceiling or dangling across it; you can also use desk lamps, floor lamps, and a nice little bedside table lamp to make your room shine—literally.
Accent Your Space
Nothing ties a room together like the little things. These are what define your space. If you're planning on coordinating with your roommate, the "little things" definitely matter because you can either perfect your room or cause it to look too cluttered with these objects. These things range from all over, including your bed pillows or your trashcan, your succulents or your desktop hutch. In terms of coin jars, standing photo frames, or trophies from kindergarten, don't bring too much stuff to simply set out on your desk, bookshelves, or dresser top. You will certainly have some space to do so, but as a college student you will want free space to set out your laptop or your textbooks.
With your roommate, consider each buying a headboard from the same store so that they go together. If you both would like desk shelves, you can each get those from the same place as well to continue in the same vein. You can also both decide whether or not to match or at least coordinate bedding. Regardless of what area of decoration you're considering for your college room, discussing it with your roommate is always a good idea. Most importantly talking about it all helps you and your roommate show up without two rugs, two televisions, or two full-size mirrors.
What's Already There
When you arrive at your residence hall on move-in day, you'll find some essentials waiting for you in your room. There will be two bed frames (with mattresses) that you can either bunk with your roommate or set up singly on a variety of different heights. There will also be two dressers and two desks. Just like with your decorations, it will be best to discuss with your roommate the best way to set up the space. There are endless possibilities and always several ones that will surely work for you. For girls living in Mary Nelson Hall, remember that there is a sink in the room so be sure to set up your space accounting for it. For those living in Whittington Hall, it can be nice to bring a curtain or simply a shower curtain to act as a "door" for the closet since otherwise it is open to the rest of the room.
The most important thing to remember in this process is that it is completely fine to get to college and realize that you would like something else in your room—something you didn't have any idea that you would need. Part of the college experience that most shapes you is finding out how you live in your space and how you live with another individual in shared space. If you have to make a Target run (or two or three) during your first month of school, no worries and no shame! As for my own experience, I forgot pillows and had to nab a few from Walmart, so if you forget a wall clock, you're doing better than me. Hopefully however, you can do your best to fully prepare for your college room before move-in day even begins. That makes for the perfect start to an incredible college career.
Best of luck in your college preparation!