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  • Writer's pictureSarah Santiago

Dorm Room Wellness: Decorating Your College Dorm Room to Support Your Mental Health.

The semester is about to begin! Your dorm room is more than just a living space; it can also serve as a sanctuary for your mental well-being during your college journey. As a licensed mental health therapist, I understand the importance of creating an environment that promotes relaxation, focus, and a sense of comfort. In this blog post, I will provide you with practical tips on decorating your dorm room to support your mental health and create a space that feels like home.

1. Choose Colors with Intention:

Choose a color scheme that promotes how you like to feel. Maybe you want a sense of calm and tranquility or you prefer a bright an energetic vibe. Soft and soothing colors like blues, greens, or neutrals can create a serene atmosphere and bright bold colors like pinks and orange can feel energizing. Consider incorporating these colors through bedding, curtains, or accent pieces to cultivate those vibes in your environment.

2. Personalize Your Space:

Adding personal touches to your dorm room can foster a sense of familiarity and comfort. Display photographs, artwork, or items that hold special meaning to you. Surrounding yourself with familiar objects can provide a sense of grounding and remind you of your support network.

3. Create a Cozy Corner:

Designate a cozy corner in your dorm room as a relaxation and self-care space. Place a comfortable chair or bean bag, soft pillows, and a cozy blanket in this area. It can become your go-to spot for unwinding, reading, or practicing mindfulness that is separate from your bed.

4. Bring Nature Indoors:

Incorporate elements of nature into your dorm room to promote a sense of tranquility and connection to the outdoors. Add plants or small potted herbs to your space, or hang nature-inspired artwork on the walls. Consider a fish tank or photo of your pet(s). These natural elements can have a calming effect and plants may improve air quality.

5. Optimize Lighting:

Lighting plays a crucial role in influencing mood and energy levels. Utilize a mix of natural and artificial lighting in your dorm room. Allow natural light to flow in during the day and use warm, soft lighting in the evenings. Consider adding a desk lamp for focused studying and adjustable lighting options to create different ambiance as needed. Bright white/blueish light can help wake up your body, while soft, warm lighting can help you wind down and relax.

6. Declutter and Organize:

A clutter-free environment can support a clear mind. Keep your dorm room organized and free of unnecessary clutter. Use storage solutions such as bins, shelves, or under-bed storage to maximize space. A tidy and organized room can help reduce stress and create a sense of serenity.

7. Incorporate Relaxation Aids:

Integrate relaxation aids into your dorm room to help manage stress and promote relaxation. This could include items such as a white noise machine, essential oil diffuser, fidget toys, meditation accessories, or a small fountain to create soothing sounds. Experiment with different tools and find what works best for you.

8. Prioritize Comfortable Bedding:

Quality sleep is essential for mental well-being. Invest in comfortable bedding, including a supportive mattress topper, cozy sheets, and a pillow that suits your preferences. Create a sleep-friendly environment by minimizing noise and using blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out light.

9. Consider Inspirational Visuals:

Hang up inspirational quotes, affirmations, or vision boards that align with your goals and aspirations. Visual reminders can inspire and motivate you, providing a positive mindset and encouraging self-belief during challenging times.

10. Utilize Noise-Canceling Headphones:

Living in a dorm can sometimes be noisy and distracting. Invest in noise-canceling headphones to create a quiet space for studying, relaxation, or focusing on self-care. They can help you create a sense of peace and solitude even in a bustling environment.

*You deserve to have your basic needs met. If you are unable to access items for your dorm room such as bedding, pillows, towels, etc. consider contacting your school's resources. If you attend Northern Michigan University, and either yourself or someone you know could use necessary dorm room items consider contacting the Ripple Effect Of Marquette County or The NMU Food Pantry for free assistance.

Note: This blog post is not intended to replace professional advice. If you are experiencing severe anxiety or mental health issues, it is recommended to consult with a licensed mental health professional. If you are in a crisis, please seek help immediately. National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call: 800-799-7233 Text*: START to 88788 TTY: 800-787-3224 Chat:

About the author: Sarah Santiago is a licensed professional counselor in Michigan. She provides therapy to Michigan college students and emerging adults (ages 18-29) virtually. Her specialties include helping clients work through anxiety, eating disorders, and improving self-confidence.

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