Every college student needs a good personal workspace; and for many, it’s their dorm room. With those four walls being the witness to our all-nighters, random breakdowns, and procrastination sessions, it makes sense that we’d want to add a bit of our personal aesthetic to these spaces through some décor. However, unlike with our bedrooms back home, we don’t always have the permission, the time, or the money to give our dorm rooms an Instagram-worthy revamp. But truth be told, you don’t always need expensive furniture or brightly-painted walls to give your workspace some extra pizazz. Sometimes, it only takes a few simple additions to brighten up your area and inspire you to stay productive.
Splurge on some succulents
What better way to give your dorm room a bit of life than through some indoor plants? Succulents are one of the simplest yet most purchased room decors, and the great thing about them is that they’re easily movable and super low-maintenance, while effortlessly brightening up your work desk.
The best part is that you can choose from a wide variety of succulents, from jade plants to flowering cacti.
It’s easy to get your hands on them too: you can find them at your nearest grocery store, in flower markets like Dangwa, or even through affordable online shops like Arts & Cactus and My Cactus and Plants on Facebook. Your wallet need not worry about these potted plants, as you can score a lot of them for less than a hundred pesos.
Play with your walls
Your dorm walls are blank canvasses ready to be decorated, and there are many simple and non-permanent decor options you can try out on them.
If you’re dorming far away from your hometown, you could try a photo wall, where you can stick with tack/hang on twine some pictures of your family and friends from back home to lift you up whenever you’re feeling lonely or homesick.
You could also try out tapestries, which instantly add color to your room after you put them up. Something cool I’ve tried was DIY buntings: I bought this cheap pack of pre-cut cardboard flaglets that came with string, then I pasted cutouts from my old magazines onto the flaglets. I connected them with the string then hung them above my bed, which turned out to be really pretty. You can also hang up other things on your wall like vintage maps and posters from shops like Biblio and Papemelroti, and if you’re a fine arts student, why not frame the plates you’re most proud of?
Get creative with a corkboard
The great thing about corkboards is that they can be both functional and decorative. You could stick a simple to-do list written on colored paper, then boom–instant color pop for your desk. Apart from the usual school memos or sticky note reminders, think about adding some personal memorabilia, like inspirational notes to yourself, cute quote posters that really speak to you, some acrylic pins, pictures you’ve taken with your blockmates, and even your nametags from all the org events you’ve volunteered for. This is a space where you can make chaos look creative.
If you want to be extra, you can slice up a thin corkboard into hexagons and stick them together on your wall for a more interesting take on the usual rectangular boards. On these hexagons you can paint or paste some printed paper on them to add variety, and you could even use push pins to hang some stuff that don’t usually go on corkboards like earrings, necklaces, and org lanyards.
Explore DIY Storage
Before really getting into decorating your room, it’s important to first keep your stuff neat and organized. Luckily, with DIY storage, you can achieve both. Think twice before throwing out all your cereal boxes, because they actually make cute organizers–from drawer dividers to containers for your books and loose papers. Even your canned goods post-dinner can serve as storage for your writing materials and other school supplies.
If you’re too short on time for DIY, you can opt to buy some affordable storage supplies from shops like Daiso or Miniso, and just buy multiples of the same design, since this uniformity can also serve a decorative purpose.
Experiment with lights
Lights are the simplest way you can literally brighten up your workspace. Sometimes one creative light source is enough to elevate your room from drab stress-zone to photoshoot-worthy study space.
A common décor choice is fairy lights, which would go nicely with the suggested photo wall earlier. You can choose from multiple colors, depending on the aesthetic you’re going for, and you can even opt to place them inside colored wine bottles you have lying around at home. You can also go for cute lamps, like the famous moon light, the cute silicone cat lamps, and the unique acrylic 3D lamps, which can easily take your desk décor to the next level.
The cool thing about creative light sources is how they can effortlessly set a calming mood and give your dorm room the homey vibe you’ll need after a stressful day at school.