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Dorm Sweet Dorm: Decorating to fight homesickness

With Freshers’ week done and dusted, here are some ways to get over that homesickness hurdle through decorating your room.

Homesickness is a completely normal part of life for new students starting university. Some effective ways to deal with homesickness are calling up friends and family, talking with housemates, or contacting the Students’ Union counselling service.

However, your dorm can also be more useful in this department than simply being a place for collapsing on the bed after hugging the toilet goodnight. Your room is your base camp and the things you have on display can have a massive impact on your mental health, combatting homesickness, improving sleep cycles and productivity.

Firstly, and obviously, de-clutter your dorm room.  A clean and (relatively) ordered environment is not only good for your physical health (because that pizza under the bed is more likely to evolve into the next human epidemic than start paying rent) but also your mentality. It’s no surprise that most people would rather wake up in a clean room than a landfill, but even things such as piles of unsorted papers can cause anxiety and restlessness.  Bin those fresher’s leaflets you are never going to use for starters. This will make you feel more at home. You can also de-clutter your brain by having a chalkboard or whiteboard to help plan your thoughts and to-do lists.

Whatever you want to make for your new room, someone will be gloating about theirs on Pinterest. Search for ideas and instructions on how you can craft your own picture frames, washing line style Polaroid timelines… even strapping baking trays on the wall for makeshift magnetic noticeboards. Bring your memories, family, friends and furry pals along for the ride with creative photo displays. Making your own furniture and decorations will give you a sense of pride and save you pots of money.

You may spend a lot of time staring at your walls, so make them perfect for your unique personality. Good ideas are posters from favourite movies, a collage of your fondest memories and keepsakes or even a blown up world map so that you can plan diabolical world domination from the comfort of your room. Cheap decorating alternatives include making paper chains or bunting which can make your room livelier and remind you of past fun fairs and parties. Remember: the accommodation bosses will not appreciate ambitious people drilling or banging nails into walls, so stick to Blu Tack for your adhesive medium.

For a safer alternative to candle mood lighting, which pose a fire risk if left unattended, you can buy battery operated tea lights or make your room a carnival with fairy lights.

Although students in halls of residence cannot paint their walls, posters and decorations containing particular colours can be chosen to boost mental-wellbeing. A study undertaken by Travelodge found that people sleeping in rooms containing calm colours such as silver, orange, green, yellow and especially blue, received the best night’s sleep. Blue was also found to reduce blood pressure and heart rate enabling the best night’s sleep of all the colours. Colours to avoid in your bedroom were highlighted to be brown, purple and grey. Although based on research, the ideas above are just guidelines on colours recommended to include in the decoration of a dorm room. Only you know what colours mean to you and how they make you feel, so fill your room with colours that you find calming and attractive.

Once you have created for yourself a calming, comfy and homely space sit back and relax in your new home – you deserve it.

Tags: colour, dorm, home, Homesickness, interior design, Room, sleep

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