Heading off to college for the first time can be exciting. You can’t wait to meet new people from all over the country and even the world. And you get to live on your own, independently and maybe even far away from family and friends. But no matter how independent and freeing it feels, sometimes you just miss home, its creature comforts and the people who made you feel safe.

 

However, when you arrive at your dorm room, it’s also a blank slate. Fortunately, there are ways to remind you of back home and all the people you love by adding a few decorative and homey touches to your dorm room space. So if you’re missing fall back home, here are eight ways to spice up your dorm and make it feel homey.

#1 Light Fall Scented Candles

Scent brings back all kinds of memories. So what better way to spice up your dorm room than with a few candles? (As long as that is permitted within your dorm, of course). If you’re missing fall at home, along with the smells of grandma’s delicious cooking and the pumpkin patch you visit with your family just before Halloween, don’t worry — there’s a candle for that! Check out the Grandma’s kitchen candle that smells exactly like freshly baked warm apple pie straight from the oven. Does your dorm have a no candle policy? Then use a reed diffuser instead. The Pumpkin diffuser will make you feel like you’re back home carving pumpkins and drinking hot apple cider with your friends.

#2 Find Words and Items That Inspire and Comfort You

If you’re missing fall at home and being surrounded by family and friends, think of words and things that inspire and comfort you. It can be a quote from one of your favorite books or an image that lifts the spirits and brightens your day. Think of words that describe how you would want your dorm room to feel and use them as inspiration to decorate. When spicing up your dorm room, it’s okay to fall into the latest design trends and colors, but make sure the overall mood and atmosphere bring you comfort and make you feel at home, too. Also, when doing so, make sure your roomies have a say in it as well.

#3 Create a Luxe Bed for Deep Sleep

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The average adult needs eight hours of sleep per night. But as a new college student, getting good sleep is a real struggle. However, sleep is vital for your overall physical and mental health, helping you fight off fatigue and illnesses, so having a proper bed is imperative for your dorm room. In other words, make your bed as comfy as it was back home, complete with soft, breathable sheets and an ergonomic pillow that cradles your neck oh-so-perfectly. If your college mattress is too stiff and rigid, add a pillow top or an egg crate foam topper to add some softness to your slumber. Finally, don’t forget to dress your college dorm bed with decorative pillows and cozy throws from your room back home. It will fight off the homesick blues.

#4 Add a Warm Underfooting to Cold Floors

Nothing says sterile dorm room quite like concrete or linoleum floors. So instead of hopping out of bed and landing on a cold floor every morning, roll out a rug or two. Keep a rug just under the bed to add a warm, soft underfoot when you crawl into bed each night. You can also add a thick and luxurious bath rug outside the shower as well. See if your roommate wants to go in on a larger carpet that provides a foundation for the space and makes you both feel more comfortable.

#5 Decorate Your Walls with Memories

Dorm room walls can be a bit stale. Luckily, hanging up photos, art and decor can spice up a dorm room in a big way. But while it’s easy to throw up a poster or two and call it a day, try to make your wall space feel homier. Hang a flag from your home state or country and some photos of siblings and best friends. Decorate your walls with memories and things that remind you of home, along with some colorful decor to liven the place up. Do you hail from the New England coast? Download images of the fall leaves turning in your favorite park. Settling in from sunny California? Hang a few boho macrame plant holders with succulents to remind you of home.

#6 Get a Comfy Chair for a More Casual Space

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Chances are, you sit all day in a pretty rigid chair during classes. So when you come back to your dorm, give yourself somewhere to unwind and relax (that isn’t your bed). While it’s essential to have an office chair that provides good lumbar support when you need to get to studying, designate a corner of the room for relaxation. Look for a comfy chair that invites you to curl up with reading material and listen to music to decompress and relax. Not sure where to find a chair around campus? Keep an eye out for tag sales and yard sales or simply hit up a local thrift store. If you have a chair from your room at home, even better! Place a throw over the arm or back to make the chair more welcoming to you, new friends and dorm room guests.

#7 Use a Light Therapy Alarm Clock

Once daylight saving time kicks in and the days become shorter, getting sunlight becomes trickier — especially if you have your head down studying all day long. But instead of slipping into Seasonal Affective Disorder, get yourself a light therapy device that mimics the sunrise and helps you get out of bed each morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Able to set multiple timers, it can slowly wake you up in the morning and even greet you when you arrive at the dorm late at night after your study group.

#8 Stream Music

Songs can bring back lots of memories and even relax you after a long day. So if you are missing fall at home and your best buddies, share a playlist on Spotify or whatever music streaming app you use and listen to it wherever you want to unwind or simply miss hanging out. Also, consider setting up playlists for different activities, such as studying, partying, exercising or just relaxing at the park.