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6 Ways to Make the Most of a Small College Dorm Room

Updated on March 17, 2013

1) Command Strips and Hooks

Great for making use of vertical space and for decorating without nails or tape that can fall down or leave residue, 3M Command Strips and Hooks come in a variety of shapes and sizes designed for a myriad of purposes. Use the strips to hang posters, photos, and whatever else you like securely and without being fined for damages. Hooks can save you closet space by providing places to hang coats, hoodies, hats, towels, and scarves anywhere you have room. You can even use them to organize necklaces or keep organized by hanging keys and other important items where you know you'll be able to find them. 3M also makes a variety of more specialized hangers, including picture and frame hangers, cord organizers, and water resistant adhesives that can be used in the bathroom, if you're lucky enough to have one.

2) Bed Risers and Underbed Bins

In a small college dorm, every bit of space counts, including under the bed. Long, shallow plastic or fabric organizers can be used to store off season clothing, extra bedding, and anything else you want out of the way. Or, to maximize storage potential, get yourself a set of bed risers. By raising the bed a few more inches off the ground, you can make room for deeper bins, extra drawers, or anything else you need space to stow away.

3) Lofting Your Bed

If normal bed risers don't provide enough space, try giving your bed the ultimate boost by lofting it. Many colleges now offer modular furniture, allowing you to raise your bed over a desk or dresser. Or, with a little help or some woodshop experience, you can even construct your own. Lofting the bed frees up a huge amount of space and is a great solution when you're short of space for larger items, like a desk, a mini fridge, a futon, or a couch. Alternatively, if you have a roommate, you might want to simply try bunking your beds. It may seem a bit like summer camp at first, but you save a huge amount of floor space with only one bed on the ground.

4) Extra Closet Rods and Drawers

Some stores, like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, offer hanging closet rods that increase your closet space by hooking onto the rods already built into your closet. Although these aren't the best for longer garments like dresses, they can double your closet space for items like shirts, pants, and skirts. For a variety of hanging space, buy a shorter hanging rod that expands across only part of the closet. Hang shorter items here while saving the longer space for dresses, suits, long skirts, and garment bags.

Alternatively, if you need more space for folded clothes or shoes, you can convert rod space to drawer and shelf room with hanging fabric shelves or simply pick up some stacking plastic drawers or shoe racks to fit under the rod in the closet or on top of a dresser to expand its storage space. Just don't forget to leave room for a hamper. Keeping clothes off the floor is also an excellent space saver and will leave you with a better looking, more livable room.

5) Mirrors

While they don't help you much in terms of storage, mirrors can be great for reflecting both light and space in a room, making things seem bigger and brighter than they really are... And that's not to mention their more obvious use of helping you get dressed and ready to face the world in the morning. You can find full-length mirrors with over-the-door hooks or adhesive backing for attachment at stores like JCPenney and Wal-Mart. Additionally, for a touch of fun, the same stores often carry packages of small, fun-shaped mirrors for adding and the illusion of space, light, and a unique decorative touch.

6) Cork Boards, Whiteboards, and Wall Files

For paper storage, memos, and decoration, browse your local office supply store for cork boards, whiteboards, and wall files. Cork boards can be covered in fabric to provide an attractive means of organizing notes, pictures, and memos, while whiteboards allow you to leave notes to yourself or roommate where you're sure to see them. Many are now available with magnetic surfaces, meaning that they can do double duty serving the same paper-holding function as cork boards in addition to holding notes. For even more utility, try picking up a pack of magnetic spice tins to attach to a whiteboard or mini fridge. They can hold small office supplies like paperclips, staples, rubber bands, and thumbtacks without cluttering up your desk. And, as an additional method of reducing desk clutter, store papers out of the way by filing them into a wall file. Usually containing between one and five sections, these files are available at Target, Wal-Mart, and office supply stores and occasionally also include small drawers or hooks for holding keys.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      These are great suggestions! Bed risers and under bed storage, are at the top of the list IMO.

    • pbsandwichofdoom profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Lamoreux 

      8 years ago

      Thanks! I'm actually moving into a new apartment next week, so I'll be replenishing my supply of Command Strips to hang things without my landlord taking anything away from my deposit.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 

      8 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA


      I am going out and getting command strips and hooks tomorrow! My son is moving into his own place this year for college and you offered some great tips and ideas! We will definitly use them! Thanks for a great hub! I voted up, useful and interesting!

    • pbsandwichofdoom profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Lamoreux 

      8 years ago

      Thanks, puddingicecream. Command strips and hooks were godsends for me in college.

    • puddingicecream profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      These are great ideas. I love how you included photos as well. I'm a big fan of using Command Strips and Hooks. Voted up and useful.

    • pbsandwichofdoom profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathryn Lamoreux 

      8 years ago

      Thanks, glassvisage! I just graduated this year, so I thought if there was any topic I had any expertise on, it must be college life. Great to hear somebody likes one of my college hubs... Also, a corkboard wall sounds really useful. One of my friends' rooms at home is like that, and he's covered it with old maps and things. It looks great.

    • glassvisage profile image


      8 years ago from Northern California

      This is a great Hub! Complete with photos, it's very easy to read and has great ideas. I used the space under my bed quite a bit, and the hooks were helpful as well. At my school, a good amount of wall was made with corkboard, so that was great! I always wanted the modular furniture and the loft bed, which a lot of my friends had. Thanks!


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