Top 10 BACK TO SCHOOL Dorm Room Decor HACKs | ANN LE
How to Create Privacy in a College Dorm
College can be a fun, exciting experience, but when you're living in a small dorm room, it can take some time to get used to living with roommates. Sharing a room with people who you might not know very well doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice your privacy, though. If you're honest with your roommates and make a few changes to the room, you can still have private time when you need it.
Dealing with Your Roommates
Set boundaries with your roommates.If you want privacy in a room that you share with others, you have to establish ground rules so everyone knows what to expect. For example, you might discuss what the policy for having visitors in the room is with your roommates and whether overnight guests are acceptable. It’s also a good idea to discuss whether you can borrow each other things, such as clothing and computers.
- Be honest with your roommates about the type of privacy that you need to be comfortable, and be sure to listen to the boundaries that your roommates require. Everyone should feel at home in the room.
- If you’ve just met your roommates, it may be hard to bring up the topic of privacy and room boundaries with them. You might say, “I’m excited to live with you and get to know you, but my privacy is very important to me. Do you think we could talk about how we’re going to handle that in the room?”
- When it comes to having overnight visitors in the room, you and your roommates might agree that they’re allowed as long as you inform each other ahead of time.
- If you are willing to allow each other to borrow items from one another, it’s usually best to agree that you must get permission first.
Exchange schedules.If you want to have private time in your dorm room, it helps to discuss each other's schedules with your roommates. You’ll want to know when they’ll be at class or work, and they’ll probably want to known the same about you. That way, if you need some time alone, you’ll know when the room will be free.
- If you and your roommates are usually out of the room at the same time for classes, work, and other activities, you may want to create a schedule that allows you each to have some alone time in the room each week. For example, you might agree to go to the library for a couple of hours on Monday evenings so your roommate gets the room, while they agree to head to the gym for a workout on Wednesday nights so you can have some alone time.
- You may also want to discuss whether you and your roommates tend to stay up late or wake up early so you can be respectful of one another’s schedule.
Protect your belongings.Hopefully, you’ll be able to trust your roommates so you don’t have to worry about your things. But if you’ve only just met them, you may not be sure that they’ll respect your privacy. That’s why you should make sure to enable passwords on your phone, computer, tablet, and any other electronic devices that you keep in the room. If you have other items, such as clothing, jewelry, or books, that you don’t want them to have access to either, you may want to invest in a trunk or footlocker that you can lock.
Dividing the Room
Arrange the room for privacy.While dorm rooms usually aren’t very large, there are ways to arrange the furniture so you and your roommates each have some privacy. If you’re sharing the room with only one roommate, you can each take a side of the room to set up your space. If you’re sharing the room with three or four roommates, you can each take a corner of the room for your furniture.
- In a two-person dorm room, you might use the room’s furniture to divide the space. Place the dressers, closets, or bookcases side by side in the center of the room, with yours facing your side of the room and your roommate’s facing theirs. That will create a barrier that gives you each a little more privacy.
- Check to see if your school will loft your bed for you. By lofting your bed, you can create a space beneath that you can put your desk or create a seating area where you’ll have a little more privacy.
- In a two person dorm room, having one person loft their bed and place their desk beneath it, and the other leave their bed on the floor, with their desk overlooking it, allows you to keep different sleeping and studying schedules without disturbing one another.
Set up a folding screen.When you may want a little more privacy than your dorm room’s layout allows, a folding screen is an ideal solution. You simply place it in front of your side of the room to give yourself some private time. Because it folds up, though, you don’t have to leave it out all the time, so you can still be social with your roommates when you’re in the mood.
- A folding screen works especially well if you’ve lofted your bed and created a study or sitting area beneath it. Open the screen in front of the area, and it’s almost as if you have your own private room.
- You can find folding screens or room dividers at stores such as Target or Walmart. If you’re on a budget, you can even make your own with old shutters and hinges.
Hang curtains.Fabric can also work well as a room divider when you want privacy from your roommate(s). Most colleges won’t allow you to screw or bolt curtain rods and cables into the ceiling, though, so you should opt for a lightweight material for the curtains, such as cotton voile, organdy, or cotton gauze, that you can attach to the ceiling with easy to remove push pins.
- You can hang the fabric panels in the center of the room to completely divide the room, or just in certain areas, such as in front of the area under your lofted bed.
- If you want to be able to open and close the fabric divider, use curtain tiebacks to gather the panels back when you open up the room.
Getting Privacy with Accessories
Open a pop-up tent.If you want privacy from time to time, a pop-up tent is great option for your dorm room. Unlike traditional camping tents that require stakes to assemble, these tents stand on their own so you can put it up anywhere in your room. When you want some private time, you only have to climb inside. The rest of the time, you can choose to leave the tent assembled - or take it down, fold it up, and stash it under your bed.
- Some pop-up tents are designed to fit around a bed, so you can privacy when you’re sleeping or just sitting on your bed reading. Other pop-up tents are placed on the floor, so you can have private space anywhere in your dorm room.
- The tents usually have zip-out windows that you can open when you feel like being more social or just need some air.
Use a sleep mask.If you and your roommates aren’t on the same schedule, a sleep mask is a must. These masks block out the light, so if your roommates are staying up to study or write a paper, you won't be disturbed. It’ll also help you sleep during the day if you’ve had to pull an all-nighter. By being able to sleep more flexible hours, you may be able to find a little more private time in the room too.
- Sleep masks come in a variety of materials, such as cotton and silk. Try some different options to see what’s most comfortable for you.
- Some masks are infused with aromatherapy scents that can actually encourage sleep. If you have trouble sleeping while your roommate is working, it may help you fall asleep.
- As a friendly gesture, you might want to purchase a sleep mask for your roommate so they can sleep around your schedule, too.
Wear noise-cancelling headphones.If you don’t want to listen to your roommate’s phone conversation or fights with their significant other, noise-cancelling headphones are the best way to give them so privacy. You can wear these headphones whenever you want to study or do work for class and not have to worry about being distracted by whatever your roommate is doing.
- Noise-isolating and noise-cancelling headphones are not the same. Noise-isolating headphone physically block out noise by creating a tight seal between your ear and the headphone to minimize the amount of noise that you hear. Noise-cancelling headphones may use a seal to help block noise, but they also electronically cancel out ambient sounds for more effective noise-blocking.
- It’s a good idea to try on the headphones that you’re considering, if possible. You want to make sure that they’ll be comfortable when you wear them.
- It’s a good idea to talk to your roommates before you hang curtains, set up a screen, or construct a tent so they know that you’re going to do it. That way, you don’t have to worry about them being offended.
- If you want your roommates to respect your privacy, you have to respect theirs. Don’t go snooping in their belongings or using their things without permission.
- If you feel like your privacy isn’t being respected in your dorm room, talk to your R.A., the housing office, or some other school administration department. You should always feel comfortable and safe in your room.
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