Dorm Days

Everything you need to kit out your res room

Words + Styling: Modupe Oloruntoba | Photographs: Bevan Davis

Are you packed yet? You’ve been accepted to the university you wanted, you’ve registered for all your compulsory classes, plus that one course you thought might be fun, and now all that’s left to do is move into res before orientation. It'll be a ride – you’ll be independent, you’ll learn more outside of class than you do inside, and you’ll have the time of your life. You’ll also come home each day to a tiny shared room that can feel like a cage, but really doesn’t have to. If you have to sleep and you have to study - and believe me, you have to. Why not make your environment a little more inviting? It’s time to decorate your dorm room.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • The chances that you will get a single room are next to nothing. Get friendly with your new roomie, cross your fingers for someone with good taste and hope that they’re as excited to decorate as you are.

  • Going all in on making it feel like you is great, but remember to go for small, portable and temporary over permanent – this might not be your room next year and you want to be able to take it all with you (not to mention the fact that you may not be allowed to do that much, because schools don’t understand #aesthetic).

  • Don’t think boarding school room. Think mini apartment with basic furnishings. You’ll choose things that will last and save yourself the trouble of a complete overhaul when you do move into your own place.

  • Instead of having you running around town with all manner of contraptions sticking out the window of your brother’s hatchback, get it delivered right to your new address.


It’s just not for streaming series on campus wifi. It’s for expanding your mind, managing your side hustle, and packing your brain full of as much knowledge as possible one day before exams (actually no, don’t be that guy). Create a space that helps you get things done with a tool kit for the kind of learner you are: if you’re all about the visuals, get colourful with sticky notes, bookmarks, pens and a planner. 

Throw in a key ring juice pack, because nothing’s worse than missing out on the squad’s plans because your battery died. If you need a distraction-free zone, pare things down and create a zen break space with some photos from fun times with friends and family, and an adult colouring book for de-stressing during test week.


You're going to be sharing a bathroom with strangers for a long time. Get ahead by defeating the snooze button and showering first, before all the hot water’s used up, and keep your kit together by buying unique items and labelling absolutely everything. An over-the-door mirror and organiser in your room is an easy portable piece to keep everything in so you can grab your things and dash to the bathroom early, and gives you the bonus of a makeshift vanity to get ready in private. Closet hooks can also pull double duty as handy catch-alls in the shower. If you’re lucky enough to get a place with bathtubs, consider keeping some cosy treats like candles around for a relaxing Sunday evening – just check the rules about smoke detectors and such.


You think you’ll always work at your desk, but come winter time your bed is just so much more inviting. Skip the crazy colours and patterns for your covers and go with a simple look that'll create the calm you need to get a good night’s rest and last much longer than your love of neon chevron stripes will. When you’re not studying, hot chocolate, Frank Ocean and your journal in your PJs and under the blankets sounds like heaven. Keep fuzzy slippers nearby to make getting out of bed in the cold a little easier, and remember that reversible linen gives you two looks for the price of one.