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When it comes to dorm stuff, you are ready to go. You can’t wait to live in a new environment, make it your own, and throw cool dorm parties. It doesn’t get more #college than that. But what happens when you arrive and your dorm is way more awk and bland than you expected? We’ve got some tips to make your dorm feel like an oasis that totally reflects your personal style.

1. Rearrange the furniture

When you first arrive to your new digs, you may be shocked at how small your room actually is. Have no fear! Try moving your furniture into different places to create space. All dorm rooms are different, so you may have to do a bit of experimenting. (One sure way to make more room: push your bed together with your roommate’s to make an “L” shape).

2. Loft your bed

Lofting your bed is one way to ensure tons of space for storage and hanging with friends. Typically, you have to request a lofted bed before move in day. Make sure you are up to speed on the options your college offers when it comes to this specific service. Before you jump at this opportunity, consider any fear of heights, restless sleep habits, and intentions for cleaning your sheets. (Making your bed will provide its own set of challenges).

3. Embrace awkward areas

You may reside in a dorm room with a strange shape or ceiling. Instead of avoiding these inelegant areas, welcome them as an opportunity to exercise creativity and decorate in a unique way. Hang string lights or clip your favorite photos to reinvent the peculiar section as your own. Turn that seemingly irrelevant nook by your window into a new home for some small plants or transform it into a bookshelf for your favorite reads. The possibilities are endless!

4. Choose a color palette

If you have a roommate, agree upon a color palette so that the room you share will have a sense of cohesion. It’s okay if you have different styles, uniting in color will give you guys some common ground to design an environment where you both feel at home and relaxed.

5. Go for dual purpose items

Balance practicality and frivolity by investing in items that serve double duties. A classic example: the trendy ottoman that works as both a seat and a place for storage. (Pretty much anything that can work as storage is the way to go).

6. Stay organized

When occupying a small space, it’s essential to your sanity to keep things organized. When you return from classes, you want to have a place where you can unwind and feel at ease. By keeping your dorm clean and tidy, you will stress less, improve your sleep habits, and gain more energy to do other things. (Seriously, there are studies about this. You can’t make this stuff up).

7. Make an inspiration board

An inspiration/vision board serves as a visual representation of your values and overall life goals! Choose a collection of words, phrases, and pictures that keep you feeling encouraged and motivated. Keep it in a place where you see it everyday; that way, you are consistently reminded of your aspirations.

8. Cover up bare walls

Many colleges have poster sales on campus during the first few weeks of school. Tapestries also work as an ideal way to add some pizazz to the walls of your dorm. (Plus, they are super easy to fold up and travel when it comes time to move out!) Even creating designs with washi tape or making collages of your favorite photographs work as affordable ways to give your dorm room extra oomph.

9. Contact older students for hand-me-downs

Check out older students’ social pages to see if anyone is giving away or selling dorm essentials. This is a cheap and easy way to acquire things that may not be in your budget. (Think: mini fridges, microwaves, rugs, lamps, televisions, vacuums, kitchen gizmos, and so on). Another way to save money is to take advantage of your student discounts!

10. Conceal clutter

If your closet doesn’t have a door, hang a sheet or a charming shower curtain to conceal the clutter of your closet. By keeping your clutter hidden, the overall neatness of your room will improve and make it a more appealing place to spend time.

When it comes to the limited, shared quarters of a cramped dorm room, there are tons of opportunities to invent an environment perfect for studying or hanging out with friends. You will remember your dorm fondly as a place of transition and growth, and though it may not turn out like the ads you see in a Pottery Barn catalog, it will be your home.