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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

How to make a dorm a home: For men

After evaluating the state of some first-year men’s dorm setups, I have compiled a list of suggestions for guys hoping to make their dorms more homey.
Zarrin Zahid
Graphic depicting simple forms of typical men’s dorm decorations. (Hustler Graphics/Zarrin Zahid)

As a first-year, it’s not an uncommon experience to struggle to find ways to make Vanderbilt feel like home. I often find myself missing the comfort of my house and the warmth of my bed at home. Luckily, I’ve found ways to alleviate this longing by creating a familiar setting in my dorm. Although we all seek to create this setting of home, it is much easier said than done. For every person with the most elaborate dorm setup imaginable, another student is staring at the blank walls in their bleak, unfurnished room. No one wants to come home after hours of class to a room decorated like a solitary confinement unit. I’ve observed mostly men suffering from this plight, so I have compiled some ways guys can put together a room they will feel comfortable in. 


Lighting can change the vibe of a room with the flip of a switch. Rooms don’t feel inviting when purely lit by the generic and dull roof lights we get. Two common alternatives are LED strips and lamps. 

Color-changing LEDs are the most versatile way to light up your room because of their ability to accompany a wide variety of room vibes. They are also affordable, with a 100-foot strip (more than most dorms will need) starting at $12 on Amazon. Most of these lights are equipped with an array of color settings to adjust to a certain color scheme or vibe for the room. The only downside of this lighting lies in personal preference — some might find it more stimulating than comforting. 

Where LEDs fall short, lamps excel. While not as versatile, most standing lamps provide warm light that makes any room feel cozy and inviting. At an equally affordable price as LEDs, lamps are a good alternative light source for those looking for a more restful feeling in their room. Both standing house lamps, starting at around $10 at Walmart and desk lamps, selling at similar prices, can add much-needed ambiance to a room in a very subtle fashion. 

Wall decor

Plain beige walls are in no way aesthetically pleasing; yet, I’ve seen many rooms of men at Vanderbilt void of wall decor. The next step to making a homey room is giving them some color. Wall decor gives a room character and, most importantly, lets you introduce your personality into your dorm. The most obvious option for wall decor is posters. Comical or satirical posters help to lighten the room’s mood. Musical or sports posters are also great options for color and personality. Album covers of similar genres and color schemes can come together to liven up an environment. I have particularly admired collections of records on walls accompanied by other music-based artwork or posters that depict a person’s music taste. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!

Furnishing and hygiene

Furnishing is a part of room set-up that I often see overlooked by men at Vanderbilt. First and foremost, clean your sheets regularly! It’s not as daunting as many seem to think, and the feeling of getting in bed with warm, clean sheets is necessary for a homey room. On the topic of bedding, having sheets and a comforter or duvet that fits a color scheme of your choice can help make a dorm a home. Many of the men’s rooms I’ve seen have featured color schemes like grays, blues and whites, but don’t be afraid to spice it up!

Moving on to other furniture, bean bags are also an excellent investment, serving as a means for relaxed studying, napping or simply hanging out for a couple of minutes before class. If there is available space — for those lucky enough to have a corner room, perhaps, a couch or table may be a worthy investment as well. I have seen people set up essentially small conversation pits with couches, chairs and small tables in these larger rooms that transform a dorm into a true living space that can accompany guests. While these items are more expensive than the other ones on my list, you may find them worthwhile for the conversation and relaxation they invite. 

A rug that matches the color scheme of the room is the perfect icing on the cake for your new, homey room. A simple rug that’s 4 feet by 6 feet or 5 feet by 8 feet sells for around $60 dollars at a supermarket.

Other than these main room amenities, countless other choices can be made to create the perfect environment for men looking to spruce up their living space. A monitor with the addition of an Xbox for split-screen multiplayer with friends or a fridge with some communal snacks are some great additions to make a dorm all the more friendly. At the end of the day, everyone has an idea of home, and, with these suggestions, I hope you can make your room the temporary home of your dreams!

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About the Contributor
Zarrin Zahid
Zarrin Zahid, Staff Writer and Graphics Staffer
Zarrin Zahid (‘26) is a student in the College of Arts and Science majoring in law, history and society and minoring in Islamic studies. Besides The Hustler, she enjoys writing stories, cooking and watching bad horror movies unironically. She can be reached at [email protected].
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