Freshman Guide to Transforming a Dorm!

In August, the end is just the beginning – of the school year, of course! This is a huge milestone for first-year college students and their parents. Like anything new, it’s a little scary, especially for students living on campus. How can this tiny, strange, shared room become home for the next four years (or maybe more)?

Whether you’re an overwhelmed freshman or a parent who doesn’t quite trust your new scholar’s decorative taste, we’re here to help! Here are some cool, creative tips to transform any dorm.

Get Comfortable

Dorms in their primal state aren’t exactly welcoming. Cinder block walls and hard floors can feel more like jail than a learning environment. But a cozy rug, some colorful bedding, and photos of loved ones from home can warm up the room and ease initial homesickness. While the college may not allow you to drill holes or paint over that horrible gray, there are plenty of ways to bring life to the walls, too. PhotoSquares are a great solution! Double-sided adhesives stick them to virtually any surface, so there’s no need to deface the dorm and lose that security deposit. PhotoSquares are also a classy option – they allow students to be creative while giving parents more peace of mind than a big beer poster.

Lighten Up

A dorm shouldn’t be a dungeon, and a student shouldn’t be a vampire. A well-lit room doesn’t just look better – it’s important to mental health! An extra lamp can shed some light, but it’s still no substitute for sunshine. Most dorms only come with blackout shades, so try some tension rod curtains to offer privacy while still letting in that essential Vitamin D. It also helps to keep wall decorations small: bulky posters and fixtures can clutter a room and stifle the sun. If you or your student still comes home for break looking a little pale, a mirror can do the trick to reflect sunlight in every corner of the room.


A quarter of all college students experience roommate trouble, especially as freshmen. No one wants to make or receive that phone call begging to come home – luckily, more often than not, the conflict is avoidable. Roommates can get a jump on this problem by working together to decorate, creating a space both are happy with. This is a perfect way to learn about someone new, from their boundaries and expectations to their style and life stories. A conversation about photos or décor could be the start of a beautiful friendship! Try to coordinate decorating some common spaces within the room with something like a photo wall that mixes both roommates’ tastes.


While it’s great to compromise with roommates, it’s just as important for residents to make their space their own. Decorating is a chance to establish an identity, and options like PhotoSquares let students bring a piece of their lives anywhere they go: their favorite locations, their beloved pets, or even that impossibly great concert photo they snagged from lawn seating. When your interests are plain to see, it’s easy to connect with like-minded people and discover the real cure to homesickness – making plenty of friends!

College is a wonderful time to learn and grow! These simple tips can help any student settle in with confidence and style.

We know that with personal growth often comes a change in taste, and it doesn’t always happen over summer break. That’s why PhotoSquared is mobile and ready to ship anywhere for free! We’re here for students to change up their dorms as fast as they can update Instagram.

Download the app now to design a PhotoSquare for your college journey, or purchase a Gift Code for your favorite student to start the dorm of their dreams!