Find a way around the rules of dorm decor

For students who are living on campus, one of the many things to look forward to is turning the cookie-cutter dorm room into their home away from home. But the university sets rules when it comes to decorating, and the rules present challenges.

Jasmina Alston and Alex Webb found their way around the rules, all while making their spaces one-of-a-kind.

Rule #1: No Halogen Lamps or Cords

Alston, a Loft resident, keeps her room calm and comfortable. She wanted minimal lighting. Without using candles, Alston created a dim look in her room through red lamp heads and blackout curtains.

Rule #2: Nothing Can be Hung from the Ceiling

Another problem Alston had with the dorm rules was that students are not allowed to hang anything from the ceiling.

“I was an RA so I understand the reasoning behind a lot of rules,” said Alston’s dorm mate, Alex Webb. “If there’s a fire, [hanging items from the ceiling] will make the fire speed up, and sometimes sprinklers will go off because there’s something hanging from it.”

This may be a barrier for some students, but there are other ways to add a personal touch to your dorm.

Candra Umunna | The Signal
Student Alex Webb places a poster up on her walls in her dorm room by safely using painter’s tape.

“From my last study abroad trip, I brought back evil eyes that I hung up around my room,” Webb said. “They add a nice touch of decoration and it’s always nice to keep the evil away from your room because that’s where you are all the time.”

Rule #3: Don’t Paint the Walls

Although the walls cannot be painted, students are allowed to hang decorations and pictures as long as they do not make marks on the walls.

“When I tape things up and pull them down, the paint is really cheap so there are holes in the wall, even though I used tape,” said Webb, “That’s annoying because I don’t want to get charged for that.”


Search for easy to remove, double-sided adhesives to use when hanging up posters, pictures or whatever else you have for decorating.

To create a more colorful background to their rooms, students can also collect paint swatches from home improvement stores and tack them onto the walls for a splash of color.

Organize your space: there are plenty of cheap and clever organization pieces that they themselves can add to the vibe of your room