Find Comfort with These 15 Little Ways to Make College Feel like Home

Find Comfort with These 15 Little Ways to Make College Feel like Home

No matter how many years you’ve been living on campus, whether you’re a first-semester freshman or a second-semester senior, homesickness happens to everyone. As the school year gets more hectic, and you go longer without a trip home, it’s especially easy to get nostalgic for the days you could plop down on the bed of your childhood bedroom after school every day. Still, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make your dorm, apartment, or campus, in general, feel more familiar. From decking your walls out with photos of friends and family to stocking your kitchen with your favorite snacks from home, there are plenty of little ways to add homey touches to your life at college. We asked CF community members for their tips on how to make college feel like home. We hope to spark some inspiration for ideas that will help you work through the times when you inevitably miss home.

Keep a Small Box with Sentimental Reminders of Home

“I think just bringing a few items from home or items that remind you of your family really helps! They don’t have to be big things, just knick knacks. I have a little box of sentimental things and I know some of my friends have something similar! I use a type of box that my two sisters and I all have, so the box itself is already a sentimental item to me that I wanted to take to school… I have some notes and cards from loved ones, knick-knacks like a glass bluebird my grandma got me that matches one she has in her house, dried flowers that my boyfriend gave me and other little things.” —Maia Rabenold, Indiana University Class of 2019

Join a Cultural Organization for a Familiar Place on Campus

“I am definitely a homebody type of person, so leaving for college had been a hard adjustment. I think the things that helped me were bringing along items that reminded me of home. I am half Cuban, so I swear by my Cafe Cubano each day. I brought my favorite Cuban ground coffee from Miami, where I’m from, and the coffee maker I had used all of my life. I also joined clubs that aligned with my values so I could still talk about the things I would talk about back home. I just recently attended a meeting for a Cuban organization, and it felt amazing to be surrounded by the culture of my family.” —Viviana Moreno, University of Florida Class of 2021

Take the Time to Find Compatible Roommates

“Invest time in finding the right roommates because your roommates can make or break your experience. Also, figure out what you want your dorm or apartment to look like and start planning for it ahead of time. Having a space that you love will make you feel 100 times better.” —Rockie McIntosh, LIM College Class of 2021

Decorate Your Walls with Travel Mementos

“One of the ways I make my apartment bedroom in my college town feel more homey is by putting up postcards and prints I collect from museums and cities that I’ve traveled to on my wall. It’s a fun way to remember the memories from each place and makes my room uniquely me!” —Sunny Khan, University of Florida Class of 2019

Get Familiar with Your College Town

“The best way for me to make college feel like home was to find cute restaurants and shops off campus! I felt way more familiar with the area  when I started to have ‘favorite places’ or a lay of the land.” —Kaelie Phillips, Quinnipiac University Class of 2020

Decorate Your Dorm to Match Your Room at Home

“I decorated my dorm very similarly to my room back home with lots of white and minimalistic décor. I also decorated with the same types of plants that I have back home. The pictures of friends and family also help. I think the thing that makes it most homey though, is the blanket that I always had on my bed at home. It’s always on my bed here at school now!” —Hailey Mae, California State University, Monterey Bay Class of 2022

Keep a Familiar Daily Routine from When You Lived at Home

“I’ve found that to make college feel like home, you have to keep a similar routine as to when you lived there. Creating a homey space to live in is important, but you don’t truly feel that sense of comfort unless your daily actions reflect how they always have been while living at home. It might be weird to think about it this way, but I’ve noticed that in college things can be overwhelming and I start to feel lost. I only feel at ease whenever I take time out of the day to incorporate things I enjoyed doing at home. I always went to my mom for every little thing, and though I can’t go down the hall to see her now, a phone call still does the job. Same goes for hometown friends—we can’t hang out as much as we used to, but our active group message makes it feel like nothing has changed…There’s a lot of pressure in college to get super involved and become a new person. But it’s always good to stay true to your roots and make time for the things that make you feel like you’ve never left home.” —Ashley Krause, Saint Vincent College Class of 2020

Snag an Item from Your Parents’ Wardrobe to Bring to School

“I brought personal items from home, especially my dad’s old shirts, which are great for sleeping in and makes my dorm a little more homey!” —Morgan Flynn, Michigan State Class of 2022

Find a Cozy Spot on Campus

“I think finding your spot on campus where you feel at peace is super important. We are surrounded by strangers and roommates constantly, so finding a place where you can relax and take a breath will make you feel at peace and more at home. Because ultimately, this strange new place is your new home. If you’re anything like me—I lived with two other roommates, all four feet away from me—I was constantly craving some alone time. This is when I would go to my spot and relax. I really like this cozy spot I found in a courtyard or even a seat deep in the stacks of the library so I can just be alone.” —Claire Danicich, University of San Diego Class of 2020

Bring a Few Little Things from Your Room at Home

“I like to bring one piece of décor that I had in my room at home. So one year I brought a tapestry of an art print I have hanging in my home bedroom. This year I brought a throw pillow I had on my bed at home. It’s nice to have some familiar pieces rather than decorating your dorm with all new things!” —Sarah Singer, Quinnipiac University Class of 2020

Choose a Bright, Mood-Boosting Color Scheme for Your Room

“I made sure that my room’s color scheme was bright and fun. That way if I’m feeling down, my room won’t look so dark and depressing and make my mood worse. I also have my walls and desk covered in pictures of my friends and family.” —Savanna Scarbrough, University of Tennessee Class of 2021

Bring Photographs to Remind You of Home When You’re Studying Abroad

“I’m currently studying abroad on the other side of the world from my home. Due to limited suitcase space and the fact I am only here for three months, I couldn’t really bring anything to make it feel like home. What I learned helps with culture shock and homesickness is just to bring even a few printed photos and polaroids that don’t take up a lot of room. Also, find a couple of non-pricey things there to make your room feel somewhat familiar and cozy.” —Paloma Llanes, Savannah College of Art and Design Class of 2021

Incorporate Your Personal Style Into Your Dorm Room

Incorporating your style to making your dorm feel like home is so important. After a long day of classes, you want to go back to a room that’s tailored and designed for you. It gives you somewhere that you can truly collect yourself. Posters, blankets, diffusers, and an appealing color scheme really helps.” —Chris Kenney, University of Massachusetts, Amherst Class of 2021

Showcase a Sentimental Keepsake on Your Desk

“I went to high school in Singapore, but I go to school in NYC, which is pretty far away! I pinned the boarding pass of the flight I took from Singapore to New York to the board on my desk, so whenever I look up from doing work, I get a nice reminder of home.” —Kristi Yang, The New School Class of 2022

Make an Inspiration Board to Keep You Motivated

“I’m taking a gap year right now, but for my first two years of college I made my dorm feel like home by hanging an inspiration board over my desk to remind me of my goals and what I am there for. It keeps you motivated during those long study days! I also have things in the room that comfort me.” —Naydeline Mejia, University of Vermont Class of 2020

What are some little ways you make college feel like home? Let us know in the comments below!

Opening image by Kerri Bamsch.