It has been quite a while since I was a full-time student, but every now and then—especially this time of year—I look back on my university days with such nostalgia that I’m tempted to go back to pursue another degree. Then I remember the gruelling study sessions, the sleepless nights writing papers, and the fact that I am no longer in my twenties, and I think twice.

That said, those post-secondary days were some of the best of my life, and while I didn’t live on campus as a student, I certainly spent a lot of time with friends who did. Add to that the fact that I now have an office space in a small apartment in the city, and I know a little something about how you can maximize space with unique furniture. So if you’re living on campus in the fall, here are some ideas for optimizing your space.


Choose a desk with storage

No two dorm rooms are the same. Many come pre-furnished with a desk, bed, and armoire, but if yours doesn’t, or if you are able to replace some furniture, do yourself a favour and find a desk that has at least a couple of drawers like this one from Status Sidney.

In a small space you’ll need to have as many drawers as possible to stow away all your studying necessities, such as pens, paper, highlighters and notebooks. And if you’re female, you can even use one of those drawers to stash all your makeup and hair accessories.

Floating shelves are your friends

As a student in a room with minimal storage, floating shelves are exactly what you need to keep text books, novels, pictures of friends and family, and even your accessories organized.

By mounting shelves like these from Danya B. above your desk, you will be able to keep everything organized and orderly. Add some storage boxes and you can keep everything from winter accessories, to cosmetics, to electronic cables and cords out of sight and out of mind.

You need a good chair

Colourful dorm room chairNo dorm room, home office, or study space is complete without a comfortable chair. However, that chair doesn’t need to be the standard black we are all used to seeing.

Staying true to the title of this post, this Milbrook Mesh Task Chair doesn’t just provide comfort and adjustable height and back settings, but it comes in teal, navy blue, and purple as well as charcoal. A task chair might be something you don’t think much about, but it is a piece of furniture that, outside of your bed, you’ll likely spend the most time in as a student.

Filing cabinets equal more storage

Colourful filing cabinetYou might think that filing cabinets are dated and perhaps not the most visually appealing pieces of furniture for your dorm room. However, they certainly serve a purpose. In my tiny nook of a home office, I have two filing cabinets that store everything from my tax filings from the past seven years, to my elementary school projects to my university papers.Yet, all you see is a desk and a couple of matching cabinets.

As a university student living in a dorm room, you will want as much storage as you can possibly get, which is why filing cabinets–especially those with drawers–are a must. And thankfully, you don’t need to go with the standard grey metal cabinets that many of us associate with our parents and grandparents (sorry mom).

No, you can keep all your papers, notes, and stationery organized and within easy reach with a colourful filing cabinet from OSP designs. Depending on your aesthetic, you can choose from pink, blue, green, or purple, and know that whichever you choose, it will keep your valuables safe with its keyed lower drawer when you are in class, or out on the town.

Extra seating is essential in a dorm room

colourful dorm futonIf you are living in a dorm room on campus as a student, you will no doubt have friends come over to visit. Whether those visits are of the study group variety or the pre-party variety, extra seating is a must. However, in a small space it’s not like you can have large chairs available for anyone who pops by. Instead, opt for smaller options like this square bench from Antonio. You can have one or two of these available for those friends who pop by, and when not in use, use hooks on your wall to keep them out of the way.

If you’re lucky enough to have a little more space than the average dorm room, consider adding a multi-purpose piece like this couch/futon from Ariana. Not only is it a fresh pop of colour for any dorm room, but it functions as both a sofa and a futon for those friends like me who didn’t ever live on campus but always needed a place to crash.


Collage frame those important moments

frame dorm room memoriesWhether you’re back in your dorm room for your senior year, or you’re entering into brand new territory, being away from home can be hard. That’s where picture frames come into the mix. As a student living in a dorm, you will have limited wall space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t frame your favourite photos of your favourite people.

Collage frames like this one from nexxt are ideal because they allow you to frame a number of photos within one frame. And you can always swap those pictures out for new ones throughout the year.

There is no such thing as too many storage baskets

Baskets for dorm room storageI mentioned it above, and I’ll say it again … when you are living in a small space, there is no such thing as too many storage baskets. Whether you keep them under your bed, in your armoire, or on your wall shelves, they are ideal for keeping everything you own organized and out of sight.

Use them to stash your winter clothes under your bed, your hair tools and accessories on a shelf, and even last semester’s books and papers out of sight. There really is no end to the uses of storage baskets like these from South Shore Furniture.

As a student, dorm living can be a whole lot of fun. However, with limited space, you will need a few key pieces of furniture to keep your space organized and a representation of your personality. Look for pieces of furniture with multiple uses and storage capacity so you can keep all your belongings organized and out of sight. Outside of that, make the most out of your time on campus!

Check out all of the furniture you can use to set up your dorm on Best Buy right now.

Main image from Summer of Shred  


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