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Monday, June 10, 2024

Decorating your room can be a form of self-expression

You should turn your college living situation into your own personal sanctuary


By YASMEEN O’BRIEN — yjobrien@ucdavis.edu


As college students, our rooms are pretty temporary. We likely won’t live in these dorms, apartments or houses for more than a few years. For this reason, decorating your room may seem like a tedious, unnecessary way to spend your time. But these places become time capsules of who we were at the time that we lived in them. What you choose to adorn your walls with, place around your room or sleep on is an expression of who you are. 

Decorating your room may not seem like a grand declaration of your identity, but I think it’s a way to show ourselves care by appealing to our authentic selves. Just as mama birds spend time making their nests comfortable for their babies, we should do the same for our rooms.

In my experience, putting some effort into your room to make it a space that you enjoy can really increase your sense of home and belonging, as well as boost your productivity and act as a therapeutic form of self-care. It doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money or hours and hours decorating every square inch of your room — although it can.

I used to have a housemate who had one poster, a couple of photos and all gray bedding in her room. While this was pretty far from how I chose to decorate my room (I am something of a maximalist), I could see that it worked perfectly for her. It gave her the calming atmosphere she needed to get away from the rest of the world and focus on her work.

We spend a lot of time in our rooms. You’re in your room pretty much every day, whether you spend hours doing school work at your desk or mostly just come back to crash. Your room is supposed to be your safe space — a space where you can let your guard down, shed your armor and just be yourself. It should feel comfortable and should feel like you. 

Not only that, but it is also a pretty unfiltered form of self-expression since the only other people going into there are people you invite, making it more intimate and vulnerable. You are choosing to share a part of yourself with them. And even for those who share a room — like me — decorating your side, wall or corner is still a form of self-expression.

I love looking at people’s rooms because it’s such a nice slice of their personality. What people choose to put on their walls often allows me to learn more about them. I can see what’s important to them, who they love, their hobbies, their style and more. Sometimes it can even be inspiring for my own space.

We don’t get a lot of places just for ourselves, so why not turn your space into a sanctuary? Make it yours. Go out and choose a piece of furniture, art or tchotchke that speaks to you. It will feel good to come home to a place that feels like you belong there. 


Written by: Yasmeen O’Brien — yjobrien@ucdavis.edu

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.