Interior design and NSO do not go hand–in–hand. Last week, I found every excuse to delay unpacking, sleeping between piles of cardboard boxes to avoid the hated task of sorting the junk of semesters past. In the name of “New semester, new me,” I decided to ditch my formerly haphazard decor and strive for something my personal muse, Bobby Berk of Queer Eye, would approve. 

Whether you just moved into a spacious Radian apartment or to a two–person closet in the Quad, chances are your place could use a makeover. Upgrading your place does not have to be expensive. Small design touches can transform your grim concrete box into a stunning home fit for an "adult." Here are some tips to help guide your last minute Amazon orders, and get your place in shape as you rush through the first week of classes. 

The Bedroom

Matching Sheets

Ditch your colored, patterned, torn, and stained sheets of old. Invest in a crisp white sheet set ($20-$50), preferably 100% cotton for a smooth, aesthetically pleasing night’s sleep. The same goes for your duvet cover — pick something neutral and not too busy to match your new sheets. 

Bedside Lamp

Unless you consistently overnight in Van Pelt (RIP Huntsman), the overhead light should not be the only source of illumination in your room. Having a lamp ($30-$80) nearby will allow you to conveniently turn off the lights while never leaving your bed.

Full Length Mirror

Get one ($20-$40). Check yourself out head–to–toe. 

Kitchen and Bathroom

Complete Towel Set

Like sheets, a matching set of bath towels and hand towels ($25) indicate you have your life together. Get a dark color like navy to hide stains. 

Soap Dispenser

Buy your hand soap in bulk and use a refillable dispenser ($15). You’ll save $$ and look adult AF.

Cooking Supplies 

Get the kitchen basics ($50): pot, frying pan, sheet pan, knife, spatula, cutting board, Tupperware so you can engage in the adult activity of meal prep. You can learn to cook later.

Trash Cans with Lids

Trash cans with lids ($30) are especially essential for the bathroom and kitchen. They trap odor and hide mess unlike lidless models. Pro tip: the bigger the can, the fewer trips to the trash chute.

Wall Art

With wall decoration, adopt a “less is more” approach.  If you’re living off campus this semester, take the time to reevaluate your decor situation. Nothing screams college dorm like string lights, a mandala tapestry and posters with inspirational quotes. Not that it’s terrible look, but maybe not one you want to hang over your head for all four years. Make your own DIY decor or scout out interesting and affordable prints on Society6 and Etsy. Chose a few statement pieces for your bedroom and living room, then use command strips to hang them up. 

Empty alcohol bottles do not constitute decoration. Kindly dispose of those grimey handles ASAP. 

The Small Touches


They're cute, environmentally–friendly, and prove you can take care of a living thing. Succulents and cacti are the easiest to care for. Grab one at the Wednesday farmer's market on campus.


While banned in dorm rooms, if you're allowed to have them, whip these bad boys out for light ambiance and a soft, sophisticated glow. Doesn't hurt to place a scented one in your bathroom, either.