Great Ideas for Sharing Dorm Room Space

Bunk beds in a dorm room.

Personal space can be a huge issue among students sharing a dorm room. More often than not, there is simply too much "stuff" in the room, limited amounts of privacy, and a lack of personal style for the students sharing the room. Co-existing peacefully and happily for nine months out of the year in a dorm room is possible; however, it requires some attention to detail and persistent organizational skills.

Bunk Beds

Depending on the tastes of the students sharing the dorm room, bunk beds can be a great option that frees up a lot of floor space. (Keep in mind, however, that most dorms are pre-equipped with two twin size beds, so buying your own bed may or may not be an option – and it will be a considerable investment.) If one person isn't fond of the idea of a bunk bed because of its twin size, consider opting for a bunk bed that has a full bed on the bottom and a twin bed on top. There are also bunk beds that let out futon-style on the bottom to give more mattress space, and then fold up easily during the day to add floor space. Either way, this will still maximize the space because two individual beds won’t take up separate areas within the dorm room.

Distinct Zones and Room Dividers

Some roommates find a happy medium by drawing invisible, agreed-upon lines in the room that divide the dorm room into three distinct zones. Each roommate has one zone of the room that is entirely their own, to do with whatever they wish, and then a third zone is 'community property' that is shared by both roommates. If you opt for two single beds for the dorm room, then room dividers can help to add an air of privacy to each person's section. Folding screens can be used as room dividers. Two room dividers can separate the community zone from the zones that contain each roommate's sleeping area.

Agreeing on Colors

When sharing a dorm room, it can be difficult to come to an agreement on the color scheme. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the mindset that all colors must coordinate with each other. This allows for each roommate to add personal style to their section of the room. Individual color choices and style choices can be expressed through bedding, pillows, throws, drapes, curtains, throw rugs, and wall art.


Students tend to bring a ton of stuff to their door room and accumulate even more as the semester wears on. Some dorm rooms will have an individual closet for each student while others will have one closet for each roommate to share. Back of the door organizers are perfect for dorm rooms, and you will find them handy on the back of a closet door for hanging shoes, or the back of the bathroom door for storing toiletries and other small items. Toiletries can also be stowed in a caddy or bucket; this is especially true if you don't have your own bathroom and must travel back and forth to a shared bathroom down the hall. Storage totes that stack up in the closet floor are also ideal – and remember, leave as much stuff at home as possible. If you don't really need it, don't bring it.