6 Dorm-Friendly Alternatives to Things Your Campus Housing Has Banned

Necessary reading if you're going to live on campus

6 Dorm-Friendly Alternatives to Things Your Campus Housing Has Banned


When it comes to decorating your dorm, you might have some gorgeous ideas in mind. Unfortunately, your Pinterest-worthy dream room might break the campus housing rules.

Awesomeness continues after advertisement

Many dorms have strict regulations about what you can and can’t have in campus housing. Here are some common items on the banned list — and ~creative~ alternatives.

Banned: Candles

Awesomeness continues after advertisement


Alternative: Candle Warmer

Many dorms don’t allow burning candles for obvious reasons (you know, fire). A good work-around is a candle warmer, which melts the wax and fills your dorm with the smell of your candle of choice.

Banned: Cinder Blocks and Homemade Lofts

Dorm-Friendly Alternatives to Things Your Campus Housing Has Banned - cinder blocks

Source: Pinterest

Alternative: Bed Risers 

Cinder blocks are the old-school way to lift a dorm bed, but many schools have banned them. Instead, invest in a set of bed risers. They’re a safer (and generally legal) alternative.

Banned: Pets 


A post shared by Cherly Liu (@cherlyliu) on

Alternative: Fish 

Most dorms will allow a fish — as long as you keep it in a small tank (10 gallons or less).

Banned: Wall Paint

Alternative: Tapestry 

If you want to add some color to your boring white walls, but don’t want to paper your walls in posters, consider hanging a tapestry. It will give your room a truly unique vibe.

Banned: Halogen Lamps

Alternative: String Lights

Halogen lamps can be dangerous in a dorm — they get very hot and are at a higher risk of exploding than other lights. A good (and cute) alternative if you need some extra light in your room is string lights (the kind you see everywhere at the holidays).

Banned: Extension Cords

Alternative: Power Strip

While tangled extension cords can be a fire hazard or potentially short out power to your entire building, power strips with surge protectors are a safe way to get extra outlets when you need them (which you will).

Banned: Nails and Thumbtacks 

Alternative: Command Hooks and Putty

Nails and thumbtacks can leave the walls of your dorm room riddled with holes — which could mean you’ll owe your housing department money at the end of the year (yuck).

A wall-friendly alternative is command hooks, which you can use to hang things (as in the picture below). Or use wall putty, which can be used to hang things like posters. These will hold tight when you need them to, and come off easily at the end of the year.

How to hide #commandhooks lol #ellasroom #dollartreefinds #rose #adventureawaits

A post shared by Julia (@julia7590) on

Kayleigh Roberts
Kayleigh Roberts

Kayleigh Roberts is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She really identifies with Leslie Knope, especially on the issue of salad. http://www.kayleighroberts.com [twitter:kayleighroberts]