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