DIY projects to brighten up your dorm room

A 30 kHz bright light therapy lamp (Innosol Rondo) used to treat seasonal affective disorder. (User: Mysid)

A 30 kHz bright light therapy lamp (Innosol Rondo) used to treat seasonal affective disorder. (User: Mysid)

It’s almost winter, and as we’re losing sunlight, Seasonal Affective Disorder may be hitting you or your peers in full force. While people who suffer from S. A. D. need professional help, and you can find some tips about identifying your symptoms in the recent Cengage Brain article by Lorraine Savage, “How to get over the winter blues: Seasonal affective disorder treatment,” there are some ways to brighten up your dorm room that only require a do-it-yourself attitude. Take a look at some of these DIY projects and see how you can improve your outlook as the sun hides itself for the winter months.

Light colors

You can’t paint your dorm room’s walls, but you can fill it with light colors. Choose bedding that’s bright and light – if white is too austere, go with pale colors like yellow, pink and light blue or green. And if you were planning to put up those black and white gothic photographs with their dark shades and gloomy atmosphere, you might want to skip those in favor of something bright and light. Your decorations should reflect your style, but you want to make sure they reflect the sunnier aspects of your personality if you’re trying to hold off a darker attitude.

If you’re looking to personalize your walls even more than with posters, consider finding out if your dorm would permit you to post temporary wallpaper or removable decals. Alternately, stick up photos or a world map that shows the places you’ve traveled to using Washi tape. In fact, you can use Washi tape on your furniture, too. “Like painter’s tape, it removes without residue, meaning it’s perfect for temporarily decorating lackluster dorm furniture,” advised Gabby Noone in BuzzFeed’s “26 cheap and easy ways to have the best dorm room ever.

And if you have done world traveling, hang up souvenirs from your travels, especially those from warm, sunny locales. It’s even better if you picked up a lamp or mirror somewhere along the way, as those are decorations sure to help brighten your room.

Invite spring in

So what if there are no plants and leaves outside your window? Add a little green to your room by having a potted plant on your desk. “Nothing brightens up a dorm room — or any home, for that matter — like something that grows,” wrote Sophie Leon and Daley Quinn in The Frisky post, “30 dorm room decorating tips.” “Even if you don’t have a green thumb, a cactus garden on your windowsill will be near impossible to kill and requires little water or care.”

What are some good, easy plants to grow inside? Try these:

  • Mint is a great herb to grow, smells fantastic, and doubles as a stress reliever. Chewing mint can help calm your nerves.
  • Lavender and African violets have a great smell, and the violets actually help clear pollutants out of the air.
  • Want something that doesn’t require much watering or sunlight? Try aloe vera, which grows fairly independently and also has the benefit of feeling great on your skin if you get a winter sunburn.
  • For something with a vine, try out pothos, or devil’s ivy, and use that Washi tape to tack up the vines as they crawl around your room.

Light therapy

As Savage noted in her article, “A common treatment for S.A.D. is light therapy from a light box. The light box mimics outdoor sunlight to trick your brain chemicals into believing it’s daylight.” Light boxes or light therapy lamps, like the one in the photo for this article, can be expensive.

If you are just feeling the winter blues rather than suffering from Seasonal affective disorder, you can look into getting a full spectrum light for your room. While they can still be pricey, you can find them in the $20 to $50 range with some careful online shopping, or a visit to your local superstore. Look for keywords like “full spectrum” and “sunlight” in the description, and keep your receipt in case it doesn’t do the trick.

Better still, keep your blinds open. “Natural light is one of the best things to have in your dorm room because it can brighten up the space instantly,” wrote Kelly Marcos in All Women Stalk article, “7 ways to brighten up your dorm room.” Marcos continued, “Let the sun wake you up in the morning, use the light to warm up your room a bit, and be able to look outside and see how nice it is.”

What other tips do you have for brightening up your dorm room in the dark days of fall and winter? Tell us in the comments.

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