The preparation for getting teenagers ready to start college is full of lists: what to bring (and what not to bring) if they’re living on campus, what courses to choose from, what books to purchase. But being emotionally ready for the change is a box that’s hard to check off ahead of time. How do you support new college students in feeling comfortable and content, right from the very beginning during this new chapter in their lives?
Cue IKEA, the place to find decor and furnishings that can have a big impact on any college student’s room. We’ve gathered a handful of the most meaningful ways to make their small space feel more homey, even if their fresh start is taking place while living at home. Because when it comes to helping them settle in and maintain a calm and relaxing atmosphere, the details make all the difference.
Personalize their space with artwork and photos
A quick and easy way to bring a bit of home into any space is through artwork, wall hangings, and photos of family and friends. The familiar faces won’t replace the real thing, of course, but hanging up inspiring images and memories of happy moments in a set of LERBODA frames is guaranteed to lift anyone’s spirit—and look great on any wall.
If hanging items on the walls using pushpins or nails isn’t an option, you can use special removable adhesive strips as an alternative and save some room on a desk or dresser top for a special photo or two.
If they’re going away, surround them with familiar colors, textiles, and scents
Sometimes touch and smell imparts a sense of relaxation more than anything else. Simple things like new towels in their favorite color, a cozy pillow with the right amount of give, or even using the same-fabric sheets as their bed at home can be the most comforting.
IKEA’s VÅRVIAL sheet set comes in extra-long for twin-sized beds, making it the perfect option for dorm rooms, and the jersey fabric is soft and forgiving—so all four corners on the fitted sheets stay put (always a challenge, no matter how old you are!). Bonus points: Make sure your college student is stocked up on the same detergent you use at home, so their clothes and linens will smell the same, too.
If they’re studying from home, help them dial in their style
Whether they’re into minimalism, vintage-inspired design, or bright patterns, there’s nothing like having a space that expresses who you are (whether that be a dorm or their childhood bedroom). You’d be surprised what kind of impact a cool laundry hamper can have on a space, or a pillow like the black-and-white KINNEN or the graphic KROKUSLILJA. (And a matching duvet cover might be the perfect bold pairing!).
Make their bed a place of respite and escape
College life can get cramped—even more so if a student is sharing a space with roommates. Give your kid the mental space they’ll need by turning their bed into a place to sleep and take a break or zone out. Details like a throw blanket in a soft and snuggly knit (like the EMMAFRIDA blanket) and a soft pillow, along with a set of noise-cancelling headphones, can help create this escape nook—even if they’re just escaping from you and the rest of the family.
Fill a care package with extra decor
Even if your student is just living down the hall from you, a care package is a great way to show them you care during what can be a tough transition into college. Having trouble deciding what to include? Beyond the usual suspects, think about items they can use to add even more of a personal and relaxing touch to their room. Include some star-shaped string lights they can hang above their bed as a pick-me-up or a frame in a fun color to house their favorite photo of family or friends.
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