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By Jessica Lewis

Arts & Life Editor

The time has come when you’ve moved away from home and plunged into your first year of university. You can handle yourself, sure.

But did you think about how comfortable you will be in your residence room?

If you’re in Pitman Hall, it may seem like a concrete jail cell but there are no bars on the windows. If you’re a lucky resident of the ILLC, it may look like a hotel, but there will be no butler. And if you’re in O’Keefe House, you’ll need something to make your half of the shared room shine.

Have no fear. All you need is some colour, decorations, and imagination.

Adding a bit of flair to your room will help you get through the year without wanting to die a little inside while you stare at your walls between classes — if that’s what you dig. It doesn’t have to be overboard; just enough to entertain your friends when they decide your room is the “cool room.”

“People often hung out in my room to watch movies as I had a small TV and DVD player,” said third-year Radio and Television Arts student Stephanie Parrott. “The common room TV was frequently in use and it was often too noisy. If you want people to hang out in your room, keep the door open.”

As for keeping the party people there, it’s good to find a colour scheme and use your bed sheets as a starting point. Your bed is not only where the magic happens, but it often becomes the room’s centrepiece.

This doesn’t mean you should coat your room in baby blue but also try to avoid creating an alarming tie-dye affect.

In terms of making your room feel comfortable, try filling space, but be more original and less packrat. Big piles of class notes and last week’s laundry won’t get you onto HGTV.

It’s up to you how clean or cluttered your room is. By just having a few posters or decorations on your walls and maybe even a nice small rug, you will begin to feel like it’s not a sad, open space. Places like World of Posters at Yonge and Gould streets will be a good first destination spot where you can get any wall decoration from Pink Floyd to sunflowers. Also, try hanging a few mirrors — they can make your room seem larger.

“I decorated my room with posters, photos, rugs, and lots of pillows,” said Parrott. “I think with posters, larger, more carefully chosen ones are better than plastering your walls with anything you can find. Covering your walls in dark posters also makes the room feel smaller.”

The key thing to remember is to keep things simple, clean and unique. Find things that fit your style and make you feel comfortable in your home away from home.

You may try your best and still find you’re unhappy with your room. In that case, kick out your roommate for more space.

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