Furnishing a dorm room presents special challenges. It's often the first home that the student resident has responsibility for managing -- instead of parents or guardians.
There are advantages and disadvantages to starting from scratch. A fresh start may mean that there are fewer items to fit into the space and provide more freedom to select items that match a particular style or preferences. However, it can be costly to buy everything new.
That brings us to the next constraint. For many dorm residents, finances are tight.
Roommates are another challenge that comes with dorm living. Especially in the first year, roommates are often assigned by the school. Even when you get to choose a roommate, the person you select because of friendship or compatibility may not have a complimentary decorating style.
Dorm rooms tend to have very little space, and even less storage space. So contents must be chosen carefully. Compact items or ones that are designed with limited storage in mind are generally a good idea.
While many students find other places they like to read or study, like the library, it's important that the dorm room has a place for storing things like books, paperwork, a computer or other things used to study. And for most students, at least some studying is done in the dorm room. So the room should be furnished with schoolwork and a place to study in mind.