How to Create a Functional Study Space in a Dorm Room

How to Create a Functional Study Space in a Dorm Room
  • Opening Intro -

    Dorm rooms have the potential to be horrible study spaces.

    Not only is the environment of shared living full of distractions, but there isn't even enough space in a small dorm to get away from those distractions.


Professors do not care about whether or not a student has an easy time studying, and in many cases, they likely do not even know the students name. It’s the student’s responsibility to create their perfect study space. There’s a few principles to follow that will make this task seem easy.

Organization & Efficiency

The first principle to learn for shaping an effective study space is the understanding of resource placement. Organization is the first part of understanding this, because a well organized space provides easy access to anything that may be needed. Try and think of a lost pair of keys that cost ten minutes or more. Apply this to tools like books, calculators or documents and it should be quickly apparent that misplacing items due to a lack of organization is a brutal strain on available study time. Looking for a book can also have the adverse effect of breaking concentration, which will then have to be rebuilt, effectively reducing the value of study time even further.

Efficiency goes hand-in-hand with organization. Making a room more efficient is all about reducing the amount of time that it takes to perform simple tasks. If books are placed on the opposite end of the room, it’s a hindrance of study time to have to stand up, walk over, walk back and then begin looking for information. The books might be organized, but they’re still going to break concentration if they aren’t organized efficiently. This concept can be applied to every part of a dorm like food, clothing, school supplies, essential tools and all of the miscellaneous items that are unique to each individual. 

Cleanliness & Style

After dealing with the inefficient and unorganized aspects of a room, the student’s next path to developing a more successful space is personalizing the room in a clean and stylish way. The key motive behind this is to develop an area that the student feels naturally inclined to study in without having to force themselves into it. This is the difference between completing a paper at the last minute or finishing it slowly over the course of the week. In other words, if a student can make a room blend in with their unique habits and lifestyle, they’re far more likely to experience the joy and productivity of natural motivation.

First, make sure that the dorm is clean. If there’s a shared living arrangement with another individual, let them know that the room is to stay clean, and be firm about that. It’s impossible to stylize a messy room much further than creating a stylish mess. Once the room is clean, consider any unique problems that may be interfering with study time. Students with a martial arts background might be better off with a large poster with their favorite martial artist’s most inspiring quote, while musicians and artists might prefer displaying artwork that reminds them of what they wish to accomplish. The goal of adding this sense of style is to make the study space feel like a special place which has an unspoken magic that pushes the student to perform at their best.

Eliminate Common Distractions

Once a room is stylized, the last impediment to success are the little distractions that detract from the concentration and focus of the student. If there’s someone that always comes around after the get off work on Tuesdays, this is likely to become a problem for study time. Either that part of Tuesday needs to be specifically designated as break time or the person needs to be informed that they’re hurting the student’s ability to work. It’s never easy to deal with distractions when their root cause is a friend, but a sincere friend will understand that they are also hurting the performance of the student.

Other distractions might include television shows, social networking sites, video games and music. These are all perfectly fine, but these should be used for relaxation time and not as a means of ignoring work that needs to be done. An easy way to make these distractions feel more rewarding and take less overall time is to set personal rules during study time. If a short paper is due, make an hour of uninterrupted video games or television shows a reward for its completion.

An organized, efficient, clean and stylish room that is severely lacking in distractions is the perfect place to study. Not only is concentration time uninterrupted, but the time it takes to complete work tends to be shorter when a student is most concentrated and focused on it. It’s imperative to start on this as quickly as possible, preferably now, or the procrastination will seep its way into the further development of the study space.

This article was composed by Eric Stratton, Chairman of Rush Industries, for the team at


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Categories: Study Tips