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5 Easy Ways Students Can Craft a Beautiful, Yet Green, Dorm Room

Posted Aug 31 2012 6:00am

Unless you’ve enrolled in a university boasting its dedication to preserving the environment and featuring LEED certified buildings, then chances of you living in a sustainable dorm room for the next four years will be slim. But just because your room may not come automatically equipped with the necessary tools needed to make it “green” doesn’t mean you can’t take the initiative to make sure that your new dwelling is eco-approved.

Learn 5 ways to transform your living space into a green dorm this fall.

compact living in a dorm room

Compact living in a dorm room

The first thing you can do is shop around for some eco-friendly bedding, such as sheets and duvet covers made from hand crafted organic cotton and other natural and recycled fibers. My personal favorite store featuring “green” bedding is West Elm, but there are other stores on the web and in the mall that should be able to accommodate your needs. Organic bedding is also great for allergy suffers since they aren’t processed with harsh chemicals. However, since it’s understandable that some eco-friendly bed sets might be out of your price range (they can get a tad bit steep), another alternative you have is to buy a gently used bed set from a thrift store or garage sale. You’ll help the environment and save a bundle of money too.

While most door rooms are pre-furnished anyway, if you’re looking to add a couch or an extra chair, always aim for used as well. If you go to a quaint resale shop or thrift store, you might just be able to find a unique and super cool piece of furniture.  But don’t forget about other sources that offer gently used and DIY goods as well like Freecycle  and Etsy.

Adding some real “greenery” into your living space can make your room look livelier as well as help remove air pollutants and other toxins that can make you sick in your room. That’s because research shows that indoor plants can absorb formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene that can roam in the air. Even if your dorm room is “green” meaning it was recently constructed to be more energy-efficient, plants can help absorb the dust and particles that stayed trapped in the air ducts. Just make sure to water your plant and give it enough sunlight.

If your school hasn’t tried to make your dorm building energy-efficient yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t. Switch out all the traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs to conserve energy costs. You should also be aware of the amount of energy you use personally. For example, make sure to not only turn off the lights when you leave the room but also unplug electronic devices like cell phone chargers when they’re not in use—leaving electronic devices plugged in still uses energy.

Another easy way to help reduce waste is to recycle. If your school doesn’t have its own recycling program, try to implement one with other students on your dorm room floor. And remember, before you start putting everything in the recycling bin try to make sure that the materials can’t be “repurposed.” For example, Pinterest has some really crafty ideas for what you can do with old clothes, plastic bottles, cardboard , and even newspapers to decorate your room.

Last but not least, you can also make your own eco-friendly cleaning products to keep your door room clean. Here’s a great recipe for all-purpose cleaner from the Live Well Network. Don’t forget about making your own laundry detergent too.

This guest post is provided by Mariana Ashley, who writes about educational issues for OnlineColleges.net . She also enjoys writing about green practices, lifestyle and health.  She can be reached at Mariana’s email .

{Dorm image via  Thomas Huston  on Flickr}


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