How to Survive College When You and Your Roommate Have Completely Different Design Tastes

College is all about keeping an open mind, embracing the new, and meeting unique people who come from different backgrounds. But what happens when your roommate prefers neutral shades and you love bright oranges, yellows, and violets? Sure, it’s great to get a different perspective, but does that mean you have mute the cheerful colors of your decor? What do you do when you and your college roommate have different design tastes? There are different ways to forge an agreement, but all solutions require respect, understanding, and communication.


Start Talking

Your roommate may become your very best college friend. Maybe not. Either way is okay as long as you both can learn to live with each other. Offer your roommate respect and understanding. She is a different person with different tastes who has lived a different life than you. Recognize that and respect her right to present herself and design her living space in the way that feels most comfortable to her. As long as she is willing to give you the same respect, the two of you are sure to find a compromise that works for both you.

If it becomes apparent that you each have a very different sense of style, here are three potential compromise tactics to try:



Depending on how far off your design tastes are, you may be able to combine some of each person’s preferences. She loves whites and grays and your favorite color is purple. Maybe you can find white and purple curtains or add a gray chair to her side of the room and a purple chair to your side.



How about giving each other three vetoes on decoration choices so no one has to live with a creepy doll or an offensive fridge magnet that will make the dorm room a space of tension. Just make sure you’re willing to play by the rules.


Live and Let Live

The easiest option is to simply accept your roommate for who she is and let her decorate her part of the room the way she wants. That way, you can get what you want as well. It’s still a good idea to listen to her concerns and consider making changes. For example, you may passionately believe in your political causes, but if all your stickers, posters, and badges make her feel uncomfortable, then life in your dorm isn’t going to be enjoyable for either of you.

You may find that a combination of each of these strategies can be helpful, especially in living areas that overlap, like the fridge, the message board on your door, and a common area that you share with other dormmates. Again, respect and communication are powerful tools that will serve you well as you negotiate your dorm room decor and as you continue your journey into adulthood and autonomy. Of course, it just wasn’t meant to be, don’t try to force it. If you and your roommate are making each other miserable, you can always request a room change!

Get some inspiration on how to use neutrals to forge your two styles into one cohesive room at Dorm Decor.