How To Ensure Privacy in a Shared College Room

Going to college is already an overwhelming experience, and even if it brings a lot of excitement for you, you do not want any additional stress. Sharing a room can be uncomfortable, as dorm living always entails operating in a small space with a lack of privacy and time dedicated to yourself only. Protecting your personal boundaries can be challenging in conditions where you barely have any private space at all.

For those reasons, it is vital to make privacy more approachable. It will allow you to have enough rest, sleep, and some me-time essential to staying positive and productive for studying. Below, you will find some tips that will enable you to feel at home in that small-size room to share.

Don’t Bring Too Much Stuff

For many people setting off to a college is the first time actually moving out and starting to live in a new place. It is usually connected with worrying about which items should you pick to help you maintain living comfortably and settle down. Bringing all your possessions, including clothes for every season and every possible electronic device, is a common novice mistake.

Keep in mind that you will be living in a limited space, so there will be no sense in cluttering it with things from the just-in-case category. For example, depending on how far your native home is from college and how frequently you will visit it, you can take only the essential items and clothes for a couple of months. When the colder (or warmer) season comes, you can replace those things with more suitable ones on your next visit home or request a delivery.

Divide the Room

It is crucial to ensure that both you and your roommate have your own part of living space, even in a small dorm room. The easiest and the most convenient way to create privacy in your dorm is to use a room divider. You can first check any big furniture pieces in a dorm room that you can use as a room divider – like wardrobes or bookshelves.

If there is nothing sufficient and suitable, consider acquiring (and splitting the costs) a comprehensive privacy screen or a room divider. They are much more private than a dividing curtain. You can find manufacturers like Portable Partitions that make mobile dividers – it allows you to create more space for inviting friends or fellow students. An additional portable wall will allow you to divide a dorm room into two full-fledged bedrooms where both you and your roommate will be able to have some alone time.

Establish Ground Rules

Relationships with your roommates can indeed affect your overall college experience, so it is vital to make sure you deal with routine matters from the very beginning. It would be best if you discuss some ground rules right after you met. It does not have to be a boring conversation about distributing responsibilities; just make sure to sort out all that might bother you or lead to misunderstandings in the future.

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Ensure that you discussed terms of inviting friends or possible sleepovers and things you want to have for sharing and personal use only. You can also talk through your schedules to figure out when they do not overlap. It allows you to see when you will get the chance to have your dorm room for yourself only. It is also an excellent opportunity to see if there is an early riser among you and discuss how you can maintain your schedules and lifestyle respecting each other.

It is also crucial to understand that giving personal space is as important as having one, so ensure that you can identify such moments for your roommates and act like it. It requires simple things like using your headphones when your roommate is on a phone call or if you are watching a movie while they are trying to study. Thus, you will allow them to feel more comfortable, and that indeed will be appreciated and return a hundredfold.

Allocate a Workplace

Theoretically, you can work on your projects in the library, which promises to help you be more productive too, but there is always a high risk of ending up sitting on the bed with your laptop on your lap. To avoid any possible distractions and lack of concentration, and to indicate that you are busy at the moment, it would be helpful to have a separate working place.

Your college dorm may provide students with all the necessary items for it, but if it is not, you can ask about the option of lofting a bed. It allows you to free up some floor space where you can allocate your working area or, for example, use a hanging curtain to create a changing room.


Dorm rooms are far from a perfect example of privacy, so you might have to adjust yours a bit to make yourself comfortable. Curtains or room dividers are indeed beneficial, as well as using accessories like headphones or sleep masks, but you should also discuss some rules with your roommates.

It is imperative to elaborate a respectful relationship with your roommate and be mindful of each other’s presence for both of you to keep your schedules going and give each other alone time when needed. Thus, you will have an opportunity to fully immerse yourself in student life and go through its stages at ease.

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