Most colleges issue a single bed, a study table, a book rack and an almirah. Starting with these basics, liven up your hostel room by adding bed linen and accessories that reflect your personality. Also, add curtains to the room, co-ordinating them with your bed spread. For boys, strong solid colours work best – a combination like navy and silver grey projects a serious personality; a combination of red and black says that you are flamboyant. Girls have a larger option of colours and pattern – anything from soothing pastels to strong hues, in florals or polka dots or stripes. You could break up a solid colour scheme with some geometric patterns here and there in complementary colours. But white is a no-no, as it is very difficult to maintain in a hostel.
Bath accessories say much about your degree of refinement and taste. Select your bucket, mug, towel, shaving kit and soap dish carefully. Good quality, thicker plastic is more expensive but lasts longer. Treat yourself to some aromatic soaps, herbal or natural shampoo and a bath robe.
A good laundry system ensures a good wardrobe. The best quality clothes look awful if crumpled. You need to be kitted out with a laundry bag, gentle detergents, an ironing board, hangers and a steam press. If you are only into T-shirts, fold them properly after laundering them and they will not need ironing. But shirts and trousers definitely will. Keep your shoes clean and polished as well.
A dresser can save time, but if you do not have one, keep one shelf in your almirah for things like hair dryer, comb, oil, pins, rubber bands, brushes. You won't have to run around the room hunting for stuff at the last minute, and by keeping all this in your almirah, you will reduce clutter. Hang a mirror inside the almirah door, if possible.
The door to your room is the window to your personality. Treat it with respect. Do not scratch any words on it. It should carry your name, stream, year and a receptacle for letters. If you put up a poster on it, tack it properly instead of letting the edges curl.
The study desk needs to be neat and have good stationery. This conveys to others that you take studying seriously. Table clock, lamp, pen holder, calculator and file covers are some of the important accessories. They also reduce paper overload on your table.
Keep some crockery and tableware, including napkins, on a shelf or in a small wheeled storage bin that you can push under the bed. Comes in handy for impromptu parties.
If you have any gadgets like a laptop, iPod etc, designate spaces for them so that anyone walking into your room will see a neat, organised person. If you can afford it and if it is allowed, hang a small flat-screen television for late-night movies. The only catch is, your room might become too popular for your peace of mind.
The author is an architect and writer