Living with College Roommates Coherently

Living with College Roommates Coherently

Category: College Corner

Getting on the same page with your roommate is all about communication. Understanding where the other person is coming from, as well as, their thoughts and expectations will make the relationship run smoother. Whether in college life or post-college roommate situations, the tension between roommates can seriously harm the ability of the room to be a comfortable haven. One of the most common areas where roommates tend to disagree is with decorating.


Roommates with vastly different styles who are suddenly thrust together through no fault of their own are usually those in college dorm situations. Random names are placed together and incoming freshman wait with bated breath wondering who they will be rooming with in the fall. If a conversation can occur before move-in day about a general color theme, it will help ease some tension and make the room appear more cohesive. A room that is coordinated will be more calming and peaceful than one that is a random assortment of contrasting colors. The primary colors, red, blue and yellow, are an excellent place to start when trying to coordinate room colors.


Dorm rooms are stark and barren until filled with the trinkets and baubles from home. Each roommate will bring her own unique style to space, and that style must be respected as a part of who she is. If one roommate is a fan of all things pink and glittery and the other is hard-core gothic, there will obviously be a clash in decorating styles. A firm understanding must be made between the roommates that anything offensive must not be part of the decorations in the room. Without this understanding, roommates will never be able to be on the same page. Being on the same page does not mean being exactly alike, it simply means that each person's ideas and personality are respected equally. In most cases, roommates can easily work together to mesh their room's decor in some fashion.


Privacy is a huge issue for new roommates. Incoming college freshman are used to the privacy of their own room, or a room that they shared with a sibling. Suddenly sharing a room with a complete stranger is intimidating. Quickly create an understanding with each other about each other's privacy needs. Invest in a folding room screen if need be to create an added sense of privacy. The key to feeling comfortable with each other is by building a solid foundation of communication early on in the days of being roommates.

Do not underestimate the importance of talking with each other. Understand that a new roommate may not like the same style or decor, but that her likes are just as valid and have an equal part in the room. When discussing topics that may be touchy, like privacy, meet and talk at a neutral place. Have coffee at a local coffee shop and discuss the issues. If there is difficulty discussing them, ask a resident advisor or the resident director to step in and provide guidance and mediation. Getting on the same page with your roommate can be done, but it requires mutual respect and understanding.