We entered the dorm rooms of university students and found out how their bedrooms reflect their style, personality and life experiences.

Mack, 2nd year Dance student

Top room decor tip: Use electrical or masking tape for wall hangings, it saves the paint

“Cosy, attempting to be minimalist” was how Mack described her room. Most decorations are either mementos or tokens of her main distraction, American sports (the New York Rangers being her favourite team). Mack hails from a family of hoarders, but she prefers to keep her place tidy, without any excessive decoration; a relaxing space.  

Storage is an important part of Mack’s room; there is a place for everything and everything is in its place, as she likes to maintain a clean and orderly vibe. We chatted about the idea of imprinting your identity on a space, but she insisted that, for students, it’s more a case of occupying that space, filling it with life and purpose rather than following a particular aesthetic or decor.

“Pin boards are a great space for memories,” she says. Of course, they are nearly ubiquitous in student houses, but it’s easy to see why. Mack’s was reserved for her experiences: pictures with friends, tickets from memorable journeys, tokens of an active life. We did discuss the excess of Muji products in her room, but she states that the only alternative is the “I have two kids and a Range Rover” kind of shops that dominate Guildford.

Studio Ghibli posters for Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke dominate one wall; they are her favourite decoration and actually the only wall decor in the room that isn’t pictures of friends. “I just really like that art style, not in a huge nerdy way, but I love that kind of artwork”

“Unless I’m currently dancing, I hate dance”, she confesses. Her space somewhat doesn’t represent her course (dance), not entirely on purpose, but Mack never wanted to be “that girl, you know, the one who does dance.” Instead, she feels that her room is a good way of displaying her personal interests. The only decoration in the room related to dance is her trophy from a K-pop routine, won with the Korean society during her time on the committee.

The downside of student life can be how temporary places can feel. Mack’s own experience reflected the idea of occupying, not imprinting on a place. You can see that in aspects such as keeping the boxes that you moved in with for moving out, and how it’s not quite worth changing the hideous curtains if you’ll only be in the space for a year. But memories are forever, of course.


Interviews by Alastair McGinness

Photography and post-production by Alim Syed Haque

Special thanks to Mack for your participation.