If your college dorm room sustains some minor damage, you may be able
to make adequate repairs to avoid costly fines. With a few materials and a
little handiness, it won't be difficult to restore your dorm room to its
condition on move-in day.
Hanging pictures, posters and other wall decorations
in your dorm can leave behind unsightly tape residue and thumbtack holes.
Depending on the regulations in your dorm, you could incur expensive fines for
leaving holes or missing paint from your wall hangings. These methods of hanging
pictures are usually not permitted in dorm rooms for this reason.
To repair damage from adhesive:
- Sand the wall with sandpaper where the tape was in order to remove any
leftover adhesive, loose paint chips or small pieces of broken drywall, then
brush it off with a dry cloth.
- Fill in any divots or small holes with drywall paste and a putty knife.
After the hole is filled, slide the flat end of the putty knife over the wall to
remove any extra repair paste and smooth it out even with the wall. Allow the
paste to completely dry. Add a second coat if necessary.
- Sand the drywall paste to ensure that it's flat and smooth. Apply primer to
the repaired area, and allow it to dry completely.
- Try your best to find a paint color that matches--dorm rooms usually have
standard white walls. Paint the repaired area, making sure not to use too much
to keep the surface smooth. Apply a second coat if necessary to achieve the
To fill tiny holes:
- Apply a small amount of caulk to the hole with a putty knife, spreading it
until smooth. If there is still a dimple left behind after it dries, apply a
- Touch up with paint.
TIP:Very small holes can be filled with
toothpaste, and tiny chips may be concealed with corrective fluid.Note:
You may still receive fines after repairing damage to walls.
Most dorms provide you with some basic
furniture--a bed, dresser, a desk, chair, and perhaps a bedside table. Usually
made from wood, these pieces can easily become damaged even if you are extremely
- Conceal unsightly scratches on wood tables, chairs, desks and dressers with
a good-quality furniture polish. Make sure you purchase the correct type,
depending on if the wood is light- or dark-toned.
- Cut a walnut in half and rub it over the scratch--the natural oils will fill
in and hide the mark.
- Crayons can also be effective--combine two or more to get the perfect shade
and color in the depression. Finish by lightly buffing.
Water Ring Stains:
- Leaving your solo cup on your bedside table during a marathon study session
can create a mess of condensation on a hot, sticky day. Remove the glaring
consequences with a concoction made of equal parts of toothpaste and mayonnaise.
- You can also cover the ring with a thick cloth and press over it with a warm
iron. Be sure to keep the iron on the cloth and don't allow it to come in direct
contact with the wood's surface.
- Finish up either method by rubbing orange or lemon oil to the wood with a
Cracks or Chips:
- You can fill cracks or chips in your wood furniture with wood putty. Wood
putty is available at most hardware retailers in various colors.
- Apply it carefully with a plastic knife. Allow the putty to dry completely.
- After it has dried, sand it smooth with an emery board.
Tips for Preventing Dorm Room Damage
- Follow decorating regulations. Most dormitories have stringent rules
for what is permitted when decorating your dorm. If you are forbidden to paint the walls
or hang pictures with nails, abiding by these regulations is the best way to
avoid damage fees.
- Hang pictures with painter's tape. Most methods of hanging posters
and pictures (thumbtacks, nails, tape) can cause unsightly damage to your dorm
walls. Painter's tape (the blue tape used to protect trim and ceilings when
painting) is an effective alternative because it won't damage the paint when it
- Make sure all existing damage is documented. When you move into the
dorm, you will have to fill out a damage report to document all existing damage to the room so
you won't be blamed for it later. Be sure to inspect the room thoroughly to
ensure all damage is accounted for in the paperwork.
- Take pictures of the dorm. In addition to filling out the damage
report, take pictures of your dorm when you move in and when you move out. If
you are accused of causing any damage, it will be easier to dispute with visual