If you’re like me, you grew up sharing a room with a sibling, which isn’t bad when you and your brother or sister get along. Yet when you eventually have your own room, you realize what you’ve been missing. For example, maybe you’re the younger brother, and your older brother moved to college two years ago, so you got the room to yourself.
What happens when you go to college and now have a small dorm room, and a roommate? Of course, this is just one of many situations in which you may end up sharing a room and needing privacy. So, how do you get that much-needed space for yourself in a shared room? Here are some ideas.
When you have your own room, you may not worry as much about keeping everything tidy. Maybe you clean up once every week, and that works for you. However, when sharing a bedroom, you and your roommate will get along much better if you both clean up after yourselves immediately. Do your dishes (if you have any in the bedroom), put your things away when you’re not using them, and sweep or vacuum. You and your roommate can even come up with a schedule for shared duties.
Stick to The Essentials
When you’re sharing a bedroom, it’s best not to have too much stuff, so keep just what you need, and maybe a little extra, but not a lot. Have enough clothes for a week or so of outfits, and do your laundry regularly. It’s better to have a laptop in a shared room, rather than a desktop computer--though the loft bed idea below may alter this slightly. Bring some books you love and others that you want to read, but don’t overdo it. For those things you need sometimes but that you won’t be keeping in your room, consider getting a self storage unit or a valet storage contract.
For privacy when changing, or just when you want to create a sense of space between halves of a room, try a screen room divider. Just place it between your part of the room and your roommate’s, and relax.
This may sound silly for an adult, but when it comes to instant privacy, a bed tent will do the trick. This is just what it sounds like: a twin-sized mattress in a pop-up tent. You can zip it shut not only for privacy, but extra darkness to make sleeping easier.
Want to make more space in your shared room? Consider getting a loft bed to replace your ordinary bed. Underneath the overhead bed, you can have your desk, a bookcase and place to read, or a couch. Your roommate might become envious of the extra space and do the same, giving you both more room by making the best use of vertical space.
Get a Laptop Privacy Filter
Getting some privacy in a shared room is more than just about splitting the space. For example, would you like to get work done on your laptop without your roommate or others looking over at your screen? Consider getting a laptop privacy filter, which is a see-through sheet that fits over your laptop screen. When you look head-on at your monitor, you’ll have a perfect view, but when people look at it from the side, it will appear blank.
Get Noise-Canceling Headphones
This is one purchase your roommate will thank you for. With noise canceling headphones, you can listen to your favorite music, podcasts, or shows without bothering others. Shop around, because headphones can be expensive, but you’ll be able to shut out noises that bother you while listening to your entertainment in private.
The Importance of Passwords
Whether you’re in college or just living with friends, you probably do a lot on your computer, tablet, and smartphone. Make sure to have a password on each. Consider encrypting especially important files. Yes, you may trust your roommate and friends, but what if they have a guest over you don’t yet know well? In an era when identity theft happens, it’s best to be safe.
Spend Time Elsewhere
While all these suggestions will help you and your roommate with privacy issues, one of the easiest ways you can each get some space is by heading out for awhile. Cafes are great for having a drink, a snack, and relaxing, but of course they’ll cost you money. Libraries are a wonderful place to go for some extra space, and these days, most have wifi. You may also want to go for a walk or to relax at a local park, check out a museum, or see what else your city has to offer.
With these ideas, you and your roommate will be well on your way to creating an enjoyable, shared living space where you can enjoy each other’s company and have privacy when you need it.