Dorm Tours

Sophisticated Minimalism Meets High-Fashion in This Columbia Dorm Room

published Dec 26, 2023
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Home Type
Dorm (single)
New York University
Manhattan, New York, New York
Square feet
Sq ft
desk with small round vanity mirror and desk lamp, two impressionist paintings above desk and perfume on desk, white rolling chair
Credit: Nabihah Ahmad

As a fashion lover, Columbia University junior Nabihah Ahmad knows her personal style well. So when it came to creating the dorm room of her dreams, she understood exactly what to do.

Credit: Nabihah Ahmad

Nabihah’s Space

What’s your space best known for? Definitely for being the ultimate cozy hangout spot at night! My nighttime routine of self-care, snacks, and entertainment has made my place the ideal relaxation destination. After classes wrap up, I love pampering myself with my favorite skincare products and switching to comfy loungewear. Once I’m feeling fresh, I’ll order takeout from one of my go-to spots — maybe some ramen or Indian food. Then I’ll curl up in bed and turn on a lighthearted movie or show.

What’s your favorite element in your space? If I had to choose one favorite element in my dorm that encapsulates my personal style, it would be my clothing rack. I love having a designated area to neatly display my favorite pieces and accessories. My clothing rack is front-and-center in my bedroom and holds all my go-to pieces — it’s often the first thing I see in the morning when picking my outfit for the day. I’m quite proud of my sense of style, so having my clothes artfully arranged and visible helps express my fashionable personality. The rack itself is minimalist and streamlined, aligning with my modern aesthetic.

Credit: Nabihah Ahmad

Nabihah’s Style

Define your personal home decor style: My personal home style is best described as modern minimalist. Overall, my aesthetic is airy, bright, and streamlined. I aim for my home to feel relaxing yet stylish.

How do you achieve this aesthetic in your dorm room? I prefer clean, uncluttered spaces with neutral colors and minimal decor. Functionality and simplicity are important to me; I don’t like a lot of knick knacks or clutter. I lean toward mid-century-inspired pieces with clean lines. 

Credit: Nabihah Ahmad
Natsukage Wall Mirror, $48.16, at Amazon

Nabihah’s Budget

In an effort to remove the stigma associated with talking about money in college, we’re asking students to share how they plan and budget for their space.

How much does your housing cost per semester? $10,880.

Do you have any help funding your housing? I’m on a full ride.

How much did it cost to decorate your space? $200.

What was your biggest splurge in this space and how much did it cost? My mirror, $50.

Best budget find? My clothing rack, $10.

Credit: Nabihah Ahmad
Clothing rack, $10, at Amazon

Nabihah’s Advice

What was your biggest challenge in this space? Moving into my small, 126-square-foot dorm room posed some distinct lighting challenges. With only one window that gets direct sunlight for a mere two hours daily, the lack of natural light became a roadblock in creating my ideal vision. I’ve implemented some creative solutions to maximize the morning light, like hanging sheer curtains and keeping the window uncovered during those sunlit hours. But once the afternoon shadows set in, the space quickly transforms into a dim, cave-like environment. To compensate, I purchased a sunset lamp and string lights to bring some artificial light into the space.

Any other helpful tips? One of the best tips I’ve discovered for maximizing my tiny, 126-square-foot dorm room is removing the bulky built-in shelves that originally came with the space. As tempting as extra storage seems, I found those clunky floor-to-ceiling shelves only cluttered up the room visually and made it feel even more cramped. Once I took them out, it was incredible how much more open and spacious the room felt! Without those towering shelves hogging wall space, I gained a sense of airiness. I was then able to add some under-bed storage bins for a more streamlined storage solution. Clearing away large, imposing built-ins helps keep the room feeling light and uncluttered.

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity. Share your style: Dorm Tour Submission Form

Nabihah Ahmad

Computer Science

Amidst her studies at Columbia, Nabihah runs a fashion media publication that champions diversity and sustainability in the industry. As a stylist, she has a knack for translating fashion into interior design, creating spaces that reflect individual style and exude timeliness. As the founder of her own AI startup, she's a testament to the exciting possibilities that exist at the intersection of technology and creativity. As she brings her vision to Dorm Therapy, readers can look forward to stories that infuse fashion-forward, smart, and sustainable thinking into every corner of home living.

Follow Nabihah
SchoolColumbia University '25
MajorComputer Science
FavesTraveling, vintage stores, matcha, sunsets, house music
Get to know Nabihah Ahmad
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