Decorations and Wall Hangings
Columbia Housing encourages residents to personalize their assigned room. However, residents must not damage the space and must uphold satisfactory sanitation and safety standards as they will be held responsible for any damage and health and/or safety violations.
In addition to the guidelines below, residents are responsible for adhering to the Prohibited Items section of the Guide to Living. Housing and Residential Life will confiscate any prohibited and dangerous items.
The following lists are not complete, and the absence of an item does not constitute approval of its use or practice. Columbia Housing maintains the right to determine allowable practices and uses; if you are uncertain, contact Columbia Housing and Residential Life.
- With the exception of Plasti-Tak, blue painter’s tape and Command hooks, the use of adhesives and other hanging hardware is not permitted.
- Painting your room is prohibited.
- Items should not be hung from or placed on ceilings, fire safety equipment, or overhead lighting.
- Items such as signs, posters, lights or decorations should not be hung on the exterior of buildings or attached to window panes.
- Non-flame-resistant decorations are prohibited on room/suite doors.
- Refrain from the use of curtains, fabric hangings, and draperies.
- Common area decorations are subject to approval by Columbia Housing and Residential Life. Please speak with your Residence Hall Director or Graduate Hall Director about the details of your request.
- Where possible it is encouraged that decorations, other than University-approved posters, be made of non-combustible materials. Refrain from the use of curtains, fabric hangings, and draperies.
- Bulletin boards are provided on each floor for use by RAs and Residential Life staff. Coverings should be limited to posters and decorations. Non-flame-resistant decorations are also prohibited on hallway bulletin boards.
- In hallways, coverings on walls should not occupy more than 20% of the surface area. General wall decorations should be limited to the approved bulletin board locations and individual residents’ doors.
- In lounges, coverings on walls should not occupy more than 20% of the surface area. General wall decorations should be limited to the approved bulletin board locations and doors. Posting on student room doors should not occupy more than 50% of the surface area.
- With the exception of blue painter’s tape, the use of adhesives and other hanging hardware is not permitted.
- Painting common areas is prohibited.
- Items should not be hung from or placed on ceilings.
Power Sources and Decorative Lighting
- The use of extension cords is not permitted in the residence halls except for Underwriters Laboratory (UL)-approved surge-protected power strips.
- Interior power strips should not be routed through doorways, under carpeting, or across hallways as this is a fire and trip hazard.
- Do not place items, such as books, clothing, furniture, etc., on top of surge protector cords as this can cause the surge protector to overheat and catch fire.
- Only UL-approved lights should be used as decorative lighting inside the residence halls.
- LED, battery-operated lighting is strongly recommended. If using electrical strand lighting, residents may have no more than three (3) strands plugged into one another.
- Decorative lights should be kept away from combustible materials (i.e., curtains, paper, etc.)
- Decorative lights should be turned off when the area is unattended and should not be strung from the ceiling.
- Metal staples or nails should not be used as fasteners for lights as they can damage the protective insulation covering the wires.
- The installation and removal of decorative lights must not cause damage to the building.
- Interior lights should not be strung along walls, across hallways between rooms, or around fire safety equipment.
- Use of candles, incense, or halogen lamps is strictly prohibited.
- Decorations must be kept away from fire protection equipment to allow for emergency access to these devices. Fire Protection Equipment includes exit signs, fire alarm devices (pull stations, smoke and heat detectors, etc.), fire extinguishers, and emergency and normal-use light fixtures.
- At no time may any items be attached to or hung from sprinkler heads, sprinkler system piping, smoke detectors, heat detectors, or fire alarms, bells, horns or strobes.
- Live trees and/or cut trees, wreaths and decorations are prohibited.
- Artificial trees are permitted; placement may not create an obstruction to emergency exits and trees must not exceed 6 feet in height.
- See the decorative lighting guidelines above for holiday lights.
- Removal of decorations is the responsibility of the student posting the decorations. Students will be billed for any additional cleaning as per the Damage/Vandalism section.
- Damaged walls due to the improper use of adhesives or fasteners will be billed to the student as per the Damage/Vandalism section.
What can I use to hang posters and decorations?
Students may hang posters and/or decorations on their walls using Plasti-Tak, Command hooks, or blue painter's tape; nails, adhesives, single- or double-sided tape are not permitted. Students will be held responsible for damages when they check-out. In rooms with molding installed, students may also hang decorations from the molding with the use of molding hooks.
Where can I hang decorations?
Students may hang posters and/or decorations on their wall as long as they do not install banners, flags, nets, cable wires, hangers in such a way that interferes with the operation of any fire safety equipment (i.e. sprinkler heads or smoke detectors). Students are prohibited from suspending decorative materials from the ceilings.
Can I decorate my rooms with candles?
Candles are not allowed in residence halls even if they are strictly decorative. Halogen lamps and incense are also prohibited even if the student only uses these items for decorative purposes.