Flickr user Loren Kerns

Sharing a dorm room can be stressful, especially if this is your first time with a roommate or if you’re rooming with someone you’ve never met before. But the good news is that having drama isn’t inevitable. Here’s how to collaborate with your roomie about dorm decorating so you can make the dorm room you’ve always dreamed of.

Even better, use these tools to communicate and design an award-winning dorm room! With OCM’s Room Goals Contest, you can both work towards a room that impresses and inspires this year’s dorm decor trends. If you’ve got a top look and style, you could even win $1,000 in tuition credit for the hard work (read on to find out how)!

Get to Know One Another First

Living in a tight space with someone you don’t really know can be intimidating. Before you talk decorating and design of your room, you’ll want to actually get to know the person you’ll be sleeping across from. If you haven’t moved in yet, set up a time to video chat or message through social media. If time is limited, set up a roommate date within the first week.

Break the Ice with Dorm Decor

Once you’ve gotten the basics out of the way, you’ll want to keep the convo rolling, and talking dorm room decor can be a great way to find where you two are similar and different. Send an email or two with some inspiration pics. Set up a secret board on Pinterest where you both can pin ideas. Discuss what you love about theirs versus what you love about yours. You may be surprised to find some common ground.

Go Virtual Shopping Together

Since you’ll probably buy at least 50% of your college items online, why not do it as a team. OCM is a great starting point to find matching or coordinating linens, throw pillows, carpets, and lighting. Check out other style sites for the smaller details like a fun, vintage mirror or funky, indoor planters. Share your shopping cart with them for approval.

Use Room Decorating Apps

There are a ton of room styling apps out there that you can play along with! Check out Room Creator, Home Design 3D, or Houzz. These tools are so much fun and are great ways to feel out the other person’s style or preferences. Use your dorms provided layouts and measurements to make sure your virtual room will meet your real-life expectations.

Find Middle Ground

Sometimes, it’s best if a dorm room shines with two different personalities and tastes. His or her look won’t mess with yours if you know how to do some good tie-ins in shared zones. For example, if roomie is all about vintage and you’re ultra-feminine, look for some pastel gingham prints or add coordinating color fake flowers in a large, statement vase in the seating area. Compromise can be a great way to flex your creativity.

Collaborating with your roommate on dorm decorating can pay off—literally. With OCM’s Room Goals contest, you can score a $1,000 scholarship just by submitting a photo of your combined style. Read more on how to win big here!