The Catholic University of America

Decorating Guidelines


The Residence Hall Decorating Guidelines are adapted from the CUA Holiday Decorating Guidelines which are published by Facilities Operations. The purpose is to provide a framework for the decoration and personalization that occurs within individual rooms and common areas of residential facilities. In addition, it attempts to clearly define the parameters of which items are allowed and how/where to place them. Generally, all decorations should adhere to the guidelines listed below. For specific questions about decorating in the residence halls please contact Housing Services.

University Christmas Tree Lighting.


Individual Rooms

  1. The use of adhesives and other hanging hardware is not permitted, except for 3M Command products and those products approved specifically for use in Opus Hall. 
  2. The painting of student rooms is prohibited.
  3. Items should not be hung from or placed on ceilings.


Common Areas

  1. Where possible it is encouraged that decorations, other than university-approved publicity/posters, be made of noncombustible materials.
  2. Bulletin boards are provided on each floor for use by Residence Life staff. Coverings should be limited to publicity/posters and decorations.
  3. In hallways, coverings on walls should not occupy more than 10% of the surface area. This means that in general wall decorations should be limited to the approved bulletin board locations and individual resident's doors.
  4. In lounges, coverings on walls should not occupy more than 10% of the surface area. This means that in general wall decorations should be limited to the approved bulletin board locations and doors.


Power Sources and Decorative Lighting

  1. The use of extension cords is not permitted in the residence halls except for UL-approved surge protected power strips.
  2. Interior power strips should not be routed through doorways, under carpeting, or routed across hallways as they are both a fire hazard and tripping hazard.
  3. Only U.L.-approved lights should be used as decorative lighting inside the residence halls.
  4. Decorative lights should be kept away from combustible materials (i.e., curtains, paper, etc.) at all times.
  5. Decorative lights shold be turned off when the area is unattended.
  6. Metal staples or nails should not be used as fasteners for lights as they can damage the protective insulation covering the wires.
  7. The installation and removal of decorative lights must not cause damage to the building.
  8. Interior lights should not be strung along walls, across hallways between rooms, or around fire safety equipment.


Exterior Decorations

  1. All decorations on the exterior of buildings or on the grounds shall be placed by and be the responsibility of Facilities Maintenance and Operations.


Fire Safety Equipment

  1. 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.
  2. At no time may any items be attached to or hung from sprinkler heads or sprinkler system piping.


Christmas Guidelines

  1. Live or fresh-cut Christmas trees are prohibited.
  2. Artificial trees are permitted, provided the placement does not create an obstruction to egress.
  3. See interior lighting guidelines above for Christmas tree lights.
  4. Canned snow or other flammable decorative sprays may not be used inside the residence halls.