The college dorm room is not what comes to mind when we think of fashionable interiors. When you think dorm room, you might instead think of dirty heaps of clothing, tangled wires for electronics, and empty beer cans scattered around…well, everywhere. But fear not! Although you may have to soon say goodbye to your son or daughter until Thanksgiving, you do not need to say goodbye to design. Earlier this week we posted about kids rooms for young children, but for those of you whose kids are beginning to make their way back to college, we have not forgotten you! Why not start your kids’ school year off with a look that reads a little bit more inspirational and a little bit less “yeah…I don’t know what that is growing on the futon.” Get started with our tips below!
#1 Style the Bookshelf
One item students do not lack is books. Whether it’s a collection of Norton anthologies, a copy of Gray’s Anatomy, or massive textbooks on engineering or organic chemistry, there needs to be a space where you can organize reading material. The problem is that this space generally looks like a hodgepodge of books, folders, loose paper, etc. To spice up a bookshelf, add photographs of friends and family or inspirational art. Bookshelves can also be a bookworm showstopper if you paint it a fun color or add wallpaper to the backing for visual interest. A final tip: try organizing your books by color and size instead of by author or subject. It may seem unintuitive, but your brain actually remembers and scans size and color much faster than it does textual information…and it’ll look so much better!
#2 Top Your Dresser with a Tray
Instead of seeing makeup, electronics, toiletries, jewelry, and accessories scattered all about a dorm room, create simple organization by buying a tray for atop the dresser or bedside table. The tray will keep everything in one tiny area and can be styled into a display. Neat and pretty! When styling a tray, split the tray into quadrants and have each quadrant hold a different item type and visual weight. If your son or daughter is a collector of stuff (the nicest way of saying a packrat), consider sets of decorative boxes for above the dresser as a stylish alternative to trays.
#3 Wall Art is a Necessity
And not a print of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night either. Pick a piece that is meaningful that also brings cohesion to the color scheme of the room. Dorm rooms can generally be bland, so a piece of wall art (or salon-styled pieces) can really bring visual interest into the space. But most colleges won’t let you put holes in the wall! That’s true. Just pick up some Command™ strips on the inevitable Target trip, and you’ll be all set for damage-free art hanging. Need some advice on how to hang your art? Get the Kuotes‘ insider tips here.
#4 A Headboard Stands Out
Picture a dorm bed, an XL twin sitting sadly in a corner. While you can’t change much about the bed itself, you can change how you present it. One of the best trends we’ve seen lately from college students is selecting a nice headboard to truly make the dorm bed feel like home. Paired with beautiful bedding, this trick really adds elegance to the place you’d least expect it.
#5 Turn a Garden Stool To Side Table
In dorm rooms, conserving space and using versatility are key for a successful design. One useful tip is to use garden stools. Garden stools are elegant but not too delicate. They can act as a side table, end table, coffee table, or bedside table when space becomes an issue, and they add an energetic pop of bold color to the space.
#6 Bright Lamps, Bold Color
As we mentioned earlier, dorm rooms can be dull. Pre-filled with identical desks and beds and dressers, there are not many opportunities to express your design through the furniture. Adding a lamp to the space will provide essential task lighting needed for late night studying (lighting in college dorms can be somewhat shabby), but it will also add character, color, and a more defined look to your room. It’s college. Now’s the time to be bold!
#7 Toss in a Throw Pillow
The ragged sofa is an invariable truth of college living. Often it’s provided by the school, or a proper sofa just isn’t worth buying because it’ll get beaten up by a bunch of college kids. So, how do we resolve the sofa problem? Simple, buy a sofa covering and then toss in throw pillows. Pillows with fun colors, patterns, or geometric shapes are currently a big hit and add a classy sense of “real home” to the college living experience.
#8 Decorate with a Personality Punch
When you finishing setting up a dorm and gaze upon it, everything is there and unpacked, yet there remains an unmovable impression that something is missing. Nine times out of ten (you know, approximately), it is personality that’s missing. The room can have everything from a technical or even styling viewpoint, but there needs to be something that says: this room is my room. It can be difficult to do, but we recommend something from home, something from traveling, or something that just screams their name or design style. Whether it’s a favorite piece of decor or a favorite quote, pick something unique. (For the sake of design, Pulp Fiction posters and Keep Calm and Carry On renditions should be officially banned from college campuses).
Are you sending a loved one off to college? How did you handle their dorm? Share your stories in the comment section below!