Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Dorm Room Rules

*Updated version of Dorm Room Decorating at Everyday Planet*

College is awesome, isn't it? Yes, it can be one of the most stressful times of your life :), but there are also so many things about it that are fun. I went to a community college for two years (living at home) then transferred to a Bible college and was there for three years (my school pretty much required you to live on campus, so: dorm room for three years. I was on the same floor all three years, but lived in two different rooms and had four awesome roommates (all at different times).

The dorm rooms were tiny, with two small closets, lots of regulation furniture and about 2 inches of floor space. Decorating each year required some creativity but was so fun.

Now that I am gainfully employed, I am shocked to remember how poor we were as college students (my roommate and I once turned down going to an event because it cost $2.00. Two dollars.) So here are a few things that are helpful for decorating your dorm room (or other small space) on a college student budget:

1. Creativity

If your dorm is like mine was, there are about a thousand rules for what you can't do to decorate (no nails, candles, paint, etc). So you have to get around those rules with some creativity. Case in point: Note the mirror in the picture below:

yup, that's me studying in college.
One of the few pictures I could actually find of my room. 

We couldn't put nails in the wall, so we painted 3M hooks, stapled two pieces of ribbon to the back of a ($5 Target) mirror, and hung it sideways. Voila! Something on your wall, and bonus: it made the tiny room look bigger.

2. 3M hooks

I realize now, I should have bought stock in 3M hooks as a freshman. Some ways we used them:

*the tiny clear ones lined the wall next to the ceiling to hold twinkle lights
*for holding back curtains
*painted different colours and hung vertically, to hold mugs
*hanging pictures, obviously.
*the larger ones can hold bathrobes or a pretty dress on a hanger.
*small hooks hung horizontally over a dresser to display pretty necklaces.
*just the tape is also great for hanging maps, posters, and pictures.


3. Paper.

I was lucky enough to have both an art supply store and a Paper Source two blocks from my dorm room. We would buy sheets of decorative paper and maps each semester (I now have some of those cheap maps framed in my apartment!). Girls on my floor got pretty creative with this stuff.

*Use large pieces to cover almost an entire wall.
*Hang them diagonally and write a favorite quote across them.
*Origami! My friend Kate has a star on her wall in her apartment now, and it's awesome.
*As a background for favorite pictures.
*Use to cover anything ugly. We covered light fixtures (don't start a fire though!), and a myriad of other ugly things in our dorm room.
*leftovers can go in the front of your class notebook or to a poorer dorm room neighbor.

4. Comfort 

Dorm rooms are often filled with wooden furniture. Soften it up! Make sure to have lots of cozy blankets and pillows for studying, chatting with friends, and the all-important nap. Put down some throw rugs, have framed photos of far away friends and family, and a few favourite things from home.

5. A beverage corner.

Tell me you don't drink more coffee then ever in college! Make sure it's out of a cute mug. My roommate and I had a whole set up on top of our small fridge: coffee pot, electric tea kettle, spoons, etc. Fun coloured hanging mugs on the wall. It was always fun to have girls in for a cup of tea or coffee and a study break.



6. Pretty storage

This goes for both your school supplies/ notebooks (that could be a whole separate post as I spent 4+ years refining my school organization system :) as well as all your stuff. You probably have to pack a lot into a small amount of space. This requires some ingenuity. Some ideas:

*one of my roommates and I put one of the two regulation-dressers into the closet: we had less closet space, but it made for a lot more space in the room.
*Under-the-bed rubbermaid bins. Lifesavers. Label them so you can easily see what's inside.
*Fabric/Paper-covered boxes. For computer cords, extra school supplies, snacks, you name it. Hide the stuff that's not cute!
*Use baskets to hold bigger items: blow dryers, dishes, etc.
*Stacking rubbermaid drawers. These can go in your closet or you can use the top of one for your beverage corner!

7. Light 

As if all that homework isn't already giving you a headache.I don't know if it still exists, but in college, we were all in a Facebook group called "People Against The Use of Flourescent Lighting." Open your blinds, turn off the overhead lights and bring in some ambience!

If you can't light candles in your dorm, Target has some great battery operated candles (some are even scented!). Paper lanterns from IKEA are fun, and get some cheap standing lamps for lots of light. Plus clip on desk lamps and fun beaded lamp shades. Make it cozy!


Twinkle lights: everywhere. These are great for getting ready on those early mornings after a really late night of studying. No one needs to see you looking that tired.

All of the above ideas can be done using things you already have + a shopping trip to IKEA, Walmart, or Target. Have fun!

College friends!


Rach said... Reply To This Comment

Hmmm, I think your dorm room in college was probably much better decorated than mine. Sounds so cozy! I was a stickler for non-flourescent lighting, though, and still love lamps.

Also, that blanket you have on you in the first picture looks beautiful! I like the print.

kate said... Reply To This Comment

This was an awesome post. Why didn't we take more pictures of our rooms in college?!

Anonymous said... Reply To This Comment

Yes, I like your post.
And I tray to make my dorm room on your rules.

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Foam-By-Mail said... Reply To This Comment

Another addition to the dorm room that seems quintessentially college is the bean bag chair. Funky, fun, and space-efficient. Can't beat that!

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