An Interior Designer's Tips for Dorm Room Decorating
In 1900, a pair of freshly minted prep school graduates Frank Roosevelt and Lathrop Brown moved into a suite of rooms in the famous Adams House at Harvard. The future President of the United States and his buddy lived liked veritable kings as compared to today’s average dorm dwellers. While Harvard still offers its lucky inhabitants fireplaced dorm suites, they aren’t likely to be as lavishly furnished as those preppies from yesteryear. Today’s standard dorm rooms, at even the most expensive universities, are boilerplate structures with standard issue twin beds, well used bureaus and chewed up desks. Generally speaking, today’s college students show up with some new bedding and towels, maybe a few posters and their laptops. The only added furnishing might be a mini-fridge.
But what of the student who wishes to live in a space that is more personal than institutional? A space that feels like home yet expresses his or her own personality, interests and style? Most institutions have strict rules when it comes to decorating dorm rooms from bans on mini-lights and candles, repainting walls or draping fabrics. Yet with a little imagination a creative student or parent can create a space that is comfortable, homey and even hip.
The Bed: In most standard dorm rooms, the bed is the main focal point of the space. Instead of standard “bed-in-a-bag” coverings, mix and match separates for a more interesting look. If there is a willing roommate, purchase two different bedding ensembles that work together and then swap the pillow covers or sheets for a coordinated, but not matchy-matchy look. Use sturdy rubber bed risers, available in home stores, to raise the bed for added under-bed storage. Use a bedskirt to hide it all or purchase full bedspreads that reach to the ground. If under-bed storage isn’t required, create a swanky low-slung sofa look by adding extra-large cushions along the wall-side of the bed, propped up between the bed and wall. The cushions can be oversize pillows, floor cushions or even old sofa cushions from an unwanted sofa. Throw in some coordinated toss pillows for added color and comfort.
The Lighting: Stores like Ikea offers stylish and very well priced lighting options from colorful clip-on desk lights to clip-on wall sconces. Designer’s like to say you can never have too much light and it all should be on dimmers for maximum flexibility. Purchase a few extension cords with dimmer switch, available at any hardware store or through Amazon, and you will have instant and inexpensive lighting options for any mood.
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