Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Room of the Month - Dorm Room 101

College Freshman Year.  If this is your first year of college, you know the butterflies you are feeling.    McKenzie Stapp is one of my small group girls is headed off to Baylor University this Fall.  Thus, she is the perfect candidate for our first room on the month….


McKenzie and I after chatting about life and her college future….

Top 5 tips on decorating dorm rooms:

1) Edit! -  Remember its small.  Smaller than you think.  Seriously.  You just don’t have room for everything you are hoping to bring, hang up, etc. So be strategic.  Avoid clutter.  Get measurement or a picture of your room from your university.  Then, talk a ton to your future roommate immediately and avoid any duplicates.

Unfortunately, this is what most students will be working with.  But at least you have a blank slate to make your own!

2)  Storage – This is the time of your life you need to get organized.  I’m not just taking class time.  Where will your books go?  How can you best arrange your clothing?  Your makeup?  You shower stuff (even when your roommate is fast asleep).  It’s important to consider every piece of space.  The space above the bookshelf.  Under your bed?  Will they allow you to loft your beds?  What can go on top of the refrigerator?  Consider raising the beds, stacking plastic crates, buying closet organizers and investing in cheap plastic hooks.
 I love these white stands from IKIKEA I actually have two in my master bedroom.  They are perfect for anywhere, especially when storage and budget are key.  And remember, stack stuff to the ceiling!  Make use of all the space.

3) Scrapbook Paper, Fabric and Posters Oh My! – Some dorm rooms you can paint others you can’t.  But remember, you can always use posters, maps, wallpaper (no officially hung), fabric and scrapbook paper to add a little punch your walls.  Consider frames, French memo boards, a laundry line, magnets and dry erase boards too!  Sports Illustrated will work fine too!
I love this method of stacking books. An ugly desk is easily hidden with a piece of fabric. Don’t’ forget your add some zing to your bulletin board.  And take mom up on her offer of the funky chair, after all you can always paint it red!

4)  Good lighting – Sure there is an overhead light and a light by the sink.  But what if your roommate is asleep?  A good task light near a desk or bed will come in handy!  Or even a string of fun lights around your bed.
I love this clip on light from Pottery Barn Teen.

5) Sleep!  - Sleep is key in college, so think through what you need to get a really good night sleep.  Start with the window, perhaps blinds or drapery to shut out the early morning light, as many dorm rooms don’t have anything on the windows.  Task lighting for late night studying.  A rug on the floor for the winter when it cold.  A fan for those hot days.  Fantastic bedding that makes you feel at home.  Consider a duvet that can can wash occasionally without having to wash the entire comforter.   And a pillow that will go the distance!  And maybe even a twin feather bed from between you, the sheet & mattress pad and that awful mattress you get stuck with. And finally, the comforter you have always dreamed of…because you will use it for years! (I actually STILL have my pink United Color of Benetton comforter from college, it gets used on camping trips and slumber parties…I still can’t part with it!)
Here is what McKenzie's picked out for bedding.

* IKEA – Great for nightstand, shelving and organization
* The Container Store – Organization of course!  They even have a checklist you can download. 
* Pottery Barn Teen – Great for task lighting and bedding
* Target – Bedding and school supplies
* Hobby Lobby – Scrapbook paper and cheap fabric

AN INTERVIEW WITH MCKENZIE…and now what advice does our college freshman have for us.  Here are a few questions I asked her...
1) What do you think of when you talk about decorating your dorm room?
-When I think of decorating my dorm room, the first thing that comes to mind (besides color scheme) is definitely organization. Every dorm flyer I’ve received advertises some sort of organizing contraption and actually having a reason to buy one of those makes me excited! Up until now I haven’t needed to cram my stuff into small places so strangely enough, that’s usually what I end up talking about.
Get organized with stuff like this from the container store….

2) How do you think you will use the space?
-I am going to try to be as clutter-free as possible, so in extra spaces I will have little things in containers and organizers. But there’s a huge bulletin board for each roommate to decorate so I know where I will be putting most of my artistic effort! :)
3) What are the top 5 things you will purchase specifically for your room?
-New bedding (thanks Carla!), closet organizer, a very cute rug, mini-fridge, and a laundry basket. I got towels and décor for graduation gifts so all I need to buy are basics.
Like this mini refrigerator from Sam’s Club

4) Is this the same 5 things your boyfriend would list?
-Well, seeing as how my boyfriend isn’t really sure how dorm rooms work, I’ve had to help him out a little bit. His initial list consisted of new bedding, a laptop, and a Nerf basketball hoop (that’s Nathanael for ya!). I’m thinking he will need some kind of drawers to stuff clothes in and a giant can of air freshener :)
And if you don’t think men care, check out this New York Times Article.  Yes, he will be an interior designer….

5) What makes a dorm room attractive?
-I think dorm rooms that bring out personality are the most attractive! You might have the rocker chick on one side and the beach lover on the other, but it’s all about being comfortable and showing your style by how you decorate.

6) What are you worried about most when it comes to your dorm room?
-Trying to remember everything I need to take with me to college overwhelms me the most. I need to keep in mind that if I forget something, I can always go to the store in Waco. For some reason I have in my mind that if I leave an object here, the world will end. But I know it will all work out even if I have to take additional trips to Walmart :)

And you’ve heard it…straight from the college freshman’s mouth.  I hope that helps you plan for the college freshman you know best!  Next month our room will be – The Entry Way!

Until next week,


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