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You may be surprised at how one can transition a mass-produced, industrial-looking dorm room into a warm and inviting room/suite. And there is plenty of help out there to spur ideas and help you organize. Organization is a primary concern because if your kids are anything like mine, they will take enough stuff from home to settle them in as though there are no laundry facilities or stores in the vicinity.
Pinterest alone has enough ideas to make your head spin. Of course, decorating for a girl’s room is drastically different from a boy, but both will need a little extra organization. Either way, check the size bed their dorm will provide. They are usually those extra-long twin beds and many stores start selling these sheet sets over the summer just for this purpose. The bed-in-a-bag can be a great choice as it provides many pieces at once – and they all match. I even came across one at Target that came with towels and a laundry bag too. In addition, though, we highly recommend a mattress encasement. It protects from bugs, allergies and who knows what else. Some kids appreciate a mattress topper of some sort; remember this is where they will be living (and sleeping) for months at a time. A fun throw pillow or two is always fun. My son wasn’t particularly interested in the throw pillow, but he liked the FSU blanket someone gave him for graduation, which both dressed up his bed and was useful. Another great place to get ideas (and shop) is Dormify, a one-stop-shop for small space decorating and inspiration designed for the fashion-minded. They simplify the decor shopping experience by creating exclusive products for the style-obsessed, to make decorating stress-free and fun.
The more popular retailers to check out for all things college include Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Walmart, but we have found some other great places to shop for dorm decor including easy-to-shop bundles and dorm inspiration is Pottery Barn Teen (PB Teen).
Clever and Cute
There are so many clever things to help organize these days. Consider buying bed risers as they can give students extra storage space under their bed (perhaps an under-the-bed box or some plastic drawers at the least). Some kids like to put a mini-fridge under there too. Check to see if their dorm provides one. Recently we came across Dorm Room Bed Skirt Panels which are long and can cover all the junk that ends up getting stored below the bed. There are fun ottomans that provide both storage and extra seating space for when their friends come to hang out. Check to see if the dorm provides a hutch over their desk, but if not they can be bought easily too. They will need a place for their books, a printer, a desk lamp, or even a microwave or coffee maker. There are clever little shelves that attach to the side of the bed that are rather useful to hold their phone, glasses, drinks, etc.
Most girls really like to jazz it up and why not? If possible suggest they check with their roommate before you begin your multiple shopping trips. My daughter has turned to Etsy to purchase many of her dorm decor from tapestries to wall art, from decorative pillows to a hanging light photo display. Etsy is a great place to shop as many items are more reasonably priced than the national retailers and they have unique items. Simply search dorm decor and start your search. Lately, covering the walls in big tapestries is the rage. It is actually a great idea, because in some of the older dorms, like Salley, there are cinderblock walls. This also makes it difficult to hang things, but no worries; because Command hooks have you covered. They have many pretty, as well as functional, things. Candles are not allowed in the dorms, but there are many great LED candles out there now. Area rugs also warm up a room, particularly since the floors are all cold tile.
Another popular item is string lights. My favorite is the ones that have clips to hold photos too. It is even possible to buy headboards, which look pretty, but before you purchase this, be sure your daughter and her roommate don’t intend to bunk the beds or put them on risers. Girls always seem to need a long mirror. Check out the ones that open to store jewelry and/or accessories.
If they know their roommate’s name, a custom dorm room sign is a great way to make them feel at home.
There are YouTube videos for those of you that are feeling creative. My daughter is pretty crafty, so this one gave us some good inspiration. I even found this one that is specific to Florida State, which reminded me that there are different kinds of dorms throughout campus ranging from suite to corridor to apartment-style. Some dorms can fit desks in the bedrooms; others have to keep them in the common area of their suite. When you find out which dorm your student will be living in you can check out the floorplans as well as get an idea of what FSU Housing supplies right here.
I haven’t forgotten our sons; there just isn’t as much to say. It probably took us three times the amount of time to set up our daughter’s room compared to our son. Dormify introduced a guy’s collection which is worth checking out. Basically, they will need the same essentials, but as far as décor goes, most boys are happy with a poster or two and possibly a flag or banner. Nole paraphernalia is usually a hit too and Etsy has some great items including a rustic wood wall sign. My only other advice is to start shopping early, remember hooks to hang the shower curtain (and be sure at least one person brings one) have items on hold to pick up at local Tallahassee stores if possible and bring tools and double-sided tape.
For our complete list of the top items they need for college, click here.
As for recommended carpet sizes, FSU recommends the following carpet size to best fit in the dorms:
6 x 9″: Salley
9 x 12″: Broward, Bryan, Cawthon, Gilchrist, Jennie Murphree, Wildwood
10 x 12″: Azalea, DeGraff, Deviney, Dorman, Landis, Magnolia, Reynolds
Want to know more details about everything from the mattress size to what furniture comes in each room to carpeting, click here for all the FAQs. For specific furniture measurements for the dorms, click here.
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