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Turn Their Dorm Room From Drab To Fab
Dorm rooms, ho-hum boring. 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 and, if like us you are flying that can be a challenge. I will say Southwest Airlines made the challenge easier than expected. I gave my daughter a weight limit for the airplane and it was a challenge, but we did it!!
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.
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 nice. Boys aren’t always interested in throw pillows, but school blankets and posters help to dress up their rooms too.
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. Some students (well, their parents who hate seeing the clutter under the bed) will use 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. Some dorms provide a hutch over the desk, but if not, they can easily be bought. They will need a place for their books, a printer, a desk lamp, and possibly 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.
Clever and Cute
There are so many clever things to help organize these days. Most girls really like to jazz it up and why not? If possible suggest they check with their roommate before you begin multiple trips to Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. Did I mention that you should start collecting those coupons now? Sign up for their emails too. They will send you a 20% off entire purchase coupon one time a year. You could also become a Beyond+ member for $29 per year and get 20% off the entire purchase and free shipping so you do not need to carry your stack of coupons around. It’s not always the same time of year, but it is coveted by many college moms. Together they may decide on specific colors or a theme.
My daughter has turned to Etsy to purchase many of her dorm decor 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, there are cinder block walls. HaveUHeard has teamed up with TapestryGirls to bring you great options at reasonable prices. Just use code HAVEUHEARD at check out for an additional $5 off your order.
It can be difficult to hang things because they will have to sign something after the move-in inspection, but no worries; because Command hooks and strips have you covered and come in pretty and functional, as well as clear forms. HaveUHeard that you need to apply rubbing alcohol first before hanging the command strip or it won’t adhere? Candles are not allowed in the dorms, but there are so many cute 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. 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 IU Housing supplies are needed.
Don’t forget to read our blog An Insider’s Guide to Campus Dorm Living at IU.
I haven’t forgotten about the boys; there just isn’t as much to say, other than it will be much easier. 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. Hoosier paraphernalia is usually a hit too and Etsy has some great items including a rustic wood wall sign. We know the guys will love some of the IU decor from Bed, Bath & Beyond including this recycled metal 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 Bloomington stores if possible and bring tools and double-sided tape. 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 our complete list of the top items they need for college, check out our New Student Shopping Guide.
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