Home Sweet Dorm
You may be surprised at how one can transition a mass-produced, industrial-looking dorm room into a warm and inviting room or suite. And there is plenty of help out there to spur ideas and help you organize. Organization is the primary concern, because after all if your kids are like mine, they will feel the need to take almost all their stuff from home to settle them in as though there are no laundry facilities or stores nearby.
Pinterest seems to be the holy grail for dorm ideas. There are so many there, that you will feel pressured and anxious to make your students’ room look award-winning. But fear not! Stick to the important subject of organization first. Of course, decorating a girl’s room can be very different from a boy, but the basics remain the same. Either way, check the bed size of the dorm your child will be living in. They are usually twin extra-long beds and many stores start selling these sheet sets over the summer. 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, we highly recommend a mattress encasement. It protects from bugs, allergies and who knows what else. My student really appreciated a mattress topper. I invested in a thicker one of better quality which made the commercial mattress much more comfortable. A fun throw pillow or two is always fun. Boys aren’t always interested in throw pillows, but school blankets and posters help to dress up their rooms too.
Some dorms allow for the beds to be turned into bunk style. This makes for more living space in the room. If not, purchasing bed risers can create useful space under the bed for things like plastic drawers or a mini-fridge. Check to see if the 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. 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 Chic
Most girls 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. 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.
Lately, covering the walls in big tapestries is the rage. 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. It is actually a great idea because in some of the older dorms the walls are pretty beat up. 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. 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, especially since the floors are either cold linoleum or drab carpet.
We like Wayfair for their wide selection of decor and goods. There is a good reason that their tagline is “A Zillion Things Home.” Simply type dorm room in the search box and start shopping.
Of course, an online store aptly named Overstock simply means you can find some great deals. They have an entire back to campus selection that covers every possible category. Type dorm into a search box and get ready to shop.
Another popular item is string lights. My favorite is the ones that have clips to hold photos too. You can even purchase headboards, which look pretty but be sure your daughter and 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 hang on a door and 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 virtual tours of decorated dorms on YouTube which can help you to “see” decoration ideas. Also, consider the type of dorm your child will be in. There are different styles ranging from the traditional, suite, women only, and apartment style. Check the recommended items to have here.
I haven’t forgotten about the guys out there; there just isn’t as much to say. My friends with boys tell me that it takes half the time to set up a boy’s room than to set up a girl’s. 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. Bull paraphernalia is usually a hit too and Etsy has some great items including a rustic wood wall sign. Bulls paraphernalia is usually a hit too.
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 a local Tampa store if possible and bring tools, double-sided tape, and patience.
For our complete list of the top items they need for college, click here.
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