by Interior Designer Crystal Spencer
Starting college or returning to dorm life this Fall? To make the most of your little shoebox room, it should be both functional and comfortable. An efficient room is all about good space planning and being wise with storage and organization. To create a stylish and comfy dorm room that feels like home, include these decor items and tips:
Use layered bedding with plenty of throw pillows. Buy pillows with zippers and replace poly-fill pillow inserts with more comfy down/feather inserts. Swap a couple pillows with your roommate for a more coordinated and balanced look. Shopping tip: Etsy.com is a great place to find nice, reasonably priced pillow covers. JoAnn's and local fabric stores sell down/feather pillow inserts.
Wall decals, photo collages, murals or wall paper that are removable wall can banish boring walls. Product websites: WallPops.com; EasyWallz.com; Roommatesdecor.com; MuralsYourWay.com.
Washi tape can also be be used to create designs or stripes on walls or doors; or tackle an artistic DIY wall designs using ideas from Pinterest.
A large textured or patterned area rug adds softness and comfort. Layering fun rugs on top of a carpet remnant is an inexpensive way to add style.
Curtain panels make a room! Hang them over windows and/or open closets using decorative tension rods. Shopping tip: Target, Wal-Mart, and JC Penney carry tension rods with decorative finials. Roomdividersnow.com carry wide-width tension rods.
Storage ottomans and poufs add color and texture to your space and provide extra seating when friends visit.
Three light sources are helpful. Use desk and bedside table lamps along with a thin floor lamp, or floor lamp with shelving. Add rope, patio or string lights for extra ambiance.
Use a wall-leaner mirror, or free-standing jewelry cabinet with mirrored front; both are useful and pretty.
Including a tall, thin faux (or live) floor plant or a small faux flower arrangement really adds some life to your space.
Have fun and make the room your own!
Room Details. If possible, obtain information (measurements, furnishings, etc.) about your dorm room ahead of time. It will make shopping easier.
Get Inspired. Most retailers have dorm decorating ideas and tips on their websites. Pinterest, Houzz and YouTube have loads of inspiration and DIY ideas. Specialty sites like
Dormify, decor-2-ur-door.com, American Made Dorm & Home, and Havenly offer ideas, style quizzes, products; some even offer online designer services.
Design Direction. Since you will likely have white/beige boring walls in your room, choose whether to place color and patterns up on the walls and windows, and keep your bedding more neutral (with pops of color); or, whether to keep the walls more neutral and put to the focal colors and patterns on your bedding.
Roommate Coordination. If possible, communicate with your roommate-to-be about decor style, direction and color preferences in order to plan a coordinated look in your room. Even friends don't always have the same decor style, so don't feel the pressure to be matchy-matchy, unless you want to be.
Local Authors & Experts for St. Johns Magazine