Decorator gives tips on dorm, student housing design

05/05/2014 1:19 PM

05/05/2014 1:20 PM

What insight or advice would you give to students who are trying to decorate on a budget?

Mix, don’t match! Picking up pieces on sale that coordinate with each other can be more budget friendly than buying an entire set.

Shop second-hand stores for gently used items. You don’t need heirloom quality furniture for your dorm.

Always think multifunctional, compact and mobile when shopping for dorm or student apartment furniture. For example, a file cabinet can do double duty as a nightstand.

Loft your bed for even more space. Create your lounging area below it.

Door space is as good as floor space. Use hanging organizers to take advantage of this valuable real estate in a small space. These can hold everything from sunglasses, shoes, socks, hair accessories, gloves and umbrellas.

What key items should students make sure they have in their dorm?

Comfortable bedding is a must and desk/drawer organizing accessories keep things neat and divided.

Bring some of your favorite things to display. A bulletin board filled with snapshots of friends and family can help stave off homesickness. Throw in some thumbtacks and you have additional jewelry storage.

Add rugs to cover the cold, hard dorm flooring.

Adjustable closet rods can create double the amount of clothing storage.

Mini vacuums are essential. Since this will be your home away from home, keeping it as neat as possible will help create a comfortable environment in which to study and relax.

If a student has a roommate who has very different taste, how should they try to work around that?

Get to know what you and your roommate both like and go shopping together if possible.

A fabric display board allows each roommate to express their own designs and passions by having images of people and things they love on their board.

The two sides of the dorm room don’t have to match exactly. They can have colors in common but represent different styles or they can be similar styles with different colors. It’s important for each of you to express your unique personality and taste, while still maintaining a cohesive blend of styles.

Do you have any other design tips for students decorating a dorm or student apartment?

Choose decor that is durable enough for dorm life, but nothing that will be too difficult to move or store when it's time to move out for the summer.

Decorate drab walls with large posters or wall decals to liven up the room, mounting with easily-removable adhesives.

Storage, storage, storage!

Bed risers allow storage under beds, if your bed is not lofted. Under-bed storage bins can hold a multitude of items.

Storage with drawers (vs. open storage) keeps the room tidy.

Hampers keep dirty clothes off the floor.

Shoe racks create more room in closets.

A small trash can for each of you keeps down clutter.

A small TV mounted on the wall takes up less space than placing it on a stand (if wall mounting in your dorm/apartment is allowed).

A tote for toiletries makes easy work of transporting your supplies when sharing a bath.

Stick with neutrals for all the big furniture such as bedding and chairs and accent with bright, bold colors. When you tire of your accent pieces, trade with other students so that you both have a fresh, new look.

Brighten up your dorm with lamps; clear holiday lights strung around the room can be a fun addition, as long as approved by your dorm.

Adding a floor-length mirror allows an extra place to get ready in the mornings and also makes your room appear larger.

Dorm living can be challenging, but also lots of fun, as you’re experiencing new things every day and creating great memories with new friends. A little planning and organizing when you first move in can help to ensure the ideal combination of an efficient study space and a comfortable living space during one of the most exciting times of your life.

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