Category Archives: College Living

Dorm Decorating Part 3 {Colorful Storage}

In this final post of my Dorm Decorating Series, I’m tackling the subject of storage — a necessity for all college students.

{herald-mail.com}

Keeping your things in order will help you to think clearly, study better and get ready for class {or a party} quicker.  Because your dorm will be tight on space, things can easily get unorganized so it’s important to maximize storage for:

  • toiletries
  • linens
  • clean clothes
  • dirty clothes
  • school supplies
  • food
  • jewelry/accessories/make-up/hair stuff
  • shoes

Shoe boxes tucked away will work just fine for some items.  But you’ll want to have other things readily available and in plain sight.  That’s when your storage containers also become your room’s accessories, so look for pieces that will bring color and style to your space…like buckets:

{bhg}

{A trio of pink buckets ties in with this room’s cheery color scheme.  From usc.edu.}

Buckets are a very inexpensive way to stay organized {you can find them in the dollar store} and they come in a bunch of different sizes, so you can use them for holding anything from shoes to pens and paperclips.

{theshoppingmama}

Footlockers are a staple when it comes to storing out-of-season clothes and shoes.  Fortunately, these days your color choices go beyond black and army green.  Now, you can choose from pink, purple, lime and other fun colors available at deckmydorm.com:

Collapsible Storage is another great idea for small dorms.  These sturdy bins {from seejanework.com} are fashionable enough to display but they also fold flat so you can tuck them away when not in use.

Metal Bins also work well for holding items that you’ll want to have easy access to.  These bins {from the Macbeth collection} come in a ton of colors and patterns, and you can also add a custom label or monogram:

If  your dorm has a community shower, you’ll need a good Shower Tote to carry your bath items back and forth.  Your tote will get a lot of use and it will get wet, so avoid one made from fabric.  Instead, go with a tote that is made from plastic and has holes so water can drain, like these flexible totes from thecontainerstore.com:

A small dorm means a small closet but you can maximize your space by using clothes organizers and over-the-door hangers.  To save money, look for an Organization Kit that includes several items for one price like this dorm organization kit from dormsmart.com:

Finally, it is very important that you have a neat desk/message area because this will be your ‘academic and social’ command center.  Be creative, colorful and label everything!  Here is a great example from mademoisellemichael:

Another idea for your desk area — Secure clipboards to the wall with velcro, and use them for displaying pictures, reminders and notes:

{dormtodiefor}

Dry-erase wall decals and calenders will also help to keep you organized…and re-useable equals eco-friendly:

{wallpops}

{pbteen}

Well, that does it for my Dorm Decorating Series!  I hope these ideas have inspired you to create a colorful and comfortable college home.

CLICK HERE for the link to all three posts which include:  Bedding Basics, Wall Decor and Storage Solutions.  Bookmark this link so you can reference back to it or send it to a friend.  Have a great school year!

Dorm Decorating Part 2 {Wall Decor And More}

In Part 1 of my Dorm Decorating Series, I focused on bedding basics because the look of your bed will set the tone for the rest of your room.  In this post, I’ll touch on colorful and inexpensive ways to decorate your walls and customize your personal items.  So, let’s begin!

{lovelyundergrad}

In most cases, you will not be allowed to paint your dorm walls, but don’t let that stop you from adding color to your space.  One option is to use scrapbook paper.  You can create a collage like in the picture at the top {curbly}, or design a border.  You can really have fun with this idea — use your favorite colors, be creative and make a statement.

{cosmoafter}

Other Options:  If you prefer bigger sheets of paper, try using construction paper or large paint sample sheets.  Also, you can cut out shapes using any type of paper, including contact paper:

{hgtv}

And for a finished look, hang framed pieces of scrapbook paper to create a picture gallery {Tip:  Be sure to include photos of your parents, too!}.

{apopofpretty}

As I mentioned in my last post, Duck Tape now comes in really cool colors and patterns, and they even have a College Brand.

In this dorm {posted at hgtv.com}, a student used fabric paint to create the flower design on her comforter.  Then she used Duck tape to make the same flower design on the walls.  Very clever!

{another angle of the room and another design}

You can also create an original piece of artwork — with Duck tape!  Who knew?

{build your own home}

{Duck tape is also great for personalizing your stuff.  Photo from michaels.com}

{deckmydorm}

Washi tape is a very hot item these days.  If you’re not familiar with it, washi tape is really just printed masking tape that comes in very pretty colors and patterns, and different widths.  It’s made from natural fibers, and it’s strong but removable.  Some styles are also slightly transparent, so you can see through them.

{cutetape.com has a large variety of super-cute washi tape}

{bespokepress}

{vintageprettypearl}

You can decorate just about anything with washi tape.  It’s easy to cut with scissors and some brands come in skinny widths, so you can use it to embellish smaller items like clothespins {shown above} or even the keys on your laptop:

{I’m gonna steal this idea!  Photo from hernewleaf.com}

Up next in Part 3:  Storage and Organization

Dorm Decorating Part 1 {Bedding Basics}

Decorating a dorm or off-campus apartment is exciting but it can also be challenging — especially for first year students.  So, I’ve decided to write a 3-part series of posts dedicated to dorm decor!  If you’re a college shopper {or you know someone who is}, read on and check back for colorful ideas and useful tips on how to personalize your home-away-from-home.

Keep in mind that when you arrive on campus, your dorm will probably look something like this:

…so believe me when I say that color is going to be your best friend!  That’s why this first post focuses on your bed.  Bedding is the easiest way to bring color into a dorm.  Your choice of bedding will also make a big statement about your personal style, and that can be inspiration for decorating the rest of the room — or least your side of the room.  Check out these colorful bedding ideas, done by students:

{luuux}

{askdecor}

{hgtv}

Today’s college students want chic spaces and many stores are answering the call.  Pottery Barn has introduced pbdorm.com, which provides easy, one-stop shopping for bedding and other dorm essentials.  Deckmydorm.com offers unique bedding sets that look custom-made but don’t have the custom price tag.

{pbdorm.com}

{Love this for the guys -  Rugby duvet at pbdorm.com}

{We’ll Always Have Paris bedding by deckmydorm.com}

Your bedding is the best way to set the tone for your room’s color scheme.  And of course, you can find other great styles from the larger, familiar stores.  I’m so glad to see many colorful options this year!  Here are a couple that I like:

{Malibu Surfer set from jcpenney.com}

{Leah reversible comforters from bedbathandbeyond.com}

Before you buy your comforter, quilt, duvet and/or linens, be sure to confirm the size of your bed.  Many colleges now use Twin XL beds, which are 5 inches longer than a standard twin bed, so you may need to purchase Twin XL blankets and sheets.  Here are some other tips:

  • Contact Your Roommate:  If you have a roommate, get in touch with her as soon as possible.  Many colleges will provide the name and contact information for your roomie.  Then you can have a phone conversation, Skype or message each other on Facebook to discuss decorating your dorm.  Send each other links of bedding that you like and make a decision before you report to campus.  You’ll be ahead of the game.
  • Bring A Mattress Protector:  The mattress on your bed will not be very thick or provide much support.  It will also be hard.  So unless that’s OK with you, be sure to buy a mattress protector for added comfort.  Also, because college mattresses are used by different students from year to year, you’ll want to have added protection, especially if you have allergies.  The Allergy Luxe mattress protector is a good one.
  • Layer Your Bedding:  You want your bed to keep you cool in warm weather and keep you warm when it’s cold outside, so you’ll need options.  Starting from the bottom, layer your bed with sheets, a thin blanket or quilt, and a heavy comforter on top.  Then you can use as much or as little covering as you need.

And another thing:  If you discover that your bed doesn’t have a headboard or you wish it were bigger, don’t worry!  You can create one with a vinyl wall decal like this purple tufted headboard sticker from wayfair.com:

{NOTE:  wall decals work best on flat wall surfaces}

Or, if you’re an ambitious DIYer and you’d rather construct a headboard {and show-off a little}, here is a really neat idea from karapaslaydesigns.com:

As part of a dorm makeover, Kara cut and stained a piece of luan board to create a headboard.  The graphic design is actually blue painter’s tape that was spray painted gold.

Isn’t this room fabulous?  Hard to believe it’s a dorm!  The neutral palette is rich and warm but if you crave color, you can paint the painter’s tape any color you want and repeat the color in your accessories.  Here are two ideas that I came up with:

TIP:  Instead of painting painter’s tape for the headboard, you can save time by using decorative Duck Tape, which now comes in really fun colors and patterns:

Speaking of tape, using it is an easy way to decorate your dorm walls and other furniture pieces, among other things.  That and more in Part 2 of my Dorm Decorating Series!