Saturday, April 6


Our youngest is about to graduate from high school and will be heading to college in the Fall. Our last chick-a-dee to leave our feathered nest. It's been over 7 years since I helped decorate a dorm room and quite frankly I haven't given much thought to color schemes, inventive storage ideas, comfortable and space saving seating and the latest greatest small vacs. To my surprise, we have already been getting little flyers from Target, Walmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond in an effort to sell items earlier instead of later for so many new college students and their parents. Dorm Room decorating has carved out a nice little niche for itself in the world of designers and sellers of all things college. I'm not sure how long this has been going on, I don't remember being bombarded in 2007 when our son was a college freshman. However, I do remember dorm room decorating being a lot of fun and a great chance to be creative....FYI: most guys don't care whether or not their pillow matches their new suede comforter...just sayin'. I wonder if HGTV has a Dorm Room Decorating Challenge? If not, it should be, don't you agree?  

     The Average College Dorm Room

With a little fabric and simple sewing you can turn a drab dorm room into your own personalized home away from home. Black and white with a pop of color seems to be very popular for girl's rooms.  I love this room mainly because the accent color isn't pink! Ms.E doesn't DO pink. I also like the wall treatment. This furniture arrangement allows for some  much needed privacy.
Rev up your jigsaw, it's custom headboard time! SUCH AN EASY PROJECT! A little cutting, sanding and paint can turn an ordinary dorm room into a classy boutique-style room. Find a headboard shape that is characteristic of your child, after the cutting, sanding and painting, add a monogram for a nice touch. These girls obviously know one another....and isn't it smart? I love it. The matching lamps are an unexpected nice addition to their room.

These girls were smart and made good use of what little space they had. Nice futon for sitting OR never know when you might have a guest or two. It happens. 
Well, you knew I had to throw a little pink in.... This room has some nice features. The added cushion to the storage trunk for extra seating and  black & white fabric trim and tiebacks to the curtains are clever. Zebra and pink dorm room decor is EVERYWHERE, so if your daughter likes to be unique, she should head in a different direction.

Playing off the Tiffany's theme, this dorm room's decor is very tasteful. Pretty window treatment and the mismatched lamps are a nice creative touch.

Sophisticated and stylish, any college student would love living in this space. It reminds me of a small NYC apartment for the young professional set.
I LOVE THIS ROOM'S DECOR! I am a huge fan of the brown and turquoise  combination. Great wall decals help cover up  and soften the cinder block walls. Sewing simple panels into bed skirts is a wonderful decorating idea and resourceful storage as well. Your student can hide a multitude of sins under their bed and it's out of sight leaving an uncluttered room. Check out the card board ingenious!

Check out this fun & funky chandelier....adorable touch. 

Smart room for guys. It's Pottery Barn....would you expect any less from the PB people? Stack those beds for extra floor space. A space in which to be productive, live, play, think and socializing.

This student has great taste with these gold accents and perfectly layered bedding.  It seems like freshman girls really load up their rooms. This one is a bit more sparse, neat and clean....she must be an upper-classman!

Holy CATS! Talk about a fantastic space....I wanna go!

May I just say....SERIOUSLY?? Does the abominable snowman live here?

I do love this room.... and as much as my mother's heart hopes my child will be organized and neat while attending college, realistically, I know it is NOT happening. However, this ultra- contemporary room is sparse without all the distractions of college life. That's a good thing...the Swedes know their stuff. If your student is OCD, THIS ROOMS FOR YOU!
Well.....hello there! Although I adore this guys dorm room, it is SO unrealistic. But isn't it great???
PB strikes again! These giant pink cushions can sit up, like in the picture, or flat. You can find them all over the Internet or Bed, Bath & Beyond. They are the perfect accent for this rooms decor, adding a pop of color.
I love this 'Kermit the Frog' green room. One of the easiest ways to add sparkle to a dorm room is with a cozy rug. Kermit would be proud!
Moms and Dads do your best and be JOYFUL in doing so....but don't be surprised if this is what you find on Parent's Day! Now this is realistic!
Obviously dorm decorating has become a booming business and no wonder, college kids and their parents spent $3.6 billion last year to decorate dorm rooms. If you have to buy things for your student's 'room away from home', why not make it as special as you can? Use the same budget saving ideas you use in your own home decor. It's a great chance to do a project with your son or daughter. Maybe cutting out a headboard with a jigsaw and either painting a funky design on it or upholster it in a print that matches their comforter. Really an easy DIY project that will make your students room stand out and make a statement about who they are. I will admit, my son had absolutely no interest in his dorm room decor. I picked everything out. We went with a khaki and chocolate brown theme starting with a contemporary chocolate brown suede comforter. If your child does not share your 'dorm room vision', don't take it personally. Remember they are young adults going out on their own (insert tear here), let them show their individuality and independence. Your son or daughter will be using this decor for the next few years, it's easier AND cheaper to let them make their own decisions now. 

Decorating dorm rooms from my experience as a college mom, for what it's worth, my advice would be as follows:
  • Encourage your child to start an open line of communication with their new roommate NOW! Facebook it. Try to get them to decide on decor....color, theme and layout of the room in general. If the roommate has no interest in decorating then just worry about your child's half of the room. 
  • Storage can be attractive.  Look for things functional and beautiful.  Jewelry and scarves become "artwork" when hung on racks or hooks. Same thing with caps and jersey's for guys. Colorful sneakers can look good in clear storage boxes. Storage boxes also come in great colors and prints.  Even clothes hampers can be cute.
  • If the room has window blinds, don't stop there. Window treatments don't have to be standard curtains. How about a grass table skirt from a party supply store as a valance over a long window. Add colorful party lights to it and have a party on the lido deck.
  • Try to get quality bedding for a good price.  Your child will be spending a lot of time sitting, laying, eating and studying on that bed. Try to find a color or print that will hold up to dorm life. Sturdy, colorful comforters are very inexpensive and help to make a bold statement.
  • Wall decals have come a long way in the last few years and what better way to dress the boring walls most dorm rooms have?  Hanging fabric or an interesting rug not only looks good but may keep the noise out or in!
  • Add a taste of home with a favorite pillow, stuffed animal or several posters. In moderation this decorating technique can actually be an ice breaker. Our son had his favorite vacation photos enlarged and hung them on his wall. It was a real conversation starter when his dorm mates recognize where they were taken. 
  • Enjoy the process and be prepared to spend some cash.  I have already started  buying things for our daughters dorm room. I don't want August to roll around and faint from sticker shock! Start collecting those 20% off coupons for Bed, Bath and Beyond. 
Take it from me, if you think the high school years fly by, wait until you experience the college years.  I know it made me feel better that my children's new home was a welcoming and functioning space where they could learn and laugh.  Makes my heart smile!


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