Things changed a lot in the last month and my daughter will now be staying home to go to community college. YEAH, no $17k loan right out the gate. Yes, lots of blog posts there I have in draft and really need to get done.
But months knowing she was going off to the U meant quite a bit of research. No reason to let the research go to waste. It’s late since I’m sure all the kids have started, but if you have a senior then you can start planning now.
On move-in day at college, all of the rooms start out looking the same: bland, generic and beige or brick. The institution-provided desks, chairs and dressers are boring at best and scuffed and scratched at worst.
Talk to your roommate during the summer to plan your room decorations. That way, you can set it up easily and quickly, and start settling in to your “home away from home.”
Matching twin xl comforter sets will look nice, but you might see the same combination in all your friends’ rooms. Look for reversible comforters with a solid color on one side so you can show some personality with pillows.
Now if you are more like my daughter and I, matching comforters is just too cutesy. We were actually going for plain comforters and a general color scheme. She bought black because she LOVES to accessorize.
Pillows are a big reason why she wanted a black comforter. When they had their color scheme she could go crazy with the pillows and they can be made for cheap.
Easy throw pillows and shams can be made from pillowcases and sheets. Look at yard sales or thrift shops for retro patterns that will coordinate yet add some pop to your comforter.
No-sew fringed pillows made from polar fleece material may seem outdated, but making them with your new school colors is still popular. If you and your roommate each have one with your first initial on it, that will help tie in the decor of your room.
Pillows made from favorite concert or sports team t-shirts are a colorful way to remember good times. They are also fun conversation starters when people stop by your room. Or some of your old high school tshirts would be fun and add a bit of home.
Dorm windows are probably going to come with shades or blinds.
Twin flat sheets make easy no-sew curtain panels. Simply thread the hem pocket through tension rods, which require no tools or installation. Choose sheets that coordinate with your bedding, or go for sheer panels. I’m a big advocate for poppin’ tags and you can find some really good deals on panels at your local thrift store.
Tie-backs can be made from all kinds of fun materials: contrasting ribbons, graduation cords, men’s neckties, bandanas, costume jewelry or Mardi Gras beads. Get the adhesive-backed hooks that don’t damage walls to anchor a tie-back that reflects your style.
Dorm floors are usually cold, beige tile. A carpet will add warmth, both to the feel of the room and to your feet in the morning.
The best carpet color will be one that can disguise dirt and spills. Choose an inexpensive rug that you can discard at the end of the year. For style, each roommate may also want a fun, fluffy rug (2 feet x 3 feet) next to their own bed. Check outlet stores for great prices on rugs. Especially if you don’t mind odd colors.
Dorm rooms have horrible light, plain and simple. There are limited surfaces for placing lamps, as well as the need to be considerate of sleeping roommates. This makes lighting a challenge.
Simple white Christmas lights can be used creatively to add both light and glamour to a dorm room. You can make chandeliers or individual lanterns from heavy paper, such as wallpaper samples, to arrange on the small white lights. Paint chips can also be assembled to make funky lamps. Just be careful of fire hazards.
You’ll definitely want a small lamp you can clip or stand somewhere by the bed. Your options will depend on the furniture in your room. Then you also MUST have a desk lamp for doing homework. Use plain lampshades and think about using paints (fabric or metal) to design something unique in your color scheme.
Vinyl wall decals are the perfect removable decorating option. You can personalize your room with quotes, faux wallpaper, cut-out designs like frames, bicycles and flowers, sports team logos and Greek letters. They work great on cinderblock walls and can be removed easily without a trace.
One or two meaningful posters are a time-honored way to decorate a dorm room. Keep in mind sensibilities — your roommate’s, your visitors’, and your parents’ — when choosing where to display more controversial posters.
They general prefer you make as few holes in the walls as possible. Consider hanging posters with the stick-em stuff that is more like gum instead of thumbtacks or nails.
Walking into a dorm room the first time is exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. They are going to spend a lot of time in there and it needs to meld two personalities into something cohesive both kids can enjoy. Congrats to all the kids off to school!