*********Originally posted on July 12, 2012************
It can be a proud but scary moment when you leave the comforts of your parents’ home – most likely the only home you’ve known all your life, and go off to college. You finally have that independence that you’ve been craving for so long…..until you see your new accommodations for the first time.
A cold sterile room with two beds, boring furniture, plain walls and cold floors will probably come as a shock. Adjusting to new surroundings and challenging class schedules will be hard enough, so here are a few tips to get you started on making your dorm room a warm, cozy and inviting space where you’ll want to hang out and get your learning on.
Parents take note. Making a small investment in helping your freshman create a beautiful, functional amd livable space, may be the best thing you can do to help them adjust to life away from home.
- If you are lucky enough to be in a dorm where it’s ok to paint the walls, then go for it! Avoid usig the school colors – that’s cliche. Go for a cool neutral to give a more airy and fresh feel. Cool colors tend to make a small room look bigger unlike warm colors that advance in a space. If painting is not an option, go with the color scheme already defined for you and take it to the next level with your bedding and accessories. You may also consider using removable wallpaper or wall decals for a unique look. Deco Mates sells peel and stick wallpaper and wall decals inexpensively.
- Use modular furniture instead of fixed pieces. Modular furniture are designed to be moved around and used in various configurations, so you are not locked in to any one layout. Always keep scale in mind when purchasing furniture. Most likely you will not have room for a sofa, but a small chair may be ideal to give you additional seating
- Build a loft to basically double your space. Adding a sleeping loft using inexpensive materials like plywood, frees up floor space that you can use for a desk area or seating area. You may want to call a professional in for this one, because it has to be fully secured to the walls
- Lighting will be your best friend in a small dorm room. Most don’t come with an over head fixture, and even if they do, they are not the best looking. You can pick up an inexpensive chandelier and replace the ceiling fixture or buy a plug-in pendant and ’swag’ the cord into the wall. Attach the chain or wire to a hook in the ceiling, swag it into a corner and use the outlet. This overhead lighting will make the space a lot more inviting and add more task lighting for study time.
- Plastic crates are a staple item in dorm rooms when it comes to storage, but not the most attractive. Cube ottomans look better and can be just as spacious. They look more like furniture than storage space, but serve as a good place to hold video games, books and other smaller items. Great idea for functional storage
- Say goodbye to cold floors. There are wonderful products available that are inexpensive and will add warmth to the floors. Flor is an innovative system of carpet squares that you assemble to create area rugs or wall to wall designs of any size. . Allure Stainmaster Vinyl Flooring is a thin laminate that adheres to itself, rather than the floor. That makes it easy to put down. It’s about $25 a box, and an average dorm space might use about five-and-half boxes. All you need is a blade knife to cut the ends to size and then snap each flat vinyl piece to the others.
- Decorate with pictures of your family and friends. For one, it helps to have your family around you even if they are just photographs. If you have a free wall, why not create a collage or a salon style design with framed pictures in various sizes or take your favorite picture and have it blown up to larger than poster size. It makes a bigger statement than just taping pictures to wall.
- Don’t skimp on your bedding. You’ll have to sleep under it every night, so make sure it’s something that feels good to you. Choosing a solid pattern will give you more decorating options than bedding with bold patterns.
- Use throw pillows to accent your room and provide comfort, as well. Plus, you can get quality ones without spending a great deal of money
- Outfit your closet with items that will make life easier, like plastic hooks for hanging towels and shoe organizers that hang on the back of the door.
So if your freshman is off to college in the Fall, why not provide him/her with some of the comforts of home.