College Decorating 201: Because 101 Didn’t Go So Well

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Nicole Eisenberg > Freshman > University of Maryland

Let me guess!  Before last semester, you spent a small fortune in Bed, Bath, and Beyond, throwing countless items into your cart.  You then packed up your new room’s wardrobe and dumped it all onto the floor of your dorm.  It was not until after you began unpacking  that you finally figured out what you had actually purchased  and realized that a leopard print rug does not quite go with a lime green and turquoise throw blanket, or a three-foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower.  In order to make your little closet of a room feel like home, you do not need to go dog-earing an entire PB Teen catalogue!  You just need a few personal touches! 

#1 The first thing to consider before you even begin decorating is: what are the colors that make you happy?  You need to be surrounded by an environment that will be conducive to you working at your full potential (after all, we do come to college to learn!), and in order to do this, you need to be happy!  Brigitte Meneveau IIDA, ASID. of Interiors & Design inc. explains that one should choose a color theme (whether it be soft [pastel, secondary colors] neutral [beige, brown, grey], or vibrant [neon, primary]). After you figure out what color palette will make you smile every morning (even when you are waking up for an 8 a.m. class), go with it! 

#2 The first item I suggest finding in your palette is your comforter.  Because your bed is one of the largest pieces of furniture in your room and thus one of the focal points that your eyes will naturally be drawn to, make sure that you LOVE your bedspread!  Colored comforters work well because they open up your room and add a little life to your shared shoebox.

#3 Also make sure to spice up those white cinderblock walls! In addition to posters, try getting some colored scrapbook paper that works with your color scheme, and organize the pieces in a funky pattern on the wall.  Have a glue stick handy?  Print some pictures of family, friends from home, and college buddies.  Then collage them on to the pages.  Just surrounding yourself with photos of the ones you love will make you feel more at home!

#4 Okay, I know organizing sounds more like homework than it does a night out on the town, but it is important and can be a bit fun!  Find some colored hangers, bins to organize your school supplies, or a storage cube (it’s cute, it can store your books, and can double as a step stool) in your color palette.  These organizing accessories will help you keep the surfaces of your furniture as empty as possible, which is an asset to every well put together room, since experts recommend that any work surface be covered only 20% with items, explains Brigitte Meneveau.  Keep in mind that anything that you have to have in your room for organization can still be decorative and make your room more you! 

#5 Although tchotchkes (little odds and ends from here and there) may seem like their only purpose is to take up space, they are truly necessary to calling your dorm room home away from home!  As Brigitte Meneveau explains, “decorative" items…are not specifically necessary for the room’s functionality, but [they do] provide elements that personalize the space and create an expression of who lives in it.  Bring that stuffed animal that you got when you were ten, your slinky, and your cute frog cookie jar, and make your room wonderfully, happily, you!  


College Magazine Staff

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