Moving away from home and into college dormitories is a massive step and can be as nerve-wracking as it is exciting. Making sure your space is comfortable, homey and functional is key to helping you settle in and enjoy the college experience, though dorm rooms are notoriously difficult to decorate. For this reason, so many students make mistakes when attempting a dorm room makeover and have to live in a space they’re unhappy with. Read on to learn seven decorating mistakes that are easy to make, but even easier to avoid.
Beds can take up a relatively large amount of space in a modest dorm room, so when choosing bedding and accessories be sure to pick items that will add interest. A bland, boring bedspread is a sure way to make the rest of your space look equally uninspiring. Instead, incorporate statement patterns, luxe textures and decorative pillows to turn your bed into a worthy focal point in your room.
Don’t be tempted by one-and-done bedding sets. While they undoubtedly make things easier, what you’ll save in time, you’ll pay for in style. Carefully co-ordinating hand-picked pieces is a much better alternative that will prevent your room from looking like a cookie-cutter dorm room.
When moving into a new space, your imagination can go into overdrive at the prospect of all the possibilities. In the weeks leading up to the big move, resist the urge to buy all the trinkets you set eyes on, as this could lead to a serious clash in tastes when you finally move in. Instead, move in with a few neutral, good-quality pieces that can blend in seamlessly with anything. Press pause on any grand shopping sprees until you can co-ordinate properly with your room-mate.
Walls are a huge blank canvas in your dorm, so make the most of them and let your personality shine through. “If you’re thinking of getting creative, be sure to use dorm-friendly methods that won’t damage the walls, or you could be in for a hefty bill when it comes time to move out,” advises Lorie Stubbs, design writer at Essay Roo and Paper Fellows.
Paintings, posters, wall hangings, and photo collages all make great wall art and can transform a boring wall into a mini art gallery in your dorm. Try to tie in some of the key colors that run throughout your room, or stick up your favorite photos of friends and family for a reminder of home.
While it’s possible to inject your dorm room with a large dose of personality, something that can’t be changed is the flooring. However, whether it’s old, scratchy carpet or unwelcoming linoleum floors, the flooring situation can be upgraded by some carefully placed rugs. Playing with textures such as shag, shearling or faux sheepskin can instantly make your room seem warmer and more inviting, while adding a pop of color or a vibrant pattern can transform drab floorboards. Mix and match multiple rugs of different styles and sizes to give your room an instant boost.
The right lighting is absolutely essential to creating a homey, cozy vibe in your dorm room. All too often, overhead lighting is unnecessarily harsh and can completely ruin the atmosphere. “Instead, make use of cute lamps with a warm-hued bulb. As well as imbuing your dorm with a softer, more comfortable ambience, the right lamp or lampshade can be a decoration in and of itself,” suggests Linda Sherman, lifestyle writer at Boom Essays and State of writing.
Don’t think you have to stop at one. A matching or complementary set of lamps, one at your desk and one near your bed, will allow you to tweak the lighting exactly to your preferences, creating a friendly atmosphere while adding to your dorm room’s aesthetic.
If you’re lucky enough to be allowed shelving in your dorm room, this is an easy and space-efficient way to showcase your favorite ornaments and spice up your space. The obvious use of shelving in a dorm room is for books and other study materials, but try breaking up the tomes with accent pieces, vases of faux flowers, or photo frames to use shelving to its true potential. If you’re not allowed wall-mounted shelves, free-standing shelving systems are a fantastic alternative.
Whichever type of shelving you opt for, make sure you utilise your wall-space to its full potential. It’s the biggest canvas available to you in your dorm room, and if you’re creative it can be used to display all sorts of interesting décor accessories.
Tacky Storage Systems
Throwing all your things into plastic storage boxes is tempting, but it’s also the fastest way to make your dorm seem industrial, unfinished, and unloved. Sensible storage solutions are essential in a small dorm room, but you don’t have to turn to ugly hunks of plastic. Stylish alternatives are available at reasonable prices, so hunt around for something that has form and function.
Wooden units are timeless, and the organic material will help create a natural, cozy vibe in your dorm room. Even if the initial outlay is slightly more than you’d pay for a plastic equivalent, the right piece will be versatile and stand the test of time, saving you money over the longer term. Thrift stores and reselling sites are a great place to source high-quality pieces while working with a tight budget.
There we have it – my top 7 dorm decorating mistakes to avoid. While dorm rooms can be small and don’t offer many opportunities for you to get your creative juices flowing, with some cleverly curated pieces you can quickly create a cozy sanctuary – a home away from home, perfect for studying, socialising and relaxing. Bear these 7 mistakes in mind when decorating your dorm room and before you know it, you’ll have a dorm room you can be proud of.
Authors Bio.: Christina Lee