Interior designers help dec out dorm life

Mackenzie Mathews

Decorating dorms may seem like an impractical task, but there are several aspects to focus on that can easily help you achieve your dream dorm.

Students are given a particularly small space to work with in terms of decorating a dorm room, so the goal is to make use of every storage opportunity given. After all, students are fitting their lives into at least half of the boxed space.

“We have to creatively use the space,” interior design professor Amy Hersch said. “It’s all about lifting that bed off the floor and using the storage underneath the bed.”

Raising the beds will provide many new options for storage and use. Though it is prohibited to raise the beds over 36 inches according to the “Hilltopics Residence Hall Handbook,” students can make multiple uses out of the space that provides.

Bunking the beds perpendicularly, so only half of the bottom bed is under the top, will make the room seem larger and give a lot more living space. If arranged properly, a futon could fit, giving an apartment feel to the dorm.

“People don’t always see the potential they have to maximize the space, and you have to think differently because you can’t spread things out,” Hersch said.

It is important to think of multiple uses for items in your room, like putting the bookcase on the desk and making that a TV stand. Everything can have another function: take advantage of that. 

When arranging a room, it may be useful to add in elements of feng shui, the Chinese art of harmonizing people to their environment. There are several ways to put the practice to use in a dorm.

Keep your bed away from the door to give a sense of privacy and never face a mirror toward it. Try to symmetrically lay out the room, putting two nightstands on either side of a bed, for example. To contrast the sharp edges of the room — corners of dressers, beds and walls — buy a circular rug.

After arranging comes decorating, and it’s of utmost priority to decorate to personal preference.

“Whenever I think of decoration for dorms, I think basic functional stuff, like fancy lightings, furniture and frames — pictures, paintings, posters. I think they bring out the most in a room,” sophomore interior design major, Alina Sajan, Dubai, said.

Focusing on colors is always important because they create the mood of the room. Black and white is a strong grouping, especially when accenting a particular color, or simply combine white with bright colors, which is easy in white-walled rooms.

Too much white, however, may clash with the florescent ceiling lights, giving off a “sterile” look, so table or floor lamps that use incandescent bulbs are good additions. The warm, yellow light will make the room more comfortable. Christmas lights are also great decorations using calm lighting.

“Dorm rooms lack architecture and detail, so add some of your own by framing your favorite prints,” interior design professor Sheila Flener said. “Shop sites like ‘Etsy’ for fun, motivational prints or create a DIY piece.”

A popular and easy way to add design to cinderblock walls is wall decals. They are easy to apply and remove, so no residue is left on the walls after moving out. 

The number one rule of decorating is to surround yourself with things you like and colors that make you feel good. It is the place you go after long, rough days, so it should be calming and cheerful.