It is hard to believe that school is about to start! I was one of those nerds who loved back-to-school shopping: new pencils, new folders, new shoes, new first-day-of-school outfit, etc. So, when I was about to start college (was that really 12 years ago?! Gah!), it was no surprise that I was equally as excited to shop for my new dorm room! Back then, I could have used a little help in decorating, so today I'm going to talk about 5 important items that will help make your dorm room a stylish home away from home!
Most young adults entering college are on a budget. But that doesn't mean that you can't have a stylish dorm room! It is important to remember that if you invest a little in your dorm room decor, it will last through all four years of school. Purchasing new dorm room decor every year will cost much more than higher quality items you invest in once! Also, keep in mind that a dorm room is a multi-functional space; it is not only your bedroom, but your living room, media room, and sometimes dining room and kitchen! So, decor that will stand up to all that livin' will be invaluable. Now, let's get to the good stuff. Here are the 5 must-have items to decorate your dorm room.
A great, colorful rug can make a huge statement in a room. Especially a small room. I would advise selecting the largest rug you can afford. My freshman year dorm room had disgusting carpeting. Looking back, I can't believe I used to even sit on it. Gross! A great rug will not only infuse color into your dorm room, but provide a place to entertain, lounge, do homework, and maybe eve take a nap? An indoor/outdoor rug could be a good choice which would hold up to high foot traffic, food and drink spills, and dirt. Though a regular indoor rug will hold up just fine if you pre-treat it for dirt and spills. Lastly, colorful rugs will camouflage wear and tear much better than light colored rugs. If you're dorm has hardwood floors (lucky duck!), than you'll also want to purchase a rug pad.
One of my most favorite rug retailers is RugsUSA.com. They have a fantastic selection of rugs at wonderful prices! Here are some nice options! (by the way, can you tell that pink and blue are my favorites? I just couldn't help myself!)
Of course, many other retailers sell rugs at a great price point. Homegoods is one of those great retailers to find affordable rugs.
Here is another investment category. In a dorm room, your bed is also your sofa, your desk, and sometimes your dining table! As such, you want to invest in quality bedding that will hold up to a multitude of uses and frequent washing. I would even recommend dry cleaning your bedding a at least twice a year to really make it last.
Another tip for investing in bedding for the long haul is to choose bedding that you won't tire of after one year. Try to pick a pattern or color that you know will coordinate with your other decor easily (especially items that you may change annually, like throw pillows. Some bedding on the market is even reversible! It's like getting two for the price of one! Here are some fab bedding options I'm loving.
Source: Kate Spade New York
Source: Bed Bath & Beyond
Source: Bed Bath & Beyond
I can vividly recall the overhead ceiling light in my freshman year dorm room. It was an awful, round florescent light that gave off this ever so slight flickering harsh light. It would give me a headache! The solution? lamps! Lamps provide much softer light and give a space an instant homey feeling. Investing in some nice lamps is also worthwhile. The bedside table lamp I had in college was one of my most favorite lamps; I used it all through my twenties and even brought it with me to Texas when I moved! Unfortunately, it didn't last long after we got our little kitten...she broke it! Anyway, my point is that a nice lamp can outlast your time at college, so keep that in mind. Below are some beauties!
Source: Ballard Designs
Source: Pottery Barn
Source: PB Teen
Source: Pottery Barn Kids
Another great place to shop for lamps is overstock.com. I've had great luck with their lamps!
4. Wall Art
In college I bought these huge beach posters and tacked them above my desk and my bed. Even then I was drawn to coastal themes! Wall art can really liven up a dorm room. Some may be lucky to nail items up on their walls. Others, like myself, were only allowed to tape things up. If this is you, don't fear. Art prints can still be taped up (with or without mat boards) using double sided table or even washi tape (see here for an example!) While there are many places online to purchase art prints, one of the most reasonably priced is society6.com. Their selection is unparalleled and there is sure to be something for everyone! Some of my loves below!
Source: Society 6
5. Accent Furniture
Let's face it. Dorm room issued furniture is ugly. There is absolutely nothing aesthetically pleasing about it. So while you can't change it, you can utilize accent furniture to spice it up! This includes accent tables (or even a new bedside table if you have room), chairs and poofs (maybe you're lucky enough and can replace your desk chair?!), and storage units. Here's a little of what I had in mind: