rca vote now

Decorating the dorm


Dorm rooms have improved from the cramped, smelly versions of the past. Colleges realize that students crave some of the comforts of home. Students want their rooms to suit their personal style, whether they are into art, sports, music or even just a particular color. 

College is a major step. A well-thought-out dorm environment is helpful as students move into a different life stage. 

Bluffton resident Meg Engler, whose son Mason went to Clemson, has advice for parents.

“Definitely don’t stress. They have to make their own mistakes, it’s how they grow,” she said. 

Here are some decorating options that are trending.

Focus on lighting

Dorm lighting is usually terrible, dimmer than a student needs for studying. Studies have found that good lighting not only increases focus and concentration but helps regulate melatonin and cortisol for a good night’s sleep. 

Correct lighting also helps regulates mood. It’s essential to use lamps to bring the light down from the ceiling, but teens have been loving to add string lights for a little extra illumination. They are new and improved on Amazon, in colors or twinkling, operating from remotes and even syncing to music. 

Neon lights are popular. New versions can be shaped into any word and are less expensive than the lights of the past. Wayfair offers options that are battery operated. 

Post up

decorating2Students love to mash up collections of posters on their walls. Looking at a cheerful, uplifting saying is almost as good as mom being there cheering you on. Society 6 is a great website that sells original designs by artists and designers printed on posters, phone covers and even furniture. Remember the Command Strips to hang on the wall. Most dorms have rules about tacks or pictures hangers and require something that doesn’t cause damage. 

Storage smarts

It’s a must to stay organized in a dorm room. The Container Store offers rolling carts with drawers, bedside storage caddies that tuck into the mattress and storage bins. One overlooked area is the dorm desk. You can add more space with a small shelf, (options featured at dormco.com) that fits the desk’s dimensions. 

Tech essentials

Noise-cancelling headphones are a great alternative to help with focus or drown out a loud roommate. Personal speakers are fantastic for playing favorite music. Students who’ve set up rooms before recommend getting in touch with the school to find out the types of internet and cable available to prepare for the right setup for gaming and streaming. Don’t forget the surge protectors, extension cords and chargers. Bed risers are a neat way to add room for storage under dorm beds and provide USB plug-ins and electrical outlets near the bed.

Bring nature inside

Houseplants are in vogue and adding a plant to a dorm room is a great option for a student who wants to bring nature inside. Succulents are small and easy to grow and can be put in unique containers to match the style of the room. For those who don’t want the responsibility, but appreciate the look, botanical prints are a popular choice.

Design in style

Animal print is popular, especially mixed with bright colors. There are many options for a more bohemian look, with room tapestries, wall hangings and draped curtains. Students may choose to have a minimalist look with pops of color or just bring all the hues in one bright burst. They may even reflect their favorite hobby or their favorite sports team with pillows, posters, colors and fan gear. 

Dormify, an online store specializing in dorm goods, offers virtual styling appointments for families that don’t live near their pop-up stores. Roommates can virtually meet for their appointment or mom can come along for the ride.

Feel like home

Each dorm room should be comfortable, usable and a reflection of the person who will live in it. Using favorite colors and finding items that make the room feel like home are more important than color coordinating the bedspread and rug. 

When a student relaxes in their room, they can get a break from all the new events they are experiencing and focus on what they need. 

One item the Engler family found absolutely necessary is the mattress topper, “That was key because the dorm mattresses are not super comfortable. Mason got a nice memory foam topper that made a huge difference.”