Ah, dorms. Actually, I suppose they’re officially called “residence halls.” Regardless, they’re that one space you can comfortably flop down in after a long day of class, right?
Well, I sure thought so. Before coming to college, I was convinced residence halls would be these magical spaces where everyone props open their door and adorns their mirrors with cute photographs.
However, once I arrived on campus, I quickly realized that the most notable thing about the room I had just received was the fact that it felt heavily lived-in.
Now, it’s important I note that such a revelation is not a reflection of the state of Tech’s residence halls. The reality is simply that someone else lived in my dorm room before me and I can tell.
So, to make my room seem a little less “used” and a little more “new or mint condition,” I decided to channel my inner Joanna Gaines and “flip” the heck out of my new-to-me room.
I realize you might not be quite as eager as I was to hunt around town for the perfect wall print. So, I’ll go ahead and give you some tips based on what I did and also give you some tips based on what I’ve seen, read about, or pinned on Pinterest.
First, we need to address your walls. Walls are the complexion of a room. Does that sound weird and a little creepy? Good. Now you won’t be able to forget how important they are.
Some rooms will come with walls that have a few blemishes. Maybe, during one of the 50 years of your room’s existence, someone spilled ramen down the wall. Or maybe someone scratched the wall with her desk chair and it left a distracting black mark. Or maybe someone stuck a poster of Tom Selleck above your bed and the adhesive never came off the ceiling.
Regardless of what happened to your walls, they’ve probably been through a lot. If they’re brand new and stark white, that’s a problem in and of itself. They’re washed out, dull, lifeless. Your room might seem clean, but so does a hospital room. See where I’m headed?
Whether your walls are riddled with history or basically bleached, it’s important to put a little bit of decor on them. Your guests and your psyche will feel more at ease when your living space seems to be definitively your own. The first step in making it seem so is by Command-Stripping a vintage movie poster up or stringing some Polaroids on your wall.
Those are easy solutions. Just start collecting and hanging cool, unique, artsy posters.
You also can buy some corkboard squares and whip out those Command Strips again. If you have corkboard above your desk, you can pin photographs, notes and movie tickets onto it. These little pieces of your life will remind you of the fun and joy you once knew before you hunkered down to study for that college algebra exam.
A friend of mine even got huge “Star Wars” Fatheads and slapped them on his walls.
Now let’s talk bedding.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Yeah, I can’t afford new bedding, so I’ll just try to make my old comforter work.” I get that, I do. But, I also think you’re wrong.
Fresh bedding is a vital component in any bedroom. When you pick out your new bedding, try to choose something that’s easy to wash, dark or colorful enough that it won’t show stains — or cereal crumbs, if you’re anything like me — and interesting enough that it will add a new dimension to your living space.
Your bed is a huge canvas upon which you can display your style. Pick the bedding with cat pictures or water-colored flamingos. I promise it’s cooler to have an interesting room than one that looks like an afterthought.
On that same note, however, I would suggest avoiding the go-to decor solution of the monogram. Too quickly, our moms suggest that we monogram everything from our sheets to our shower shoes. However, as the trend moves away from monogramming and toward finding more vintage pieces, monogrammed wall tapestries seem rather uninteresting.
Now that we’ve covered — literally — your walls and your bed, the last significant space left in your room is your floor.
Don’t forget that countless shoes and toes and probably quite a bit of vomit has graced that yellowing flooring. So, what do we do? We cover it. We cover the heck out of it.
My dad purchased a huge shag rug for my roommate and me to use in our room. It was far better than nothing, but we probably shouldn’t have gotten a white, furry rug. After a semester, the rug started to turn a little gray and — I’m not going to lie — began to collect loose strands of our long blonde hair. That’s probably TMI, but I just want you to learn from my mistakes.
Another mistake I made was failing to embrace the Ball jar. I just recently saw the cutest Ball jars in my friend McKenzi’s room. She spray painted them matte gold and they looked stunning. By doing this, she inexpensively created a custom flower vase, pencil holder and wall sconce. If you have a jar of homemade jam in your mini fridge, make a million peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and buy some spray paint. Embrace the fact that your new standing as an 18-year-old allows you to purchase that aerosol can.
All of this to be said, I just want you to decorate your dorm room. Please decorate your room. Make it your own, make it your home. You will have a far more wonderful time at college if you feel like you have a space of your own to recharge in. However, if you have a weird roommate who’s always writing German poetry in the dark, then you’re out of luck.