Fight dorm blues: top decor tips for all room varieties
Kirsten Stray-Gundersen '12 took advantage of the space in the apartment common rooms by painting this lighthouse mural.
As a senior I’ve been decorating my dorm room for the past three years, so I got a little lazy while packing for school yet again this summer. I left behind the laminated National Geographic world map, the Harry Potter poster and the prayer flags that adorned my walls in previous years. I thought I didn’t need these things, but upon unpacking all of my belongings I found my room depressingly bare. I realized I had to get really creative, really fast.
In this article, I will share with you tips and tricks for turning your dorm room into a place that feels like “home” (but don’t tell your parents this: it might make them sad).
Avoiding frustration and fines:
There is an ongoing debate on how best to hang items on the walls while avoiding nightly falling posters and end of the year thumbtack hole fines. While tape is clearly the least intrusive option, it is also the least effective. On the other hand, thumbtacks work very well, but it is very easy to get carried away and wind up with more holes than you can fill in with toothpaste.
Thus, I have invented something I like to call the “tapestry collage.” The tapestry collage consists of hanging a tapestry or patterned sheet on the wall and taping pictures to it in artful (I use this term loosely) patterns. In this way, you can fill an entire wall with color and memories while using tacks only in the corners of the tapestry and avoiding fines at the end of the school year.
Another easy yet artsy wall-hanging option is what I’ve dubbed the “twine clothesline,” which consists of stringing a piece of twine horizontally across your wall and hanging postcards or photos from it with clothespins.
Making everything fit:
If you weren’t lucky enough to win the room draw lottery, your room is probably pretty small. While I advise against the triple-bunking of beds (scary!), there are other options to make a cramped space feel larger.
First off, do you really need your desk? I’m not saying you shouldn’t study, I’m just pointing out that the library is perhaps more conducive for work anyway, in that it is further from your bed and the temptation of a nap. While desks are useful for storage, so are small bookshelves that take up less space.
It is also important never to underestimate the advantages of “nesting” (i.e. placing smaller things in side of larger ones). For examples, mini-fridges fit very nicely in wardrobes or closets, or if you are really ambitious, you can sometimes fit your whole dresser in them. And multi-use: storage containers work great as ottomans or coffee tables if you throw a pretty tablecloth over them. Plus the top of your dresser can always double as a nightstand.
If you were lucky enough to win the room draw lottery and have a giant quad or apartment and are overwhelmed by all the extra space and empty walls:
I have no advice for you because I am jealous and resentful. I do have one tip though: keep the space relatively open so you can throw parties and invite everyone.