|ABOUT COLLEGE DORM ROOMS|
College dorm rooms are not typically the most glamorous places to live. But most are perfectly inhabitable, despite appearances. Dorm rooms vary in size, layout, and every other feature, but they do have something in common: they are the temporary home for college students who have busy lives and tight budgets for everything, including their decorating. In fact, decorating may not be very high on the list of priorities when you're packing up and heading to college. But remember, this place may not look like a "home," but it will be your home for at least nine months of the year. Understanding that your surroundings have a great impact on other facets of your life, you'll want to make some effort to arrange and decorate your dorm room with care.
My own college dorm room was pretty awful-looking when I first saw it. It featured a cold, industrial-looking floor, narrow bunk beds with very thin, springy mattresses, an odd loft unit, two small desks, and one large window covered with yellowing blinds. Others are set up more like apartments, with a kitchen, a living room, a bathroom, and a bedroom (or more). But no matter the layout or the size, the accommodations are rarely lavish.
If you, a family member, or a friend are off to college and don't quite know where to begin to decorate a dorm room, consider the following advice:
Coordinate with roommates. Touch base with your roommates to coordinate a color scheme. The idea isn't to make everything match, but to select a common color or theme (or select some color combinations) to tie things together and make the space seem more homey and less thrown together.
Perk it up with paint. If your college allows it, painting your room (or just one accent wall) is a great way to make it more personal and appealing. If you're willing, you can also try textures (with mitts, sponges, and other tools) or stenciling. Paint is inexpensive and easy to work with, so even if you've never painted a room in your life, you can probably handle painting your dorm room without a hitch. (Just be sure to tape off molding and use drop cloths.) Paint is also great for covering up wear and tear on worn-but-usable furniture.
Treat your windows. Many dorm rooms come equipped with blinds or shades, but adding a valance, swag, or full curtain can create a much cozier feel. You can make your own curtains on the cheap by purchasing sheets and cutting open the top seams so you can insert a curtain rod.
Get artsy. Dorm room art doesn't just mean posters of your favorite rock band, although if you want this in your room, by all means, go for it. Framing family photos and hanging them together creates a wonderful grouping and can help you on days when you feel a little homesick. Also don't forget about postcardsthey're cheap, they can be framed, and some of them are wonderfully artistic. Can't afford frames? Try making your own by cutting corrugated cardboard or heavy poster board into a square, snipping out a hole for the photo, and leaving an inch or two border around the photo. Clip the photo to the frame using a binder clip, and you've got a modern, sleek frame that makes changing the featured art or photo a snap.
Yard-sale it. Visit yard sales for items like mirrors, framed prints, shelves, and other decorative touches. Another trick: Find secondhand art books at a low cost, cut pictures out, and frame them.
Break the rules. Dorm rooms don't have things like wrought iron dinette sets, antique rocking chairs, or stacks of handmade quilts, do they? Sure they doI've seen all of these items in some wonderfully decorated dorm rooms. These clever dorm dwellers broke the rules and added things they loved to their space, rejecting the notion that such items don't belong in college dorm rooms. You can do it, too.
Lighten up. Many dorm rooms have harsh, fluorescent lighting. This can be great for cleaning and studying, when bright light is important. But adding a lamp or two will help you keep the room and the mood a bit softer when you want to.
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