Maggie’s Dorm: Part 2

Yesterday, in Part 1, I went over the inspiration for my baby sister, Maggie’s, dorm room as well as some of the selections. We wanted to make this a comfortable space that felt warm and cozy as opposed to a cold and impersonal cinderblock box. Maggie has a spunky and fun personality, so we wanted the decor to reflect that.

Once we had selected the main decorative elements, such as duvet cover, desk accessories, armchair and rug, we needed to fill in with lighting, art and accessories.

In general, dormitories employ overhead fluorescent lighting. While very functional, it does not provide the same ambiance as other forms of lighting such as floor lamps, table lamps and desk lamps. Maggie already had an adorable desk lamp from IKEA so the only remaining item needed was an adequate floor or table lamp. In this case, we decided to use a vintage piece from our parents’ house (aka free). It was a 70’s era floor lamp/table in a slightly dated wood tone with a more formal shade. We painted it navy, grabbed a new drum shade at IKEA, added some grosgrain ribbon and voila!

(Sorry for all of the cell phone pics! Somehow I never end up with photos of the individual items!)

To finish everything off, we picked up some fantastic artwork, cork boards, greenery, and decorative accessories at Hobby Lobby. However, the finishing touch to the artwork in the room was a piece of string art, done by our sister Becca, with the university’s logo. I love the look of string art, but I am sad to admit, I have never tried making a piece of my own. Becca has become quite accomplished in creating it and should possibly think of opening an Etsy shop. (wink, wink!)

With all of that being said…. It’s time for the grand reveal!

We raised the bed to accommodate a mini-fridge and lots of stackable, rolling IKEA storage below.

The floor lamp got an extra boost from a milk crate so that it would be high enough to comfortably light the bed. Since the light had a three-way switch, we were able to use a 75/100/150 bulb to offer multiple brightness levels.

20150822_211502 (2)

The pillows are a mixture designer fabrics that were in our free stash. Often, with less than a yard, we were able to get one pillow from a small piece of fabric. This is where spending a bit more can make a big impact!

The chair looks fantastic with Dritz Polished Brass Nailhead Trim. We used the same type of nailhead tape that I have used on my desk chair and Greek Key Headboard.

Meanwhile, a funky and fun accent pillow finishes off the look!

For the desk area, we decided to keep things simple on the shelves. We love the combination of the geometric pattern of the HEJSAN accessories with the SKURAR pots and greenery. A few gold metallic pieces and three prism shaped objets pulled everything together!

The curtains were a steal at Tuesday Morning and present a neutral enough color and design that they go well with the décor of any roommate.

I think this will be a calming yet practical space for late night study sessions!

Last, but not least… The beautiful FLOR tile rug:

I completely forgot to take a photo of the rug before we headed out on Move-in day! So Maggie was nice enough to send this pic earlier in the week. It is already getting a lot of use!

We had an absolute blast planning, DIY-ing and installing this comfy slice dormitory heaven! More importantly, it was a blessing to be able to start off Maggie’s college career in a space where she feels comfortable and inspired!

I’d love to see other fun dorm room designs! Have you done anything fun with dorm décor?

7 Ways to Make a Dorm Room Feel Like Home

As a somewhat lover of all things design and a recent college grad (I finished about 3 years ago), I wanted to share some tips today about how to make a dorm feel more like a home.

I lived in the on-campus dorms for 3 years in college. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… No really, it was. I have tons of great memories from my college days. However, there are also quite a few stressful memories including all-nighters and overwhelming exams.

One of the key purposes behind great design is to provide an attractive space where a person feels at ease. I learned some things along the way about how to make four cinder block walls feel less like a prison cell and more like a sanctuary.

1) Let there be Lighting

Lighting is quite possibly the MOST important element in a making a dorm feel welcoming. My long time roommate and I were always having people comment on how cozy our room felt. Often, they would ask what we we did differently… the answer was lighting. We almost never turned on the overhead fluorescent light in our room. Overhead fluorescent fixtures are known for creating a more detached feeling in a space. They feel more clinical, if you will. Instead, we used natural light in conjunction with a few floor lamps, table lamps and desk lamps for task lighting. The difference was significant to say the least.

The goal is something less like this:

And more like this (note the use of table lamps and natural light):

2) Color is Better

Dorms are quite possibly the most bare, blank canvases known to the design world. The space has to be completely neutral for the revolving door of residents and occupants can almost never paint the walls. The result is a room devoid of any color. Bland would be an understatement.

Although there are a few attractive neutral and all white options out there for dorm décor…

I believe that a stimulated mind is a more active and energetic mind. What better way to stimulate the mind than with color? And when you are trying to get in the last few hours of studying before a big midterm, your mind needs all of the help it can get. Look at these vibrant options:

3) Artwork – Make the Walls Your Own

Artwork is no new things, yet so many students fail to utilize this space. Admittedly, I was one of them. I was never really the poster type and at the time command strips had not really made their emergence. Now, with a few boxes of command strips and a little elbow grease, plain walls can be transformed!

This wall mural printed on large scale paper is a creative idea.

Wall decals galore can be found at just about any major retailer now days. Infinitely more choices can be found online.

Posters have been a fashionable and funky staple of dorm life in the past and they are still as fun and affordable as ever. I love the gallery look that they give this space below.

There are also multitudes of fun DIY artwork tutorials that would be perfect for a dorm setting. I love this fabulous example of a monogram on canvas.

4) Pillows – Comfort is Key

College students like to sleep. Possibly an understatement… Ok, they love to sleep. On top of that they can often need to utilize their beds as sofas.

Throw pillows are a great way to supplement the all-important comfort in any dorm. By adding several pillows to a bed, an inviting seating area is instantly created.

Of course, they are also kinda comfy!

A great alternative to throw pillows are floor pillows. They too provide seating and lounge space for hours of studying or just hanging out.

Floor pillows are also a great substitute for college guys who don’t want a tone of “girly” pillows around.

5) Area rugs

Vinyl tiles are remarkably resilient to damage as well as inexpensive. So it’s no wonder they are used do extensively in dorm rooms.

…That does not mean that you have to live with them. Enter the area rug. Rugs instantly add visual interest and texture to the space.

To be practical though, not all area rugs are inexpensive. Even rugs from big-box retailers can get expensive quickly.

A fun, and possibly more affordable option, is to layer and/or group area rugs. By layering/grouping rugs, several inexpensive runners or mats can be used together. The outcome can be glamorous…

Or give the space a bohemian vibe.

6) Curtains – Windows are Important Too

Let it be know that I do not have anything against miniblinds. However, in conjunction with cinderblock walls, they are just plain awful.

An easy solution is curtains. AND when used with standard dorm miniblinds, the result can be incredible… sleep in darkness.

Curtains were not always a given in dorms though. After all, how can one hang curtains without screwing in drapery hardware? Thereby incurring the wrath of potential damage fees at the end of the semester.

Then the people at 3M rocked our world with command strips. Making this possible:

Do you hear angels singing too?

With a few command hooks and a café rod there are endless dorm room drapery possibilities.

7) Photos – Get Personal with the Space

Last, but not least… Few things can bring about a smile quicker than photos of friends and loved ones. During those all nighters and late night cramming sessions, surrounding oneself with the photos of people that matter can make all the difference in the world. And just look at these cute photo displays!

In the end, have fun with your décor!!! This is the time to take some design chances! Use colors that you love, make your surroundings enjoyable and most of all, enjoy this part of life while is lasts!

Tomorrow I’ll post some of the inspiration for my sister’s dorm!