Pimp your dorm room

Jessica Lentine

Credit: Beth Rankin

Does the thought of moving from your cozy childhood bedroom into a small, dark dorm room leave you discouraged? Are you unsure how to be creative with a small space and make your residence hall room seem bigger?

Lucky for you, there are many ways to personalize your dorm room and make it feel more spacious.

The first step is to pick a color scheme. Everything doesn’t have to match exactly, but it’s good to have a few colors that dominate the room.

Using these colors, you can add pieces such as an inexpensive lampshade, a colorful rug or a valence for your window. This will help bring the room together as well as make it homier.

Another way to be creative with your color scheme is to buy a set of sheets and match it with a white or cream comforter. This way, it is easy and inexpensive to change the look of the whole room at any time just by changing the color of your sheets.

Seating can sometimes be a problem in a dorm room because there isn’t much space to put extra chairs or couches.

A few jumbo-sized pillows that are propped in the corner may help solve this problem. They can be a colorful and cozy addition to the room, while also adding extra seating and taking up a very small amount of space.

Brooke Malagrida, sophomore interior design major at the University of Akron, suggests adding a few miniature papasan chairs to your room to solve the seating dilemma. Similar to the large pillows, papasan chairs can fold away and be stored until you need them again.

Lofting your bed provides space to bring in more chairs or a futon, junior nursing major Christina Fox said. A futon can provide a bed for visitors, as well.

In any small space it is a good idea to hide whatever you can. Keeping clothes, shoes and accessories stored away will make the room look neater and also leave more room for decorative pieces.

Plastic storage bins that slide under your bed or linen organizers that hang in your closet are perfect for off-season clothes.

Also, when thinking about storage, it is sometimes helpful to think of what space you have up high. Storing items on top of a tall dresser or on shelves keeps them out of your way and out of sight, Malagrida said.

“Use anything stackable,” Fox said, “like crates, bins or baskets.” Web sites such as www.containerstore.com and www.ikea.com offer storage containers that are inexpensive and attractive.

It is just as important for you to feel at home in your dorm room as it is for you to feel like it’s spacious. You can accomplish this by adding your own personal touch to your room.

“Bring several favorite items from home, functional or decorative, which will personalize the room and maintain the connection with (your) family and home environment,” interior design professor Terrence Uber said.

Junior marketing major Ashley Messer suggests hanging a black sheet swooped above your bed, or in a corner, and tacking it at both sides. You can then use pins to attach pictures, articles and any other mementos that you save and create a collage of the year.

Another way to incorporate pictures in your room is to make a border about eye-level around the room using pictures that are all about the same size. If you have a roommate, you could have half of the border be your pictures and the other half be your roommate’s pictures.

Since there is usually only one window in each dorm room, lighting is very important. Aiming a lamp into a corner will not only make the room appear brighter, but it will also open up the room and make it feel more spacious.

Junior communications major Josh Gubbini added light to his room by affixing old CDs to the ceiling so that the bottom of the CD was exposed.

“It actually brightens up the room because the CDs reflect the ceiling light throughout the room,” he said.

Gubbini also saved space and money on a TV by buying an inexpensive projector on Ebay. He then hooked his cable into the projector and watched TV on a huge screen on his wall.

“I made the screen out of some two-by-fours and two bed sheets,” he said. “I had a 60-inch viewable screen and it used no space at all.”

However you decide to decorate your dorm room, the most important thing to remember is to keep it personal. Making it comfortable with personal touches will make your dorm a space where you like to spend time and will make the transition from home a lot easier.

Contact general assignment reporter at Jessica Lentine at [email protected].