Midsummer is the time of year when students prepare to leave for college and parents begin panicking about all the stuff they will need for their new space. Dorm rooms, sorority or fraternity houses, and even college apartments are notorious for being small and cramped, forcing you to compress your entire existence into a tiny box. With a little help, and a bit of creativity, you can turn your little corner of the world into a cozy retreat.
Bedding: Your bed is the natural focal point to your new sanctuary and deserves the royal treatment. After all, it is the most versatile piece in the room, serving triple duty for sleep, a study spot, and guest seating. Look for a bedspread that can withstand the expected wear and tear, disguise dirt, and reflect your personality all in one. You may want to coordinate a color scheme with your roommate to create a unified space or even use the school’s colors.
Mattress: Dorm room mattresses are notorious for being lumpy and thin, so bring along a foam mattress pad or a plush feather bed topper to ensure a good night’s sleep. A full length body pillow can be used along the wall to serve as back cushion for seating during the day and something soft to cuddle at night, especially if you are used to Fido being your cuddle buddy. Extra throw pillows should coordinate with your new bedspread and add color and personality to the room.
Desk: The most important accessory for studying in your room is a desk or floor lamp. Ample lighting creates a comfortable work environment by proving a soothing break from the overhead fluorescents. Keep in mind space is limited, so investing in a notebook computer is your best bet, and allows you to study anywhere on campus too.
Storage: There is never enough storage in a dorm room, so purchase some shelving or a bookcase to help keep your textbooks and papers organized. If you are looking for a more affordable and versatile option, try stacking milk crates. They come in every color of the rainbow, are sturdy, and can double as a nightstand.
Closet: Transform your closet from a haven of disaster to a multifunctional storage area. Free up floor space with stackable shoe racks or hanging shoe organizers. You can also add a secondary rod to create multiple levels of hanging area and maximize space with hangers that hold double, if not triple the load of a normal hanger. Over the door racks are inexpensive space savers that conveniently hold everything from your keys, to rolls of quarters for laundry, to belts and robes.
Extras: Once you have handled the essentials, it is time to think about how you can personalize your space for exactly what you need from it. The fastest way to soften a room is with a throw rug. If you cannot find one that matches your décor, think about purchasing some Flor tiles and creating your own unique design.
Even though your bed is your catch all within the space, consider splurging on an oversized bean bag chair or modern disk chair if there is enough space. This will give you a perfect spot to curl up with your books during late night cram sessions. A mini fridge is also a must for any basic dorm room, as you never know when you will need a snack at 3 in the morning.
Think about how unique you want your room to be. After all, these are drab concrete cookie cutter spaces just begging for a little TLC.