The Down-Low On Decorating Your Dorm

For those of you who have gone on Pinterest or a similar blog site to look at tips, these sites often lead to unrealistic expectations of decorating a dorm room, especially when it comes to the older dorms at Wake Forest.

The small-styled dorms of Babcock and Collins and even the slightly more spacious rooms in South and Angelou are difficult to decorate because of their smaller size. Many of us are used to fairly large rooms with large furniture and tons of extra walking space, but oftentimes living in a dorm can feel a bit cramped.

With that said, here are a few tips and tricks to open up the space in your room while keeping it aligned with your style, whether it is sporty, chic, bohemian or a mix of them all.

First, let’s talk about the walls. Personally I never had much of a say on how my walls were decorated at home, so when I was presented with my own space, I wasn’t totally sure how to decorate it. One of the best ways to make your dorm room look bigger is with larger wall decorations. Having one large painting above your bed or a collage above your desk can make the walls of your room look bigger themselves.

Having lots of little paintings and trinkets can be fun but it can clutter up the walls and make them look smaller. One fun way to customize your wall art is by printing out pictures that are stored on your phone and making a photo wall. This is a great way to keep old friends in your mind while also having the space to add more pictures with the friends you make in college.

Another common wall decoration choice is to use tapestries. Finding a tapestry that works well with your color scheme and room theme will really help tie a room together. And while hanging up a tapestry can be difficult, one easy approach is to stick command strips onto large clothespins and then hang the fabric up on the walls using the pins.

Lastly, crafting wall art with friends is a fun way to bond with hallmates while creating a customized piece for your room. Taking a trip to an arts and crafts store with a group of friends is a great way to get off campus, and the memories that are made will last.

Next, the bedding is extremely important. This is your new home and you will most likely be spending a lot of time in your dorm, so having cute and fun bedding can make a huge difference in how you feel about coming home every day.

One suggestion I want to make is to get a bedspread with bright colors and a busy design. The bright colors will draw attention to your room and really make it pop, while the busy design is ideal if you don’t have a ton of time to wash your bedspread as much as you should. If you spill some mac and cheese on your pink, orange and yellow paisley patterned bedspread, no one will ever notice.

Also I just want to mention pillows; have lots of pillows. I say this for two reasons: it makes your bed significantly more comfortable and it makes making your bed up in the morning much easier. If you’re like me and have early classes this semester, making my bed each morning is a bit of a hassle. But pillows make this so much easier. All I have to do is pull the sheets up a little then throw all the pillows on the bed and boom, my bed is made. The secret is that the pillows cover up all the wrinkles and lumps created by crumpled up sheets and blankets.

Finally I want to mention the desk. The desks supplied by the university can be awkward and bulky at times, but finding ways to utilize the bulky pieces and organizing your supplies will be beneficial in the long run.

A cluttered room and a messy desk can lead to your dorm feeling smaller and overwhelming at times. It’s best to keep things organized, but you will need to find the balance between organization and organized clutter. Having a couple of desk organizers can be a great thing. I recommend getting a small drawer set to keep paper and other supplies and maybe a pencil and pen holder. However, don’t clutter your desk with too many organizers, keeping it simple with just one or two is enough to clean things up while still having space for your laptop or your textbooks.

Second of all, the way you purpose the shelving unit that comes with the desk can make your room. This piece is removable, so if you want a TV stand that sits on the floor, this is a good item to use. It can also be used as a TV stand while still on your desk. Decorating the shelves with pictures, plants and books will also help it stay simple but fun.

Finally, what do you do with the drawers in the desk? I would recommend getting an organizer or two for the drawers. The bottom drawer is quite large and is a great place to store snacks if you don’t want to opt for a snack cart or small kitchen area. The two smaller drawers are great for keeping extra school supplies and all of the awesome free stuff you’ll get at involvement fairs and giveaways.

I know this may seem like an overwhelming task at first, and don’t worry — your dorm may not be perfect just yet and that’s ok. It will take time until you have your room exactly how you want it to look.

Just make sure you have fun while decorating and kick your creative side into high gear.