By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
When you enter a new dorm room, “fun” probably isn’t the first adjective that comes to mind. More like, “sturdy” or “institutional” fit better. But you can put the “fun” into “functional” with a few accessories.
• Lighten up. A small reading light is a must-have for late night studying; however, novelty lights can make your space more interesting. Try a string of patio lights, a lava lamp or another small novelty lamp.
• Curtain call. You likely have a set of stark Venetian blinds adorning your windows upon move-in. Adding curtains and a valance sets the mood for your room. Pick a whimsical print or an eye-popping color. Just make sure you’re allowed to install any hardware you may need to hang it. If that’s a no-no, you may be allowed to use removable plastic hooks or artfully drape a swag across the top of the blinds.
• Floor your guests. A cold, tile floor is no fun at all. An area rug in shag styles adds a cozy touch and they come in plenty of bright colors and zany prints.
• Create a college collage. Print your fave photos to create a wall collage of the good times you’re having at school. Outline them in colorful washi tape, which is removable and thus dorm-friendly. Or get more creative with themes. String them along a cord with mini clothespins like laundry (again, use removable hooks). Mount them on a bulletin board with oversized pushpins and crisscross strings among them with a few small mementos like ticket stubs to create wall decor reminiscent of an old-timey detective working on a case. Arrange them to form your initial. Or go big and blow up several of your favorite prints or art reproductions to poster size. Outline them with washi tape for extra panache.
• Sitting room. Make your bed more like a couch by pushing it against the wall and placing large pillows against the wall. Add a throw and some smaller pillows to cozy it up. Consider storable guest seating such as foldable chairs you can stow under your bed or plush ottomans you can slide under your hanging clothes to store. (If your bed is close to the floor, risers can give you the space you need to stow seating.)
• Carve out “me” space. Use a fabric shower curtain in a whimsical print, kids’ character sheets or other entertaining printed fabric to create a faux canopy bed. Use removable hooks to anchor wires to the ceiling. You can also “wallpaper” your room with comics, removable wallpaper or printed fabrics to break up the monotony of solid, plain walls.
Overall, focus on softening the hard surfaces and enlivening the bland colors of your dorm. Eclectic textures, bursts of colors and eclectic, personal touches will make your room the most fun space in the dorm. Work with your roommate to coordinate colors and develop your theme.