Category: Professional article
Complex.com, August 25, 2016
This is one of the most recent pieces I’ve written for Complex.com. It is a branded content piece sponsored by Best Buy, although I was not required to mention anything about Best Buy in the article. I brainstormed the design and decorating ideas and sent my list to the branded content coordinator, who approved my ideas. While I was writing the final draft of the article, the video team at Complex created a before-and-after video to visualize my ideas and accompany the article.
Design Hacks to Upgrade Your Dorm Room
Your dorm room is central to your college experience. From the moment you arrive on campus, it’s your headquarters. You sleep, work, relax, socialize, eat, and store your most valuable possessions in your dorm room. But when you first step foot inside that fluorescent concrete box, you may be hesitant to call it home. Don’t worry: There are plenty of ways you can make this generic room personalized and homey, while conserving what small space you have in the process. Here are 10 design hacks that’ll upgrade your dorm room.
Display Your Most Prized Possessions
Image via Magnus D on Flickr
Chances are you take pride in your sneaker collection. Not only do your kicks look cool, but you’ve sunk plenty of cash into them over the years. Instead of throwing them in a heap at the bottom of your already cluttered closet, show them off to anyone who visits your room. With the use of floating shelves, which you can find at any local home goods store or online, you can create a fly shoe display.
Adorn Your Walls With Retro Flair
Image via Localofnz on Flickr
You’re going to hang a poster or two (at the very least) in your dorm room, but consider mixing up your wall décor by adding some old vinyl records as well. Thrift and antique stores sell these babies at laughably low prices, frequently for less than a dollar a pop. Get creative with arranging them: Think about spelling out your initials or your university’s initials, or simply make an eye-catching, abstract pattern.
Make Your Room Look Bigger
Image via Liz McDonald on Flickr
Your room probably comes with a full-length mirror on the back of the door. Yes, it allows you to ensure your outfit is on fleek, but mirrors can also make your doghouse-size room appear larger. That’s why you should consider picking up a second full-length mirror at Target and hang it horizontally over your bed. Feel free to adorn the sides with bottle caps and other ornaments to add some flavor. If you’re planning on hanging a Da Vinci painting over your bed, opt for a smaller mirror and place it next to your desk. That way, you can use it as a dry-erase memo board.
Put Old T-Shirts To Work
Image via Nicolas on Flickr
Let’s be honest: You have some old, balled up t-shirts at the bottom of your drawer. I’m willing to bet there are enough of them to clothe your entire residence hall. You’ve thought about getting rid of them, but nostalgia for the junior high ultimate Frisbee team holds you back. If you’re still not ready to part ways with the sentimental shirts, choose your favorite ones and turn them into wall art. Pick up canvas stretchers at an art supply store and use a staple gun to transform your shirts into hangable art. Here’s a tutorial on how to do just that.
Class Up Your Lighting
Image via Wicker Paradise on Flickr
Despite the fact that they’re called Christmas lights, you’ll find these festive fixtures adorning college students’ rooms everywhere. Set yourself apart from the pack and snag LED Strip Lights on Amazon, which come in a variety of colors. Run the adhesive lights along the baseboards of your room or underneath your bedframe to give the space an otherworldly glow.
Take A Breath Of Fresh Air
Image via Pexels
It can be hard to make a dorm room look homey thanks to its cinder block walls and unforgiving, 90-degree angles. Plants provide a much-needed contrast by bringing an organic element to the space. They also produce fresh oxygen, which may offer some relief from your stressful lifestyle. Even if every living thing you touch turns to ash, a bunch of plant varieties are practically impossible to kill. Look for spider plants, succulents, English ivy, rubber trees, and pothos.
Create As Much Privacy As Possible Using Curtains
Image via Unsplash
Finding privacy can be difficult when you’re living in a room with one, two, or even three other people on a campus packed with thousands more. Curtains solve that problem. If you can’t drill holes in your wall, don’t worry. Use command hooks to MacGyver your way into building a makeshift curtain rod. Tension rods also work. Aside from donning curtains on your wall, use them to create a haven for yourself underneath a lofted bed. Fair warning: Your roommates might begin to wonder what you’re doing under there.
Kill Two Birds With One Ottoman
Image via Andy Tyler on Flickr
As we’ve already covered, the space in your dorm room is severely limited. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a designated area to lounge. Invest in a few ottomans and trunks that have interior storage. If you and your roommate(s) coordinate purchases, you can set up a coffee table with seating that doubles as a storage unit. Multi-purpose objects are your best friends when it comes to dorm room shopping.
Accomodate Guests With Comfortable Seating
Image via Osamu Kaneko Flickr
If you’re able to optimize your furniture arrangement to fit a couch or a futon, your room will become the perfect hangout spot. Cover your bed and seating areas with matching pillows and blankets to create a more inviting and attractive environment. If you’re feeling exotic and tropical (and you have the space for it), add a hammock to the mix. Hang it underneath a lofted bed or between you and your roommate’s bedposts. Himal Hammocks and DoubleNest Hammocks are safe and affordable options.
Create Storage Where There Is None
Image via bccnyc on Flickr
In case you missed the memo, space is limited in dorm rooms. That’s why finding places to store your clothes and knick knacks might present a major challenge. Here’s how you attack it: Make the most of your wall space by hanging hats and hoodies on command hooks or a lightweight rack. You can also put a bed cubby behind your headboard, which will provide extra shelving. Dorm Decor has an awesome selection, but if you’re on a tight budget, bathroom shelves from Bed Bath & Beyond or re-purposed bookcases will also do the trick.