Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Creating A Colorful Dorm Room

Posted by: Kelly Porter

If your son or daughter is returning to college or headed there for the first time, you may have discovered that their 'home-away-from-home' is not so homey. Dorm rooms are famous for having basic furniture, bare floors, cinder block walls and harsh lighting -- but don't worry! Colorful college-living essentials are widely available at affordable prices, and these items can bring style and warmth to even the most uninspired dorm room. With just a splash of color and a little creativity, your campus-bound child will feel right at home.

Thanks to social media sites, such as Facebook, students get to "meet" their roommates even before arriving on campus. This is a great opportunity to coordinate colors and bedding prior to arriving at school. Bed coverings don't have to be an exact match, but the colors and/or patterns should be similar in order to ensure a harmonious look.

Don't take dorm decor too seriously. The result should be casual and fun. For example, oversized bold patterns and brightly-colored curtains helped to transform this dorm room {above} from drab to fab. Bright hues are also a fun choice for storage and seating:

{I love this electric blue sofa from}


Also, don't forget to lay the groundwork with an amazing area rug. This can be the starting point for your room's entire color scheme, and it will be very much appreciated on cold winter mornings.


{area rugs available at}

A funky lamp is also a nice way to add a bit of flair and personality. Lamp lighting is also a refreshing alternative to the glare of fluorescent ceiling lights.

If your child is residing in an off-campus student apartment, you may want to check and see if painting is permitted. Even painting just one accent wall can really make a space more inviting, and it's an easy Saturday project.

Above, designer Brian Patrick Flynn used rich colors to transform this University of Georgia dorm room into a cozy retreat. Below is another great painted space from IKEA.

If painting isn't allowed, there are many other artistic ways to add color to the walls. Check out this "Post-It Wall" {below} that two roommates created in their dorm room.

{Now that's using your imagination! From}

Also consider using removable wall decals. With all of the colorful and unique choices available, your child is sure to find a design that perfectly suits his or her taste.

These washable 'white board' decals {above} from, are as practical as they are pretty. Below, these retro mod ovals are available at the Design Dazzle store.

Dorm decor has certainly come a long way since I was in school... I remember bringing identical blue bedspreads with me to Howard University as a freshman so that my roommate and I would have matching beds. We taped pictures from fashion magazines to the walls and covered our bookcases with contact paper. That was considered pretty impressive back then. Now, decorating options are way more creative and widely available, so take advantage of them. Your son or daughter's dorm room is an important part of the college experience. Make it colorful!

Kelly Porter, designer and publisher of Color Sizzle, is a featured contributor.

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