What Every College Freshman Needs to Know About Dorm Room Style

Now that all the festivities surrounding high school graduation have officially ended means it’s time turn the focus to college life and create a dorm room style that reflects the way you live. Gone are the days of arriving on campus with a few suitcases and taping posters to cinderblock walls. “Dorm rooms today are fancier than ever before,” says Sarah Jernigan, owner of Sarah Jernigan Interior Design and Remodeling. “And every mom wants their child to feel like they are at home in their new space.”

If you’re looking for a more feminine and soft look, Sarah suggests this combination. Imagine this with a bright colored headboard. Best of all, these elements would translate into a single gal apartment and house as you head into life after college.

“The newer dorm rooms are amazing and don’t need much freshening other than a cozy chair and desk lamp,” she says. “But many of the most popular freshmen dorm rooms are like the one I lived in thirty years ago at Ole Miss with concrete walls that you’ll want to make more lively and happy.”

Sarah suggests to start by getting basic information from the housing office. This should include the room size, regulations of the room and what the room looks like.  Once you figure out what your dorm room has in it and the measurements, you can decide how to best arrange it. Typically, you can assume that the dorm room will have some type of privacy on the windows, a twin bed and a small closet.

Easily used with neutrals and whites, Sarah likes how the Quinn selection of items is more tailored and simple. These would also translate well to a future home.

“A dorm room can be a lot like a New York city apartment where you need to be sure to maximize your space,” says Sarah. “Finding a place to put all your stuff is a key ingredient.”

Most regular dorm room beds have 12-15 inches of space underneath them so putting beds on risers can gain space under the bed. That will call for customized bed skirts that are in between a regular bed and a bunk.

But beyond the essentials of storage, Sarah recommends that bringing in items that say something about yourself always enlivens a bedroom. “I’m someone who loves artwork,” she says. “That’s a great place to start in a dorm room.”

“Your bedding can also reflect who you are,” continues Sarah. “I’m a big believer in layers because you can’t always control the temperature in your room so you have to be prepared for that.” Express who you are with accent bed pillows. Sometimes it’s fun to do white, neutral bedding and then add some fun with the throw pillows.

An added bonus with accent pillows is that you can use them in a future apartment. Mirrors and smart organizational storage are other items that can be used in the future as well. And, if you have room in your dorm, a fun loveseat can also make a nice addition.

If you’re trying to coordinate your room with a roommate’s taste, Sarah says that the girls typically know each other well enough that they can find common ground. “Sometimes I find that it’s easiest to match with neutral bedding,” she says. “And then each girl can personalize with their own quilts and accent pillows so that it still feels synchronized.”  Another great way to get beautiful bedding is to purchase from someone who is selling theirs from the previous years.

Sarah designed this dorm room at Ole Miss with whites and added elements of color with accent pillows, quilts and the rug.

Putting beds on risers gives room for storage underneath.

Beyond the basics of the beautiful dorm room, don’t forget the necessities. “You’ll also want to take a power screwdriver, a hammer, an assortment of picture hangers, and lots and lots of Windex and disinfecting sprays,” says Sarah. “Older dorm rooms definitely need a good cleaning before moving in.” Also investigate the electrical regulations of the dorm before moving in to see if you can include things like power cord strips and space heaters.

“Above all, “says Sarah. “The same philosophy to decorating your house applies to your dorm room––surround yourself with things that you love.”


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