Extreme Makeover: Dorm Room Edition


By: LAURA HUMBLE – STAFF WRITER

Making your dorm room at college feel like a homey, comfortable space isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Cinderblock walls, fluorescent lighting, and questionable neighbors are just a few of the aspects of dorm living that can make it less than enjoyable. But if you can’t get rid of these things, what can you do? The Cento caught up with several budding interior designers for some pro tips.

Sophomore Jeannie Corbitt lives in Cooper basement in Old Quad. When she arrived on campus last August, the room was dismal — beige, humid, and tiny. After some creative decorative changes, however, she got the room looking fabulous in no time. The first thing she focused on was lighting.

“I hated the fluorescent lighting in the room, so my roommate and I tried to find ways we wouldn’t have to use it,” Corbitt said.

That consisted of buying numerous forms of alternative lighting, including floor lamps (around $20 at Walmart), paper lanterns ($11), and a light kit ($7). She strung the light kit on her tiled ceiling using plastic hooks and put lampshades over the light bulbs to create cute, functional overhead lighting.

Another design tip from Corbitt’s room is to include color wherever you can, whether using posters, curtains, attractive bedding, carpet, or small accessories. Dorm rooms can be incredibly beige and bland, so pops of color scattered all throughout are never a bad idea.

sophomore Jeannie Corbitt’s ‘teal and coral’-themed dorm room, complete with affordable overhead lighting.

sophomore Jeannie Corbitt’s ‘teal and coral’-themed dorm room, complete with affordable overhead lighting.

“We picked a color scheme — teal and coral — and went with that,” Corbitt said.

Other Centre students had advice to offer as well, including the men. Sophomore Paddack Bahlman, studying abroad in London this semester, had plenty to say on the subject.

“When decorating my dorm, I tried to emulate the feel of my room at home. Naturally, the ‘college dorm’ aspect makes this slightly difficult … The best thing I learned and will pass on is don’t just go for form,” he said. “Go for function as well, whether it’s a memory foam topper on your mattress or a collage of pictures. It has to make you feel good, not just please the eye … You do have to live there, so make it look and feel nice. Your mood and outlook will sure reflect your efforts as mine did in my room. Let your room speak of your interests, and ultimately of yourself.”

Bahlman brought up a good point: dorm rooms are small, so make sure whatever you put in there serves a functional purpose. Colorful storage containers work, for instance, or a bulletin board as wall art. If you find clutter to be a problem, invest in some under-bed storage units.

If you’re wondering about decorating while living abroad, be careful. “Sadly, decorating while abroad has proved impossible. My greatest feature in my room is the Swiss army luggage,” he said. “Britain loves regulations, so much so that I can’t even tape anything on the wall, no matter now tasteful. However, what I’ve done and would advise is to still have tokens of home and things you love because you can still make even a British room feel like your own if you try hard enough.”

Tokens of home can help combat homesickness while at college as well.

And if you’re on a very tight budget, crafting for yourself is always an option. First-year Adriana Martin got very creative before coming to college for the first time. She is from California and wanted to display her roots in her room, so she turned her home state into art.

“[I] nailed [the outline of California] onto a wooden plank [and] wrapped strings around the nails,” Martin said. It hangs proudly on her wall over her desk. This artwork can be done with the outline of any state.

There are several options for taking your dorm room from a place that depresses you to one that makes you feel completely at home. You’re only limited by your own creativity.


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