It’s that time of year again – the college students are returning, U-Hauls and all.
And if you’re one of them, or are sending a child off to college, you know that turning a drab dorm into a comfortable, welcoming space is of primary importance.
The very good news is that decorating options have seriously leveled up. There are tons to choose from, in terms of cool gadgets and organizing systems, affordable essentials and comfy textiles, as well as fun furnishings to add style and personality, and make a kid feel happy and in his or her element.
Here are a few ideas to start the year off right.
Get things rolling by setting a unique background with peel and stick wallpapers — from cool trompe-l’œil red brick patterns like Bryanna Pell & Stick Brick Wallpaper (wayfair.com) that has the vibes of a cool city loft, to the bountifully ornate and colorfully patterned Ottoman Wallpaper ($188; anthropologie.com), which makes the place feel like some kind of grand mansion — minus the grand.
Ready to get seriously styled up? Then go with a headboard. The Roller Rabbit Charging Rounded Headboard ($499 on dormify.com) — in high-drama patterns like Amanda Pink and Jemina Blue — turn your room into a splendid spot to slumber worthy of a hotel. It also includes charging outlets, to make it easy to recharge your devices while you sleep.
Meanwhile, stay as cool as you look while you sleep — everyone always forgets how hot dorm rooms get deep into September every year — with a sweet little fan like the Vornado VFAN Mini Classic Personal Vintage Air Circulator Fan ($39.99 on amazon.com). Super cute with retro styling, it comes in a slew of colors and is also quiet enough not to bug your roommate.
The dearth of closet space in dorm rooms is notorious, so maximizing space is always a smart flex. For example? The 36-Pocket Over the Door Organizer ($29 on dormify.com) is a perfect way to keep shoes from piling up and taking over the bottom of the closet or the floor. Or get creative and use the pockets to store snack packs to be easily grabbed during all-nighters.
It’s pretty amazing how much time college students spend sitting, so doing so in total comfort is crucial. A bedrest pillow makes that possible — especially one like the Wicked Plush Backrest ($64.95 on llbean.com), which is about as soft as they come, and sports a built-in pocket to hold a phone or remote. And a lap desk sure seems like the perfect accessory to that, doesn’t it? As nice as it is to have a real desk and all, it’s tough to beat relaxing your back into an incredibly soft thing while being able to work at the same time.
As for bringing in some inspiring design around you, rugs are a key add in that respect. For that I love the Aloha Outdoor Area Rug (macys.com) — at 3’6″ x 5’6″, it’s a good size for the center of a room, and its cheerful and mod dahlia design brightens things up in a snap. Plus, its indoor-outdoor construction makes it easy to clean , in case any beverages (ahem) spill on it.
Oh, and cute accessories matter, too. Which is why I’m a big fan of the funny, adorable, and extremely wise pillows ($11.99 on amazon.com) that say “Be safe / Have Fun / Don’t Do Stupid (expletive)/ Love, Mom” on one side and “Call Your Mom” on the other. Just in case they need reminding, right?