Decorating ideas for your home away from home

| Special Features Editor

Hopefully, you are in the process of setting up or returning to your things in a room that, whether you are in an apartment or a dorm, could always be a bit bigger. Your room is one of the most important places at school and the only one where you have complete freedom over how it looks. This year, take the opportunity to really let those four walls be your canvas and express yourself with some interesting decorating. If you are looking to add something or alter your current setup, here are some decorating ideas—some of which have been employed by Washington University students in the past—to get you started.

Window to the world

Windows may be the last thing you think of when you decorate your room, but they can be revved up to make your room more interesting. Natural light is always a great addition to any room, but an unobstructed window is often followed by an unobstructed invasion of your privacy. Curtains or blinds are a common way to solve this, but if you are looking for something more embellished, try window film.

Window film is a large decal that you apply to the inside of your window. The film comes in different varieties and can make your window look like stained glass or frosted glass, like clouds or landscapes or other various designs. Window film is the perfect way for you to get light in your room without giving anyone the ability to see in. A few more of this product’s great features are that it is inexpensive—around $20 at Home Depot for a sheet to fit a standard-size window—can be cut to fit any window, can be arranged how you’d like on multiple windows and is easy to remove—all you do is peel it off! ResLife or your landlord will appreciate you for that.

If you happen to be in a room that does not have a window and you would like one, you can fake it. Find a print of a sky or landscape, and frame it. Decorate with fabric for curtains, or even add black strips of paper across it to create windowpanes.

Mirror Mirror

Mirrors, too, can be a great, functional piece to accent your room. They can be found in all shapes and sizes and often with decorative framing. Don’t be afraid to have more than one, just don’t go fun-house crazy.

Were you already planning on bringing a mirror but it broke during move-in? Not to worry—you can still turn your luck around. Collect the shards and arrange them on your wall in whatever pattern you like. This same effect can be achieved by buying mirrors of various sizes—which can be found at Bed Bath & Beyond or any craft store—and arranging them across your wall. If you’re superstitious, keep in mind the feng shui rule that says it is bad luck to have a mirror facing your bed because it can send bad spirits your way while you sleep.

The Pursuit of Sports

Sports equipment can take up a lot of space and be damaged if it’s thrown around the room or stepped on. So why not put it on the walls? Tennis or racquetball rackets can be hung on hooks arranged in a nice pattern to make art out of your sport of choice. For those of you who happen to own purses and bags or hats, you can do the same thing. Dare I say shoes too? That one may be a stretch.

Have fun trying out new things, but remember: Less is more. One room is a small space to do a lot of living in, so the last thing you want is for it to be cluttered. Pick one or two things that you want to be accented and work around those. Happy decorating!