An official guide to dorm decor
Coming to Washington University is, for many of us, our first time away from home. And although within weeks you won’t be able to remember a time before Bear’s Den was dinner and Friday nights meant searching Upper Row for a party, having a place to call home in St. Louis is important to making it through the year with your peace of mind intact. It’s amazing what a few minor improvements can do to a room. Here are my suggestions for turning a blank slate into the ultimate home away from home:
Buy a lamp
Nothing bothers me more than the fluorescent lights of the dorms. Your eyes will thank you when you’re getting ready in the morning or hanging out with friends late at night, trust me.
Consider a rug
I wouldn’t say that a rug is a must, but it offers two major benefits. 1) It provides some softness as opposed to industrial carpet, and 2) It adds a layer of shelter from the cold of winter for those living on ground floors.
Make your own art
Nothing is more depressing than blank white dorm walls. No matter what, get something up there. But you don’t have to spend very much to put something nice together. If you’re not the artistic type, try cutting pictures out of magazines, laminating them (or not) and hanging them on the wall. If you add some washi-tape frames, your dorm will be Pinterest-worthy. If you do have an artistic streak, spend some time crafting this summer with your friends from home. I have found that it doesn’t take that much prowess to follow some do-it-yourself instructions and create a nice-looking product. Really, all you want is something to add color to your room so that it won’t look quite so cookie-cutter
Hit vintage stores and thrift shops
This summer, I’ve been scouring all manner of secondhand shops in search of tapestries and photographs or prints for my new room. The prices are great and the items you find will make your room unique.
Consider everything you bring
I know this sounds extreme, but you have to realize that even the plastic bins you buy for underneath your bed will grab a lot of attention. If you’re aesthetically inclined, taking the time to pick attractive storage options and organizational must-haves will make a big difference throughout the year. Also, try to keep the look consistent. On your trip to Target in Clayton (you will go on move-in day and run into half your freshman floor), keep a color scheme in mind even when buying smaller, seemingly inconsequential items.
Coordinate with your roommate
But please don’t match. By this piece of advice, I mean think about who will be buying which major items. You don’t want to end up with two fridges and no microwave. But when it comes to the style of your room, I think you should discuss a color scheme. Maybe you’ll both buy blue duvets, but please don’t feel compelled to match everything.
Your bed is your everything
It is your sofa, your study and your place to sleep. Invest in quality sheets and consider your bedspread or duvet carefully because it’s the biggest element in the room most times. And by all means, think about the fact that a member of the opposite sex might see it at some point. Don’t embarrass yourself with My Little Pony sheets and a Justin Bieber body pillow.
Leave room to grow
Every year, upperclassmEvery year, upperclassmen pare down what they bring back to campus as they begin to realize how easy it is to get by without the knick-knacks you may be considering packing up this August. Really think about what items to bring from your wardrobe; don’t just bring everything. You will accumulate so much stuff through the year, particularly if you join Greek Life, that you will thank yourself for leaving the knick-knacks and purse options behind.