If you or your child is heading to college this year and staying in the dorms, you need a guide for decorating the dorm room.
Dorm rooms are institutional feeling at best, and what you want to create is a warm and cozy room that inspires and feels homey. You also should do it on a budget. This isn't going to be a place for expensive items becuase young adults will be in there. We all are very aware of how a lot of young adults treat items... not too well. Especially when it isn't their own money. If you are the responsible young adult, or your child is one, they may still have those thoughtless friends who don't care. So try to be economical with your purchases. Look for things that don't break the bank but also are going to be able to take a lickin'.
Let's start a the bottom and work our way up. One key thing you can buy for a dorm room is a rug. Rug will make the floor feel a whole lot nicer and add a splash of color to the room. You can set the tone for your room with it.
When picking out a rug, think about this, it will need to be cleaned, for sure, at some point. You will want to find one that can be washed. Also, think about the size, you don't want to buy a rug that is too big and may be difficult to take outside to beat the dirt out of it. When picking a color for the room, consider going with a rug that is a darker color or pattern. Helps keep the dirt hidden a little longer.
Next, look for some under bed storage. Dorm rooms are not known to be large and finding places to store the items you'll accumulate throughout the year is something to think about. You might also need bed risers to go along with this under bed storage. If bed risers are out of your budget, go get some cement blocks to use as risers.
On to the bed. Buy a mattress topper. These beds weren't bought for how comfortable they were, so expect them the be less than soft. Find a nice down mattress topper, try the kind that look like egg crates. They are a good economical purchase for a bed topper as they can get pricey.
Most dorm room mattresses are XL-Twins and regular twin sheets will not fit. So, buy a few sets of sheets and don't buy them in white. You will be using your bed to sit on, study on, eat on, and sleep on. In essence your bed will also be your couch.
Now, to the decorating part of your bed. This is the time of your life when you should go crazy with your college dorm room decor if you want! Buy a comforter that reflects your personality. Now is the time to explore your decorating style or go completely opposite of it. It is socially acceptable to have a crazy room.
Don't forget the pillows. You should probably go with a pillow for you to sleep on and a body pillow minimum. The body pillow will act as the back support to your couch when your bed is being used as one. If you have it in the budget, go for 3 throw pillows for extra cushy on the bed.
Now, the furniture. If you are having a roommate, check with them to see what they are bringing. Also, check with the college to find out what is already in the room. From there, when you know what you will have, what you need to get and who is getting what between you and your roommate, make a list. I would highly encourage you to check out Craigslist for furniture. Look for furniture that can serve multiple functions. Space is at a premium in a dorm room.
Find out if you can hang shelves on the walls. This will increase your storage space by using your walls. Think vertically, where you can add more storage. Look to find ways to optimize your closet. Organizers are a great way to maximize your space.
Lighting! Don't forget it and have plenty of it. Lamps will change the mood of a room. With all the affordable lighting choices out there, you can decorate while giving yourself something to see with.
Wall Decor. There are so many walls to decorate your walls. You can go the tried and true way of using posters. You can get a old school Polaroid camera and take pictures of your family and friends before you go off to college and turn it into a mosaic on your wall of Polaroids. You can go to a paint store, see if the have an old wallpaper book and give it to you for free. Rip out the wallpaper you like and make your own style on the walls. You could cover your walls with butcher paper, and write all over your walls, have your college friends do it as well. Now with the Sharpies that don't bleed through the paper, think of the memories you will have and can take with you after you leave!
If you would like to soften up the look around your bed, or separate your space from your roommates, consider some sheer fabric. You could hang it using some hardware from ikea, and then use safety pins to hang things off of it, not too heavy, though.