Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Picture Perfect Dorm Room: Decorating Tips

This is another post dedicated to all of those college ladies who are making the trek back to school sometime this month! If you are an incoming freshman, get excited! For returning ladies, you know the drill! I wanted to share with you all some decorating ideas I've seen and tried myself to make your dorm room feel nice and "homey" and less like a plastic mess or a tacky Walmart ad. Being the oldest "child' in my family and my extended family, I was the first to head off to college. Needless to say, I was clueless. I of course fell for the Target and Walmart ads, and thought I needed all of those junky plastic cases and accessories to "complete" my dorm look. Well, well, well.. I was certainly wrong. I have found so many better quality items at places such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Tuesday Morning, Bed Bath & Beyond, PB Teen, and The Container Store that have helped me turn my dorm room into my home away from home.
I have so many different products such as lotions, hair creams, gels, face wash, gels, removers, etc. that leaving them atop a desk or dresser would look cluttered. I bought a plastic bin from Target and originally housed all of these bottles in there, but I think that putting the products in this box makes for a much more, neater and pretty display. I got this at Target and it works just perfectly for me sitting on my dresser.
I got this little metal "cup" at T.J. Maxx. it has a lid to it, and would also be great for storing cotton balls and swabs. I like this look because it gives you somewhere to keep your toothbrush and toothpaste so you never have to set it down on any surface. I also like it because if it gets messy, you can just wipe it off with water and the brushed metal gives it a little homey feel.
This is a magazine rack, and while it is never this messy while at school, and never filled with random things, it is great to have. This is where I keep all of my textbooks. I can see them and they are always readily available so I can grab them before heading to class or to the library. This is definitely something to bring only if you think you will have room for it. I know in my freshman dorm that there would never have been any room for it but there was plenty of room in my sophomore year dorm.
 A shoe rack. Seems obvious, but to me, it wasn't. First semester freshman year, I laid my shoes out in the bottom of my closet... That just became a huge jumbled mess of shoes and it took me forever to pick out a matching pair. This keeps them neat and sorted so you are never looking for a pair. This particular one is Laura Ashley and I got it at T.J Maxx (they usually have a better housewares section as compared to Marshalls). I chose this one because it is long and thing and that is how our closets are in most dorms on my campus. I have two others in my room as well which were both purchased from Target but they are made for full sized doors. I recommend getting the small one so it will be sure to fit on your door. Of course these aren't even 1/4 of the pairs of shoes that I own, but limiting myself to only take shoes that will fit on this rack, really helps to keep me from over packing.
A hutch for atop your desk is almost a necessity. At my school, you can order the desks that are supposed to be made for the top of my school's desk, however, they are not pretty (just pieces of wood screwed together). I turned to the Container Store for the absolute greatest hutch. It is only $69 and the quality couldn't be better. The best part about it: no assembly was required and it folds flat so it is SO easy to store and transport. The picture above are the "bins" that I got to store things in. I got 3 of these bins, and along with the bins, my printer sat on one of the shelves as well. In one bin I store my headband collection, in another bin I store medicine, first aid items, and other miscellaneous items. The third bin I store chargers, cords, computer and electronic accessories, and some other random items. These bins keep me organized and keep the clutter out of sight.
I got this little container at T.J. Maxx. I also have a matching dish as well. In this container I keep cotton balls, pads and swabs for removing make up and nail polish. The matching dish is what I use kind of as a valet tray.
This was a graduation present from a very good friend and I was so in love with it, I went back and got more! It's a collapsible canvas storage bin. It zips and has a Velcro tab to secure that nothing falls out in transport. I think it is so great because it is collapsible so it is very convenient to store. I also love the fact that they are "monogrammable". I find it best that they store sweaters and sweatshirts best and if you don't have enough room to store them under-bed then they are cute enough to store at the bottom of your closet or somewhere visible in your room.

I am obsessed with this! It is a pink and green, wooden painting. It hangs from grosgrain ribbon. Instead of taping pictures to your walls or hanging paper posters, try making your dorm more cozy by adding beautiful frames and touches of personalization.
This is another personal touch that I added.I bought the white wooden "S" from Michaels and bought cute scrap book paper. I traced the S onto the paper and cut it out, and then modge podged the paper onto the wooden letter. I then cut ribbon and voila!
This is a picture from my sophomore year dorm. The picture frames really add a home touch. Instead of making collages with poster-board or crafting something that may turn out badly, stick to pretty frames. The large frame I got from the Better Homes section of Walmart which actually has some pretty items (and cheap too!) and the pink and white frame I bought from Hallmark. And the black case is my jewelry case from my jewelry storage post.
If you would like to see my post from last year with pictures of my sophomore year dorm room click here. Also, for more college packing tips, click here and here.
Little touches are what truly make your college living area feel like home. If you have any college packing tips, ideas, or questions, feel free to leave a comment on this post or email me at There will be more college tips coming, so keep checking back! Have a fabulous day!


Pink Maple said...

I totally agree on picture frames on the walls, it makes a dorm room look so homey. I also suggest bringing curtains, I used cream-colored tab top curtains in my dorm rooms throughout college and it really softened the room. I also used to drape a flower garland across the curtain top.

Miss Southern Prep said...

Great tips! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I, too, agree with picture frames over scotch tape; it makes a huge difference! I wish I'd thought to take pictures of my old dorm rooms!

Anonymous said...

Love your decor, especially the decorative letters, I'm always to tempted to buy the blank ones and decorate them but never know how.

Southern Champagne Wishes said...

Lovely dorm room and so many cute ideas! I wish I'd thought of all of those things when I was in college!

Pink Champagne said...

For some reason, I picture you having the most adorable dorm room EVER. Good luck with a new year! XO

Sierra said...

is there anyway you can find out where the pink storage bin is from i have been looking everywhere i am in need of something like that


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