I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for interior design. Always have been, always will be. When I was a kid, I binge-watched HGTV like it was the Cartoon Network and every day was Saturday morning. I guess I’ve just always loved how people’s personalities shine through in their personal spaces – through their choice of lighting, wall decor, and upholstery. And that certainly didn’t change when it came time for me to shop for my first year dorm at the University of Virginia.
I spent an ungodly amount of time this summer fretting over my dorm room: how I was going to arrange the furniture, decorate, organize, clean – the whole shebang. So, I figured I’d pass on my new collegiate residential wisdom along with the rest of the Prospect team. I asked our lovely staff members to send me snapshots of their college spaces, along with a short blurb about them – their favorite item(s) in their dorm, dorm shopping tips, or any organization or design suggestions. Below, you’ll find the fabulous submissions I received:
Maya Todd, Maryville University ‘18
Maya says: “My favorite part is definitely the wall above my bed and a space saving tip would be under the bed containers and sorting through all of your stuff early especially if you have a lot like I did.”
Andrea Villa, Stanford University ‘18
Chloe Lee, University of Southern California ‘18
Chloe says: “Go to Target to find dorm stuff before going to Bed Bath and Beyond. It’s cheaper!”
Joanna Flores, Fordham University ‘17
Joanna says: “My bed is super low, so when I make it in the morning, I put the pillows along the wall and turn it into a makeshift daybed. It makes it more inviting to sit on, instead of napping.”
Joanna says: “Writing on my window with Expo as another at-a-glance of what’s coming up in classes (especially with midterms).
Joanna says: “My general desk set up. 10/10 recommend this bookstand: It gives me SO much desk space, especially with huge textbooks!” She also loves this desk organizer. “10/10, totally recommend. I can fit all of my textbooks neatly, storage binders, and extra copy and filler paper. It leave me with so much desk and work space!”
Isabella Chirico, Vassar College ’17
Isabella says: “While my dorm isn’t the nicest on campus, it does have the greatest number of singles. Because I live in a single I have two adorable guinea pigs name Tilly (gray) and Dicey (multicolored) who are shown in some of the photos. I really enjoy having a single because it allows me to make big decisions like having the girls and how to decorate my room with having to consult anyone else.”
Beth Watson, University of Virginia ‘18
Protip: do whatever you can to give yourself some bedside space for your alarm clock and a lamp (perfect for when you need some more study time and your roommate needs some shut-eye); I was able to use my windowsill, but get creative if you can’t.
Also: don’t be afraid to make your space totally your own. Does my Frozen poster, UVa pillow pet, and borderline abuse of the color pink make my room look like it belongs to someone half my age? Sure. Do I care? Not even a little bit.
Target is your very best friend for all things dorm decor, followed by T.J. Maxx. Pottery Barn Teen is fantastic for bedspreads, but only if you’re ready to make a hefty investment in your dorm design. I waited until my bedspread of choice was on sale, and am planning on using it for all four years of college to keep my consumer guilt at bay.
Storage bins are a lifesaver and my appreciation for them knows no bounds. Invest in them. Make use of them. Love them.
Two simple ways to make your room feel instantly like home: bring your own coffee maker and office chair. The dining hall coffee will taste of bitterness and disappointment, and the chair that comes with your room will be hard, rickety, and if it’s the type that rocks back, kind of a deathtrap. So take my advice and let your Keurig and your swivel chair tag along for your college journey – you won’t regret it.
So there you have it, collegiate ladies and gentlemen. You’ve been welcomed into our cribs and heard all of our dorm design secrets. May the knowledge that you’ve received serve you well when you move into your next dorm, apartment, sorority house, or fraternity house. The Prospect’s staff just knows you’re going to make your spaces phenomenal