Kathryn Weber

Dynamite College Dorm Rooms that Deliver

A cool dorm room combines fun design, practicality, comfort and organization -- and makes your student ready for college life

When your child is leaving for college, one of the best ways to counterbalance the anxiety of moving far from home is to create an uber-cool college dorm room. At the very least, your student will feel proud, organized and, most importantly, prepared for college life.

By now your aspiring college student has probably come across numerous checklists of college dorm room essentials. As helpful as these are, they don't generally give much guidance on how to put these elements together in an attractive way. For that, I recommend searching the Internet for images of cool dorm rooms and similar spaces to help get inspired. Pottery Barn Teen, for example, has put together a virtual look book of stylish dorm rooms on its website (pbteen.com/dorm).

With a good checklist and a few inspiring images, and by following a few basic principles, your student should have no trouble creating an inviting home away from home.

College Dorm Room Tip 1 - Make Some Wow

For the maximum cool college dorm room impact, find one large item to decorate around. In decorator-speak this is called a focal point.

Because there won't be a fireplace or other element to feature, you'll need to choose a decorative item. It could be a large graphic poster, a big funky piece of wall art or a beat up brass tuba.

Whatever it is, it needs to be something that says "wow" when you see it. That's one of the key ways to make a dorm room go from good to dynamite.

College Dorm Room Tip 2 - Emphasize Comfort

The stressful aspects of college life -- being away from home, all those late-night study sessions -- require an extra dose of comfort.

Oversized pillows or European square pillows will allow reading in bed without a neck ache. Select good quality memory foam mattress toppers and down comforters to make sleeping better and more restful. Adding carpeting or a soft rug will also provide some soundproofing and comfort underfoot.

Comfort can also be enhanced by subtle design choices such as color. Although wild colors are trendy and fun, they become visually tiring when they're the most prominent shade. Instead, select an anchor color, such as navy, black, white or chocolate. These colors are soothing and look great with touches of bright color.

College Dorm Room Tip 3 - Make The Most of Available Space

Dorm rooms are notoriously small, so every bit of space is needed for storage.

Remember to think vertically because most dorm rooms are horizontally challenged. Tall, stacking storage takes up less room and takes advantage of vertical space.

For bedding, consider a loft bed and desk combination with additional storage or shelving. To stay organized, pack a hand-held labeler with your student. It's a handy tool he can use to label storage drawers, files and personal items.

College Dorm Room Tip 4 - Keep it Clean

In addition to the mini-fridge and kitchen necessities, don't forget to include some cleaning supplies.

Put together a small tote with dust spray and rags, an all-purpose cleaner and a roll of paper towels with a holder for cleaning spills. A small stick vacuum is another cleaning essential to pack along.

Keeping a tidy college dorm room will help your student feel more comfortable and relaxed, all the better to face the academic challenges ahead.


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Dynamite College Dorm Rooms that Deliver - College Dorm Room Tips

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