Bright Ideas for a Girls Dorm
For eighteen years now your bedroom has been your sanctuary, your own stylized little corner of your world. Now you’ve gotta leave it and head off to college where you’ll most likely be sharing your living space. But don’t fret, just because you’re leaving 90% of your belongings back at Mom & Dad’s doesn’t mean you can’t bring along your brilliant sense of style. And because I know you’re on a student’s budget, I’ll be giving you some dorm room ideas that won’t break the bank.
Since you’ll be sharing a room with someone else, let’s start with your most prized piece of real estate in your room, your bed. Most of your time will be spent here. Whether it be sleeping, studying, eating, or snuggling, the bed is the go-to spot for comfort during many activities.
If your dorm allows it, and you have enough ceiling height, a loft bed is definitely the way to go. Along with adding more storage space, a loft bed will significantly increase your living space. The added space can become anything you can imagine. Set it up for a study area by adding a desk, chair, and shelving. Or, put together a quaint lounge area with a chair or loveseat, media center, and bookcase. You can even make it into a functional kitchen by adding a mini fridge, toaster oven, and small table and chair.
Arrange for Privacy
A small downside to dorm living is that there isn’t much privacy. There are some tricks to adding privacy to a shared room though. For instance, take advantage of the furniture layout. Try arranging your beds foot to foot with a dresser, bookcase, or armoire in between. Also, try a folding room divider.
If a barrier in the middle of the room is too intrusive for you check out a few of these more subtle hideaway ideas.
Add a Canopy. Hanging some fabric around your bed will not only add privacy, but will add an elegant décor to the room. You can buy premade canopies, but this will be more expensive than the DIY route. Simply hanging some fabric from the ceiling will work fine, but make sure that your dormitory allows installation of fasteners. If they do not, then try some adhesive style hangers. These types have an adhesive backing so they won’t damage walls or ceilings, but they’re not as strong as hook screws.
The canopy will look even nicer if you match it to your bedding colors or patterns. If you’re on a bottom bunk, no need to worry. Just attach the fabric to the bunk frame itself. If you feel you need a bit more privacy, try a thicker fabric. This will keep light from passing through and can also dampen sounds.
Now that we’ve got your privacy covered, what about your belongings? There’s no doubt that you and your roommates will be sharing on a regular basis, but you don’t want to be leaving your stuff all over the room. Follow these guidelines and you and your roommate won’t be butting heads.
If you’ve brought along a lot of stuff, raised or loft beds are great for maximizing your use of space for storage and living. Some dorms don’t allow lofting of beds, most will allow you to at least raise it, so make sure that you check first before getting set on any ideas. There are so many varieties of storage solutions that work great for the college student’s lifestyle. Some dorms already have built-in storage but we all know we could use a little more. Modular stacking storage bins seem to be the favored type for dormitory life. If the provided storage isn’t quite enough, try loading up under your raised bed with these storage concepts.
If you’re still in need of more storage space for things that you don’t want to stuff under the bed, maybe clothes or books or other things that you’d like readily available, check out some of these storage solutions.
Take advantage of as much space as you can. Hanging storage is great because it utilizes space from the ceiling down, leaving you with more floor. If you’re out of shelf space, get more out of your closet by hanging an organizer next to your clothes. On the other hand, if you need more hanging space for your clothes, try out some space saving hangers. You can even swing by the hardware store for some chain link for a DIY hanger project.
By using your door as storage area, you free up even more floor space. This shoe holder hangs on the backside of a door. There’s usually enough room for two of these on one door, side by side, so you can pick one up for your favorite roomie too! You can also use these holders for your toiletries.
Tall storage towers work well for saving floor space too. Remember, the more you store vertically, the less you have to store horizontally. Think skyscrapers vs. urban sprawl. Take a look at some of these tower style storage units.
Extra storage can exist even is places you’d least expect. Scour the web with the right keywords and you’ll come across some of the coolest storage out there: hidden storage chairs! These are perfect for storing backup office supplies, makeup and beauty supplies, or just about anything you want.
If you don’t want to buy any extra storage for all those college textbooks, check out this cool DIY idea for a wall mounted hidden bookshelf. A couple wall brackets and some screws will have your roommate questioning their sanity with this artistic optical illusion storage idea.
Don’t forget about storing your food. Remember to check with your dormitory polices on cooking food in your room though. Some have a common dorm kitchen and prohibit cooking in the dorm rooms themselves to reduce the chance of pest infestation. Although cooking food in your dorm room might be against the rules, nearly all dorms allow you to store your food in your room.
Mini fridges are awesome. They are just perfect for storing your drinks, snacks, and produce. You’ll have extra time to study if you’re not running out of your room every few hours to grab a bite. And it provides more area to display things like notes, pictures or decoration. Don’t forget to get a mini fridge with a freezer, ice is nice!
Get some more food storage by combining your mini fridge with a compact fridge cart with drawers. These are perfect for storing dry food, dishes, or utensils. Make sure to get one with wheels too. This will make it much easier to clean or rearrange your room.
Well, we’ve focused a lot on function, now let’s get into form. Bare walls are boring, you’ve gotta have something besides paint to look at. Try decorating with matching or complementing colors. Start with a color set and expand on it. Or create a theme. What are your hobbies? Photography? Put up a photo collage as a focal piece.
Maybe you’re into fashion. Take some of that wall space, mix in your fabulous wardrobe, and boom! Now who needs a closet when you could show off your high fashion sense instead?
Into music? Not enough space for your instruments? Use ‘em as décor! A lot of instruments are odd shapes or overly large. This can prove difficult in a shared dorm room, so get more out of your favorite glockenspiel by hanging it up for all to behold.
Another easy way to add some style to your room is to decorate those ugly light switch and wall outlet plates. Take down the ones that are currently up and store them somewhere so you can replace them when you move out. You could run to a local hardware store and spend under 10 buck and decorate some premade covers, or go the DIY route.
Some sharpie marker or paint on a premade cover can look amazing. Try matching it to your room’s color scheme.
Match up your light switch cover plates with your wall outlet covers. A little spare fabric here, a splash of Mod Podge there and voila! Some spiffy covers that are actually pleasant to the touch.
Make that switch a proper piece of art by adding a frame. Secondhand stores are goldmines for items like these. Some sandpaper and paint or wood stain can make an old frame brand new again.
Attention! Make sure that you don’t over tighten the screw when you reinstall your new plate covers. They are notorious for cracking!
Try getting some houseplants. They will help not only with adding decoration, but fresh air too. Having some herb plants adds even more function to this down-to-earth decoration. Also, play around with your planter pots.
Mason jars are incredibly inexpensive. Make sure to get the ‘wide-mouth’ jars, they are way easier to clean out.
Not good with remembering to water your plants? Try some cactus. These plants require very little water but remember to keep them in the sun. Try this DIY sponge pot.
If you love plants but don’t want to spend a bunch of money, try this awesome do-it-yourself solution.
Light bulbs are cheap and come in packs, which is great for your wallet. All you need is a pair of pliers and some tie wire for a base and you can make some really cool vases. Try out different types of bulbs too. Or, hang them up instead of making a stand.
Well now that you’ve got a bazillion ideas to work with, I’ll let you get to it. Have fun setting up your new dorm room but don’t forget to study!