After high school, choosing to pursue higher education is an exciting chapter that holds many life lessons, including learning to live away from home. University students quickly learn that adjusting to a college lifestyle is not all about balancing classes and grades — it also incorporates embarking on a journey to find independence. Part of embracing such newfound freedom starts with dorm room life and making a personal space proactively organized and attractive.
Bryn Carden, a Delta Gamma sorority member at Texas Christian University, reflects on her freshman year and remembers how styling her dorm room helped shake the nerves of starting college. She offers these seven tips to help any graduating high school senior planning for college create a designer-style dorm room on a budget.
Tip #1. Layer Indoor-Outdoor Rugs
Rugs can be pretty expensive, but dealing with cold dorm room floors in the winter can be unpleasant. Budget-friendly rugs that are available at Walmart or Cost Plus World Market are indoor/outdoor rugs. Layer these rugs for a designer look.
Tip #2. Dipped Photo Frames
Feeling crafty? Dorm room walls can be up-scaled with dipped photo frames. Find old pictures in photo frames at a thrift store, antique shop, or grandma’s house and go to Walmart for blue painter’s tape and craft paint. Wrap a strip of blue painter’s tape around the middle of the frames, with the picture inside. Paint or dip one-half of each frame in the paint. Hang all of them on the same wall together for a vintage-turned-modern appeal.
Tip #3. Indoor Plants
College is no walk in the park, and managing stress is a big part of succeeding in college and beyond in life. A voguish way to help lower stress levels in the dorm is to have one or two indoor plants. Indoor plants look great on a floating shelf that can keep the plant up and out of the way.
Tip #4. Long Curtains
To make a dorm room look bigger, hang long curtains above windows closer to the ceiling. Skip buying curtains- make one for cheap with fabrics from Walmart, Hobby Lobby, or Michaels. For smaller windows, using scarves as curtains is another stylish touch. Simply drawback scarves or thin curtains by tying a loose knot in the middle.
Tip #5. Old Records
Old records can be found very inexpensive in thrift stores or in the dollar bin of a record store that will give your dorm room a mid-century or vintage touch. Records can serve as picture frames on walls, hung in neat rows, or placed in front of colored paper squares for a pop-art type presentation.
Tip #6. Drip Paint Lampshade
Upgrade a lamp bought from a yard sale, retail sale, thrift store, or IKEA with a few drips of heat-safe acrylic paint. Mix the paint with a bit of water to thin it out, then dip a paintbrush in the paint and place it along the top opening of the lampshade. Allow the paint to drip down the outside of the lampshade, and repeat this process around the entire top ring.
Bryn Carden is a Neeley School of Business student at Texas Christian University and an active member of the Delta Gamma sorority – an organization empowering women to stand up to their full potential. Ms. Carden values mentorship and donates her free time to make an impact in other people’s lives as a participant of the Neeley Mentorship Program and Riff Ram Reading Program.