Three Brilliant Dorm Rooms

Three Brilliant Dorm Rooms

Anna Hoffman
Nov 23, 2011

I believe the children are our future as much as the next person, but I was still floored to see the innovative, effective and fun small-space solutions a few college kids dreamed up. Refinery 29 found 3 Columbia dorm rooms that far transcended their college-issue decor, and I think there are some lessons here for all of us. Let's take a look.

The three rooms featured on Refinery 29 are Samara Bliss' "Collegiate Prep," Jenny Shen's "Artful DIY," and Jordan Sholem's "New York Classic." Here are some key lessons about decorating that we can all study:

  • Take risks (inexpensive ones)! Dorm rooms are temporary, so these young women took big chances with easily removable materials, like painter's tape, wall decals and colorful mats for photos.

  • Maximize floor space! In small rooms, even when a sense of cozy clutter is desired, it's important to have lots of negative space. Whether it's stacking dressers (in Sholem's case) or replacing actual furniture with two-dimensional representations (in Shen's case), these girls did what they could to keep the floor free.

  • Let accessories do the talking! A few artful details — a set of croquet mallets here, a monogrammed pillow there, a 2D representation in tape of an oversized Ming vase on that wall — elevate the standard-issue dorm furniture and help give each room a totally distinct character.

  • Have fun with it! I mean it's ok to take decorating seriously — this is Apartment Therapy, and we believe creating a home is one of the most important things you can do! But you can take it seriously and still maintain a sense of whimsy and fun. Why not trompe-l'oeil a fireplace with tape, or pursue a "preppy" theme as a spoof, or make a project of collecting accessories that match?

What lessons would you take away from these creative dorm rooms?

Be sure to check out the full slideshow, with interviews with all three students, at Refinery 29.

Images: Photos by Christy Kurtz for Refinery 29.

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