My daughter recently started college at DePaul University in Chicago which meant that we had to come up with a plan for her dorm. I consider myself lucky because she let me help (I know some kids like to do it themselves) but I was given a very specific list of what she liked and what she didn’t like.
Her likes included:
1. Organization that would be easy and simple.
2. Gray, blush and neutral color scheme.
3. Not a lot of stuff (meaning less to clean).
4. A place for her photos of her friends and family.
5. A place where friends from out of town can crash.
Her dislikes included:
1. No matchy matchy.
2. Absolutely no monograms.
3. No bright colors.
4. No tapestry or any other wall hanging that would get dusty.
(I apologize for the iPhone photos but I didn’t want to overstay my welcome and drag out the nice camera!)
Sloan is sitting on an ottoman that also opens up for storage. She keeps her many, many baseball hats in there!
This ottoman was purchased a few years ago and no longer for sale but you can find a similar one here. Which leads me to another tip, shop your house for your kids dorm design, not everything has to be new!
The other restrictions were that the furniture that came with the dorm room had to stay. (Minus the bed frames because both girls ordered lofts to give them some more floor space). Of course you also could not nail anything to the walls.
Here is a floor plan of her dorm. It is a suite where 2 rooms share a bathroom.
My daughter’s dorm room is on the right. Her roommate chose the bed next to the window. I don’t blame her…look at that view!
I think most important when setting up a small space like this is to set up zones. In this dorm we have the following:
4. Bookcase & Electronics
My daughter has the bed next to the closets and we decided to move it onto the wall so that we could put a futon underneath it making it easy for them both to watch tv from the futon. (This is also where their guest will sleep when they visit!)
The loft bed is quite ugly lets be honest, but the futon fit perfectly! I didn’t want to spend a lot on the futon because lets face it she’s not going to use it except in a dorm setting. It was on sale for $79.00 but is currently $99.00 at Walmart. It was the easiest piece of furniture I’ve ever put together in my life. I simply unpacked it, screwed on the legs and unfolded it. Done!
The throw was a birthday gift to her and a little bit of a splurge for the dorm and something that can be used for a long time even after she moves out in my opinion. I think the same rules apply for dorm design as home design. High, low, new and old pieces.
Pillows going left to right (all these pillows were from my house already, some from her old bedroom, some from my stash!)
1. Gold sparkly pillow – At Home
2. Bohemian pillow – Target
3. Chevron pillow – Target
4. Gray furry pillow – West Elm
I think it’s a given it’s not really a dorm if a string of lights aren’t installed right? These are battery operated.
The room already had carpet but it is commercial grade carpet so the carpet from Ikea not only defines the space but it also gives them a place to comfortably lay on, I pay for carpet maintenance to Zerorez Sacramento Carpet Cleaning I recommend their work!
The baskets were 80% off at Michaels. I paid $4.00 a piece for them. You don’t have to use all plastic dorm organization stuff and these bring some warmth and texture to the space. They hold extra blankets, cleaning supplies and seasonal items.
The top of the bed isn’t too fancy, lets get real the top of the bunk is a pain to make and you can’t do too much to it, especially since it’s only a twin. My daughter wasn’t focused on it being perfect it was way more important that it was comfortable. (The girl likes to sleep!)
The duvet is from Ikea. The comforter is a cool temperature, down alternative, because she likes to be cold when she sleeps. The jersey sheets are from Bed Bath & Beyond and the body pillow cover from Target. We also used 2 mattress pads, one was one of those cheap eggshell ones that we bought a few months ago and figured we’d lay upside down on the bottom of the mattress for some extra cushion, we also purchased a contour cloud memory foam mattress topper from Bed Bath and Beyond.
The light above the bed (Ikea) was supposed to be able to be clipped onto the bed but unfortunately there was nowhere to clip it so we used a 3M strip and just stuck it to the wall!
The dorm hall has a kitchen and lounge areas on each floor and they also have a cafeteria in the student center but we still made a small area to hold their water, coffee and snacks.
I could of bought Sloan some super cute paper plates and silverware but I knew my daughter and knew she wouldn’t wash them so we picked up disposable utensils and paper plates. I love these organizational pieces because they are pieces that could be used for many different reasons! The paper plate holder is called the Biggy. The other one is a 3-piece starter kit. The backs are magnetic so I just stuck one of them directly on the metal front above the thermostat. The other one I hung using every college kids best friend!
The kitchen area consists of a place for plates and silverware, a refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, recycle bin and a crate to hold napkins, ziplock containers and other odds and ends. It’s not fancy but it is functional.
The next space is the bookcase and entertaining. There are enough bookcases to hold their books and for mementos from home and storage. The girls also have a television and are able to binge watch Netflix and listen to Pandora due to their Amazon Fire Stick (the girls do not know the struggle of no cellphones, long distance phone calls and no cable from back in my day!)
The big white basket was given to Sloan that held a gift that was given to her at graduation, she’s using it to hold her water bottles and travel coffee cups.
The frames were purchased at Michaels. (Of course on sale!) The monogram was given as a gift for graduation. Sloan hung out with a big group of girls during high school and the mom who gifted this gave one to all the girls so it’s super cute seeing these marquee letters in all the girls dorm rooms! You can also see her water bottles peeking out of her basket!
Sloan does good when her items are out in the open. I corralled her sunglasses in a mug. They are all in one place but in plain sight!
Her step-dad and I bought her a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Instant Film Camera as a going away gift. Her plans are to fill up the front of her closet door with photos from her year. (Another tip, keep some spaces undecorated and blank so they can be filled with things like photos as the year goes on!)
Her 3 year old brother painted her this car! It’s probably the one thing she’d take with if the dorm caught on fire!
The final area is the desk area. There is virtually no storage with the dorm supplied desk. There is a rolling drawer that and a small side drawer. The desk not only serves as a study space but also as a vanity.
The Dollar Spot at Target was our friend for sure and we bought a lot of supplies for the desk from there! I skipped the typical college lighting and bought this pretty brass one that can be used when she gets an apartment next year.
Instead of a large cork board that may have been too heavy to mount on the wall with just a 3M strip we chose light cork board squares. Aren’t these sparkly push pins the cutest! My favorite organization piece for the desk are the acrylic pieces. She used one for jewelry storage and one for her makeup. Not only are they super inexpensive but they look great too! The bird print is from Ikea.
Again acrylic in the drawers! I also bought pretty office supplies because why not? It just looks more cohesive and like I said pretty! I bought them either from the Nate Berkus line at Target or Hobby Lobby. Not super expensive but not disposable either.
Whew!! So there you have it my daughter’s dorm at DePaul! She and I face-timed today and she showed me her room was still clean! (I think a week is a personal record!)
If you have any questions please feel free to comment!!