“…a small space puts its arms around you and makes you feel at home.”
I’ve paraphrased one of my favorite decorating quotes about small spaces. It’s part of a quote by Gary McBournie, a highly regarded interior designer from Boston, Massachusetts.
There are very few spaces that are smaller than a college dorm room! So when you’re moving in and decorating that dorm room, every square foot needs to be maximized.
At the same time, you want the room to reflect your personality and be your “home away from home”, so to speak. It can be tricky to combine all of these features into a space without sacrificing style.
Tip #1 – Storage Solutions
Try to make the furnishings multifunctional. For example, a bed with storage drawers beneath the bed and shelving over the headboard.
A loft bed with a desk and storage underneath (similar to the picture above) makes perfect sense, don’t you think?
Create a nightstand from a rolling cart with shelves to hold toiletries or books or whatever you need to keep handy yet out of the way. Mobile furniture is “gold” in a small space. Easy to pick up or roll out of the way.
For example, this one comes in several colors – Turquoise, Dark Gray or Dark Beige to blend with any color scheme you’re working with.
A low bookcase also makes a great bedside stand. Low enough for a reading lamp with plenty of storage on the shelves.
You could also place one at the bottom of the bed for additional storage.
Or make a nightstand out of rustic crates.
I found this on Pinterest (can you tell I’m a huge Pinterest junkie?)
There’s a tutorial for creating this nightstand on the Simply Real Style blog. Step by step instructions. Emily used unfinished crates found at JoAnn, used coupons and made this for a mere $15.00!
Emily stained this one but painting a coordinating color to the rest of the room’s decor would be excellent.
If you decide to try this craft, I’d love for you to post a photo!
I, personally, love the idea of placing a small chest of drawers by the bedside. That’s my favorite small space storage solution. I’ve written about this in a post titled Bedroom Storage Solutions
Two or three drawers are perfect for stowing pajamas and lingerie or other personal items that you don’t want out in the open.
Tip #2 – Three Ways to Create the Illusion of Space
(1) An often used decorating trick is to use mirrors to double the light while expanding the look of the room.
A large mirror or several smaller mirrors strategically placed in the room will have a huge impact.
Mirrors like these are inexpensive at stores like Target and WalMart.
Don’t forget to hang a long mirror on the back of a door. Or the front of a closet door for functionality while bouncing light around the room.
As I wrote in Using Mirrors in Small Spaces, mirrors enhance whatever natural light is in the room. Especially important when there is little natural light. There are some guidelines in that post, as well.
(2) Cover a wall with a photo mural.
All Posters is one source*. Choose a nature theme to expand the space. Like this one. Place it behind your bed or on a facing wall. It’ll expand the space significantly.
For more ideas, visit my Pinterest page on Wall Murals and Decals.
For some additional wall decor inspiration, check out this article on 17 Versatile Ways to Style a Space With Maps.
There are some genius suggestions that would be amazing in a dorm room. Like this one below left:
(3) Lighting is an important element.
Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy says “lamps help expand a room visually, creating the illusion of more depth and space.” He’s right!
Have two or three lamps at eye level around the room. A desk lamp can do double duty as a task light while making a design statement. This Forsa Work Lamp from Ikea is nickel plated but also comes in a chrome finish and black.
Wall lamps are space savers, as well. Consider using a swing arm light on the wall near the bed.
A wall lamp can be adjusted to just the right angle for reading or studying in bed.
Tip #3 – Think-Outside-the-Box Tips
How can you cram a refrigerator, coffee stuff, dishes, etc. in a small space?
Create a coffee station on top of a dresser. Plenty of room for all the supplies plus a cookie jar! This Keurig K10 Mini Plus Brewing System coffee maker is just the right size for a dorm room.
Place a small compact refrigerator on a rolling cart and top it with an over the fridge fabric storage caddy similar to this one.
Use Command hooks for hanging all sorts of supplies like:
- hair dryers
- storage baskets
- back of the door bathrobe hook
You’ll find 22 additional ideas in Domino’s recent article Command Hook Hacks That Make Everything Easy!
This is just a start…
I hope these suggestions will tweak your own imagination…settling into dormitory life is a big step and an exciting one. You’ll discover how easy it is to function without all the paraphernalia that you’re used to and it’ll make college life go smoothly as you focus on your goals.
If you use any of these ideas or have suggestions for me, please post in the comments and I’ll share your thoughts.
Thanks for visiting!