This is a guest post by Peter Jenkins.
Institutional furniture, office carpet and hotel curtains – sound familiar? Soulless dorm room fittings make it hard to feel at home regardless of how many posters and pillows you have, especially if you to share your room.
However, a few cheap and clever hacks can turn your boring dorm room into an awesome space you’ll love to hang out in and show off to your friends.
Lofting your bed is one of the best things you can do to improve your room. You may be able to ask your RA for a lofted bed, and if not, cinderblocks or crates should do the trick (just make sure that it’s stable and safe).
Under a lofted bed, the world is your oyster. Don’t waste this magical space on a desk – create a private den with fabric or curtains for privacy. Add a bean bag chair, twinkly lights and a side table (a wooden crate will do) underneath to create a fantastic space to study, relax or play.
Alternatively, use this under-bed space for storage to free up space elsewhere in the room. Creating a palette of wooden crates under the bed looks cool, and you can line the walls with crates as well to create storage space with personality and flexibility. You can sometimes find them for free from wine and beverage warehouse stores.
Two words: fairy lights. Turning your bed into a “nook” makes it feel more private and special, regardless of whether someone is snoring four feet away. Create a canopy with a cheap sheer curtain, hang white strings of lights, and you’re in your own world.
Don’t forget to decorate outside your nook, however. White walls are ideal for some styles of design, but they don’t suit everybody. While you can’t paint or hang wallpaper, tack fabric to the wall to create a wallpaper effect – this is an easy way to add personality and character to a drab and institutional room.
Finally, don’t underestimate the power of houseplants to add character to a space.
Derek Low, an enterprising freshman at UC Berkeley, created a fully-automated smart room of the future with a couple hundred dollars and some helpful roommates. While you might not have the tech know-how to create an “emergency party button”, there’s nothing stopping you from using apps or smartphone remote controls to set up your own personalised dorm room gadgets.
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