Asked on Jul 14, 2013

Dorm decorating

PAULA LOVELLLaura S.Polly Zieper


Friends-I am about to move my oldest child to college. The Freshman dorm room comes with a bed, desk, and open closet with a very high , long shelf( no closet door,( thinking of hanging a curtain or shower curtain, to make it look neater.) We're getting him the typical: mini fridge and microwave, and we have a white, wire-type of drawer unit -free-standing- from Home Depot, that he'll put in the closet, to use as a bureau I've already gone to the dollar store and bought him bins/ baskets/ separators for the desk, because the drawers are just very large, undefined drawers, not good for a somewhat disorganized teen, and I bought bins and organizers for the top of the desk, also at the dollar Tree( which is the best dollar store we have in s FL)and some boxes/bins for the closet shelf. His favorite color is red. I saw a red/tan reversible comforter at've looked online together and he likes the red, brown, tan or beige combo.Does anyone who has been through the dorm thing have any tips?
11 answers
  • Debbie Polson
    on Jul 14, 2013

    Maybe just a front end loader, so when you move him out it will be easier for you? I have had two go through dorm life now, and my less than neat kids didn't get any neater once they left home. But I do REALLY like the big flat under bed plastic storage boxes. They can stash the stuff they want to have there but don't need daily.

  • Lorah Marquardt
    on Jul 14, 2013

    If it's allowed, a loft for the bed frees up a lot of space.

  • Kimberly Barney
    on Jul 14, 2013

    I'm thinking with a boy that a curtain over the closet may easily become feminine. If allowed to put something more permanent, I think I would make pallet door (it would not have to be a solid door to keep weight down) and have it hung on plumbing pipe allowing it to slide or swing out. If not allowed to put something permanent, I like the idea of an outdoor rattan type window covering which could roll up as a closet cover. I think a command center would be a nice addition (calendar, bulletin board or clip board for notes, and a box for pens above the desk).

  • Anne
    on Jul 14, 2013

    As the mom of 2 college sons (0ne graduated in May !!!), no amount of organization on your part will make them organized or neat (unless they are that type of kid. Mine are not). Lofting bed as Lorah said will give valuable floor space. Inexpensive rolling plastic drawers are great for snacks and plates,etc. Once you get in that room and start putting everything in place (not that it will stay there once you leave) you will know what you need. Quick trip to store can easily complete room. In a college town all the stores are well prepared and stocked for all the necessities. Good luck

  • Polly Zieper
    on Jul 15, 2013

    Thanks, everyone! forget the red/brown beige idea. Went to 3 stores looking for a solid red comforter beforeJake said that gray/navy looked good to him.( IWasn't willing to buy the gorgeous red/ brownNautica comforter( the price is bad enough, then bed, bath & beyond won't let you use aoupon for that brand., We did a day-long shopping day yesterday. We got an under-bed storage box, trash can, laundry basket, shower caddy, whiteboard/memo board to hang outside his room, bulletin board for over his desk, desk lamp comforter set, 2 prs sheets, a fleece throw blanket,, a backrest to lean against if reading on the bed, and a shower curtain and tension rod to make the closet more private. everything gray, except the backrest, trash can and throw navy blue and all the top of deskand closet shelf organizers/bins are navy. Now looking for inexpensive wall hanging or tapestry that will bringmore navy into the color scheme. Off to Homegoods, etc today, to look for an in expensive poster, piece of fabric or cheap wall art that has gray and/or navy( masculine, of course!)And if worst comes to worst, there is a Walmart and a Bed, bath, beyond in the town.

  • Polly Zieper
    on Jul 15, 2013

    Oh, and he has one single bed and a twin bunkbed in the room already. so no lofting.

  • Sheila Spaulding
    on Jul 17, 2013

    Keep it simple. The less he takes the cleaner the room will stay. The under the bed storage is great for extra clothing. My daughter has two.

  • TheOldPostRoad T
    on Aug 11, 2013

    I have several tips on two blog posts here: One thing that I never thought about = DampRid. You cannot imagine how musty and damp a small room can get when wet towels and an a/c combine. We actually had to buy a dehumidifier for my daughter due to her asthma in the moist room.

  • Polly Zieper
    on Aug 11, 2013

    Oldpost-thank you so much for mentioning this!I hadn't thought of it, either, but in s FL, humidity is always an issue!I'm putting Damp Rid on my shopping list right now2 questions:1., How often do you have to replace it with a new one, and 2,do you buy it in a supermarket, or a Home Depot-like store?

  • Laura S.
    on Aug 11, 2013

    One thing I bought my daughter that seemed to help organize the desk a bit was a lamp that had small holders for pens clips etc. and a charger for phone cuts out a cord. The curtain is a good idea it a dark solid or bold stripe but it has to be labeled flame retardant at some schools

    on Aug 19, 2014

    The best tip I can think of is to try a let him work out the decor with his roommate. Having 2 people sharing a room is bad enough, but when your son likes red and blue and his roomie likes camo, it's always going to look bad, even if it's tidy. They're going to have to get along. They might as well decide on room decor together.

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