dorm design — a bold, fresh start

It's been quite a few years since I was a college student, but I still remember those early days of living in a dorm—discovering new friends, eating too much, laughing too much, and talking into the wee hours. Oh, and there must have been some studying in there too. That first year was everything; it encompassed every emotion on the spectrum. I felt exhilarated, overwhelmed, and lonely at times. In a new environment, the little things that are familiar and that remind you of home are so important. And that importance was what a reader described when she wrote to me and a bunch of other bloggers a while back about her daughter's first year in college. This design-loving mom wants for her daughter a room that's cool and stylish but that totally brings her the comforts of home. So here's my stab at recollecting those early freshman days for this first year student, and my wish for what my freshman dorm room had looked like (it contained nothing as pretty as this)!

Hmm, after spending hours on this concept board, only now have I realized that in searching for a color scheme that to me feels fresh, bold, and happy, I have pretty much replicated my loft & cottage header. I'm sure there's some deep meaning there if I wanted to explore that!

And I do recognize the seeming contradictions in the two ideas that I'm after in this room—"comforts of home" and "bold, fresh start." But why can't we have it all? I think we can. Here's how I did it, clockwise from top left:

1. Good lighting is essential. These wall lamps from PB Teen can mount on the wall over the bed and over the desk.
2. Loved these clothespins found at Etsy that are handstamped with inspirational words. I'd use them just like this in the room, strung on a cord and used to display favorite photos, postcards, invites, mementos.
3. A message board is a must for reminders for yourself, notes from your roommate, messages from friends on your floor. This one's from Ballard.
4. A great set of sheets is a splurge but a critical part of making a new space feel like home. I love the yummy color and cool print on these Grass Trellis sheets from Serena & Lily.
5. When life gets to be too much, you'll want to wind down and get cozy in your soft sheets for a good night's sleep. For this, I love a little aromatherapy. Bath & Body Works' pillow mist in eucalyptus spearmint is instantly relaxing.
6. A chunky braided basket from West Elm is shaped long and low and is perfect for underbed storage.
7. Dorm rooms are notorious for tight space and lack of storage. PB Teen's canvas bins keep messes organized and out of sight.
8. The cheery, large-scale dots and bold navy color drew me to the Cirkel duvet set from Ikea. The price is of course irresistible too. But the benefit of the duvet cover is the lush, plush coziness of the down comforter inside it—a must-have.
9. This jute cube from West Elm is perfect as a footrest, as extra seating for all those friends hanging out, and as much-needed texture. 
10. Forget plastic cups. You're a college student, not a child! This set of pretty patterned porcelain from Anthropologie feel substantial in your hand for morning coffee, afternoon cocoa, and late-night tea.
11. Koko Company's indoor/outdoor rug livens up the room, warms up the space, and cleans up like a breeze.
12. Finally, here's the fabulous fabric with colors and a pattern to pull it all together. I love this colorful toile from Staceage to diy into an oversized box pillow on the bed, a fabric-covered message board, or curtains.

Want more inspiration? Check out the dorm room designs these great bloggers came up with today:

6th Street Design School
Aesthetic Oiseau
Caitlin Creer Interiors
Design Darling
Emily A Clark
Haven and Home
High Heeled Foot in the Door
I Suwanee
Kelly Green
Matters of Style
Perfectly Taylor'd
Visual Vamp


René said...

You make me want a dorm room again...or better yet, all of the above in my current home. Love the blues and greens and your header is pretty fabulous BTW :)


Fran said...

Casey, looks great! What does it say that I want to incorporate some of these elements in my current home??? Bold, fresh and timeless!! If only I had these resources back then (and blogs, for that matter), my dorm room would've been stylin'!

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

I love those lamps. I have boys and you just don't want to see what their dorms are looking like! Ack!

Gretchen said...

This is great Casey! Wouldn't it have been awesome to have this when we were at school- no more milk crates!

Odessa said...

Perfect dorm ideas, Casey! I might tell my Clara about these designs. She's going to love 'em too! She's moving in her new dorm on Saturday, and I'll help her in decorating her room. I'm super excited!