How To Decorate Your Dorm Room In 5 Easy Steps

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I like to wear many different hats as a writer. Sometimes I pretend I’m a makeup artist. Sometimes I’m a professional stylist. Sometimes I’m a medical professional (#jokes). As a trustworthy medical professional, I may or may not have diagnosed myself with a personality disorder, but whatever. I’m just being me and all that I think I am, and today I’m your interior designer–because, you know, I can do that. And because you’ll have the prettiest room in your house after reading this, so drop what you’re doing and pay attention. You’ll thank me later.

Step 1: Choose a color that creates your desired aura.

Color can make or break your dorm decor and overall atmosphere for the entire school year. Yellows and oranges tend to create a high-strung, intense energy feel. This can be a little much for a bedroom,unless you’re trying to host a bunch of ragers. Green would probably work for an earthy girl who religiously attends music festivals. If you’re on the border of that, I’d suggest a crisp teal color scenario. It mixes feelings of energy with calming. Namaste. Darker blue tones are peaceful colors that help you sleep. So, if you’re trying to do a lot of this in your room, then go for it, but remember to keep some other pops of color in your scheme to made it less drab and snoozy during long nights of studying. Pinks and reds are the colors of love. If you would like to think of your college lair as a smoosh castle or would just like to create a nice mood for the occasional gentleman friend, you could go with these colors. Purple is in the middle between blue and red, so I like to think of it as the perfect combination of sexy and sleepy to accommodate both bedroom and sex room situations. Black, white, gold, and silver should be used as accents when you can work them in, or they could be used all together for a modern look. Unfortunately, glitter is not a color by definition but keep it in mind for accenting, of course.

Step 2: Find your spirit theme and/or pattern.

Now that you’ve cultivated a color scheme based on the previous criteria, it’s time to really express your spirit through a theme or pattern, preferably one that can be conveniently purchased at Target, IKEA, or Pier 1. For preppy girls, the options are endless: polka dots, stripes, gingham, trellis, chevron, etc. Classic girls, the ones who aren’t too loud and have a delicate sweetness about them, should probably go with a floral theme. This also allows for you to open up the color scheme and take advantage of some of the accent colors in the print. If you don’t like that, the nautical theme is another classic look. Plus, beach decorations are literally everywhere. For the bless-your-heart girls, there’s always the ‘Merica theme, thanks to pop culture’s patriotism. Hipster girls (the aforementioned “earthy” girls) might be able to get a cool India-inspired, old-world look going on. Obviously, you can go with your sorority’s symbol as a basis for a theme, but just don’t overdo it–it’s too cliché. Finally, cheetah print just needs to fall off of the face of the earth, sorry I’m not sorry.

Step 3: Decorate until your little manicured hands fall off.

Now that your aura is set and you’ve found the perfect theme to express your inner decorative spirit, it’s time to actually put things together. You’ll obviously need the basics: wall stickers with “meaningful” phrases about friendship and love, a boyfriend-sized body pillow for those long nights when you’re feeling particularly single, no less than four packs of Christmas lights, and, last but not least, your paddle. Optional items include a fuzzy rug that softens the awful dorm room linoleum tile but can never be vacuumed without breaking the sweeper (consider yourselves warned), sheer window coverings for an allowance of natural light and for the boys in the next building to see your silhouette as you undress (pervs), and a decorative cork board, calendar, or whiteboard for your friends to leave you endearing messages and drawings of dicks.

Step 4: Organize the shit out of everything.

In most of your college living situations, you’re going to be restricted on space, but, as with all girls, you also have a ton of shit. Bunking beds and using under-bed storage will help when you need to hide all the random things you thought were soooo important to have at school. Ottomans that double as secret storage compartments also come in handy, especially when you’re trying to hide all your alcohol during parents’ weekend. They also provide extra seating when all your sisters come over for impromptu girl talk sessions. As mentioned before on TSM, Mason jars can be super useful for neatly storing things, and there are a gazillion different ways to craft them if you’re into that sort of thing. Lastly, don’t forget that wall space–a few shelving units can provide a whole new landscape to organize jewelry, books, and other clutter that would otherwise consume your entire desk area.

Step 5: Deal with your roommate.

There is a spectrum for the level of compatibility you have with your roommate. On one side (the side you hope to lean toward) you have the #twinning girls who match all the way down to the color of their lace panties. On the other side, you two are day and night, black and white, water and fire, Ariel and Ursula. If your desired auras totally offset one another, there are a few options: beg campus housing for a new roommate, plot to kill her in her sleep, or deal with it. Sometimes opposites can be like yin and yang, in harmony with one another. Worst case, divide the room into separate designated spaces and hide in the library and friends’ rooms when you can. Just make sure to find a better match for next year. Now, if you are both totally in sync right down to your menstrual cycles, totally make time for an interior decorating shopping trip. That way you can find things you both like, still maintain some intentional individuality, and avoid having a room with completely mismatched everything.

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premed donna

Who said you can't be smart and funny? When I'm not writing for TSM, you can find me studying into oblivion, downing a bottle of chardonnay, and/or sobbing for reasons I have yet to understand. All hate fan mail can be sent to

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