By Eva Wilton
Shannon Wilson,‘18, stood at the door of her new room thrilled at the opportunity to transform the typical dorm room hallmarks such as- white cinder block walls, basic wood furniture, and overpowering fluorescent lighting. She spent $100 on dorm decorations which was a fraction of $1,000 she spent in the previous two years.
According to the National Retail Federation, the average college student spends $900 per year for their dorm room. Students want to make their room appear stunning without breaking the bank.
“I don’t think I spent too much as long as the items are put to use during and after college,” Wilson stated. Her dorm room was converted to feeling like you are stepping into a luxurious hotel room. There is a gray bedding set and plush pillows on her bed. Even with the elegant pieces, her favorite item in her room is the wooden sign that her father made that holds two coffee mugs and two wine glasses.
Last year, Wilson lived in Alumni Hall where she had more square footage, allowing for multiple pieces of furniture and an excessive amount of clothes. This year she was determined to have a minimalist approach to maximize her small dorm room size and ultimately spend less money.
Opting not to bring any furniture this year, Wilson transformed the dorm room by having simplistic decorations such as DIY (do-it-yourself) tassel garlands on the blank white walls. Inspired by a tassel garland at Urban Outfitters for $50, Wilson created her own for $17.
Jake Milton, ’19, who lives in Pontigny Hall, estimates that he spent more money at $600 than an average male student. “I’m grossed out by how much I’ve spent,” Milton confessed, explaining that most of the money went toward a lofted bed and a TV with a gaming system.
Chelsea F.C. posters and banners cover his walls from door to window. “All of the stuff on the walls I have at home too. It is all about making it a place you don’t mind hanging out in.” Milton contributed time, thought, and money to his bedroom decorations.
It takes time and thought to make a room into a home. Maddy Moore, ’19, a resident of Residence Hall 4 dedicated part of her summer to planning her dorm room, without breaking the bank. Her strategy was to find ideas online and tailor them to what she liked in terms of colors and what fit her personality. She gained inspiration from research on Pinterest, the Urban Outfitters blog, and other websites.
The bohemian inspired room has a subdued neutral color scheme with a few pieces that add vibrancy including a multi-colored woven rug lying in the center of her room. The room is a carefully placed combination of second hand goods which all complement each other. The hand-knotted hanging wall planters, scratchable world map, and wooden crates make it feel straight out of the Urban Outfitters website.
Moore, who estimated that she spent around $200 this year, incorporated plants and cacti to her room as an affordable way to make it cozy. “I’m not a very good plant mom because I have killed about six of them over the course of the past two years at St. Mike’s,” she said.
Isabelle Risse, ’20, was living in Ryan Hall last year and was looking forward to the upgrade this year. She wanted to create the illusion of more space in her Alumni Hall room. Risse and her roommate decided to half-loft their beds to create more space in the middle of the room. The two roommates also coordinated decorations such as a monogrammed letters above their beds. She estimated that she spent $200.
“My tip for people trying to decorate their dorm room is to have things that remind you of who you are.” Risse said. “When you get up in the morning it will put a smile on your face.”