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Designing a Classic Dorm Room: Part II

"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort" 
- Jane Austen 

I know that this post has been a long time coming -- I've shared glimpses of my dorm here and there, but many of you have asked for proper photos of the final product so I've finally gotten a chance to take them! I hope this gives you a sense of how the dorm looks now that it's finally put together. Per your request, I'll also be sharing how I organize my dorm room closet in an upcoming post (which will include a video!). 

If you missed Part I of this series, I went into the details of the design direction and process my roommate and I went through prior to moving in. We're both so, so happy with how everything came out and having lived here for just over two months, I can safely say that our space really feels like a home. That's definitely the goal of any decor project, especially for a room that essentially contains your whole life: you want to create something comfortable, functional, and inspiring!

That being said, we also decorated our room on a budget. We balanced investing in things that we plan to use for years to come (for example, our bedding) and saved on items that might not work outside of this years' dorm. One of the priciest parts of creating a functional dorm room is purchasing enough storage. I, for one, really underestimated just how many storage-related items (i.e., baskets, bins, organizers, etc) are needed just to keep things in order! All of those things can add up quickly, but I would recommend looking to stores like Target for inexpensive options. In particular, I bought a lot of things from Target's kids' line Pillowfort. It's less expensive than the lines aimed at adults, and the items are perfect for a dorm-sized space and they come in lots of different colors to match your design plan.

Specific items:
* = not pictured

Bed // Linens
Vanity // Nightstand
Gallery Wall
Bar Cart
There are a few DIY projects in the room that I wanted to note. My roommate's dad was kind enough to make our gorgeous headboards (and he did an amazing job!), following the instructions on the Prep in Your Step blog. Later, we discovered that for a slightly higher cost you can purchase a pre-stuffed headboard from DormCo that you can cover with the fabric of your choice. My roommate's dad also had the genius idea of creating little gold finials. Our bedposts came with little holes screwed into them; it's unclear what they're intended for but they worked perfectly to hold DIY finials. He bought two sets of curtain rods, spray painted them gold to match the room, and trimmed the rod down to the perfect size to sit in the bedpost. The end result looks gorgeous and really adds to the overall look of the room! We also switched out the pulls on our nightstands with these gold pulls from Ikea. This is a super easy and budget-friendly way to add character to a piece of furniture and we love how it ties the room together! Finally, my friend painted me the "E" that's on my gallery wall in Penn colors. This is a simple project; just buy a wooden letter and some acrylic paint from a craft store and you're good to go. It also makes a great grad gift for friends.

A Note on Coordinating with Your Roommate

My roommate and I utilized a Pinterest board divided into sections to help us plan the design of the room. In many ways, this was the simple part -- things get trickier when you have to decide who buys and brings what, and what items you'll split the cost of vs. covering the cost individually. For that, we made a shared spreadsheet on Google Drive with hyperlinks to all the items we'd be buying and notes on who would purchase it, the price, and whether the price would be split. This was super helpful, and it also allowed us to gauge how close we were to getting everything we needed for the room (we would highlight each item when we purchased it). Overall, I'd say just be open with your roommate and don't be afraid to call and text them to alleviate any potential confusion about dorm planning. Communication is key here!
I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of my freshman dorm room at Penn. Let me know if you have any questions or if I missed anything!



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