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Topic: The Dorm Dilemma - all rules that could possibly apply, do. :(  (Read 6607 times)
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« on: November 23, 2004 08:18:22 PM »

hey all

Well next year I will be off at college and I know the rooms are not very fun/cozy Undecided... so I was wondering if anyone could give me fun/cute ideas to do for a dorm room.  Stuff to put on the walls or cun things to make that we could use but also not take up to much space.... well if anyone could help me out on this I would love it! thanks a lot

Browneyes

(if you have any pictures of your old dorm rooms could you post them! that would also help alot) Thanks! Grin
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gladgirl
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2004 06:05:51 PM »

it feels like forever since i havebeen in college... in a dorm room... however, myself and my roomate... we had the greatest room... they would make up keep it open on saturday morning for tours.... unfortunatley, i cant remember aanything we did... white christmas lights are a must because the lighting is so bad... but we also hung a tapestry and fabric  over the ugly flourescent light on the ceiling.... we had a lot of milk crates hung up all over the room.... those made nice shelves....ultimately, our walls were covered.... we NEEDED to cover those walls...
the best thing though, we had tiled floors, which were so uncomfortable... and too cheap to get a real rug, so i went to a carpet store and asked for those little carpet squares they use for display ( you  probably sat on them in elementary school when you had story time) and we got a whole bunch of thes ( for free!) and just put duct tape on the bottom... thn stuck on the floor wherever we wanted a carpet... it worked out so well, and made the room really really colorful!

if i were to do it all over again though, i would pick a theme....and go with that... of course, you have to have a cool roomie that i swilling to do all this and live in the room with you!

good luck!
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nikkee_b
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2005 05:05:45 PM »

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

Two college freshmen occupy a 15'x10' room that includes 2 open recesses with a rod that serve as closets, 2 desks, 2 windows, 2 beds (bunked atm, or we'd have NO room), and a little entertainment center (our shelving unit).

We can't use adhesive other than the mounting putty on the walls. No screws, nails, paint, etc.

1. My roommate and I are dying. We NEED decor ideas.
2. Also, we're trying to figure a way to get some additional seating that won't get in the way when we're walking through the room. For right now, we let people sit on my bed, but that's not helpful when I'm napping or they need to be sitting at another spot in the room.

Thanks!!
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carolinelb
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2005 05:49:25 PM »

hi, i just registered so i could write to you! 
first, possibly the closet recesses could be an opportunity for decoration if you can use springloaded curtain rod(s) hung with beautiful fabric curtain or painted canvas or another crafty covering.
second, you could make/buy a couple of storage cubes (think Target, Ikea) which you could stack, and unstack when company comes,throwing cushions on top.  or folding chairs (again maybe Ikea) which could hide in closets or under beds.
sometimes the beds can both be high, and then desks can stash beneath, or rather low, comfortable chairs.
large rigid artwork can be leaned against walls, or you could make a frame of pvc pipe (really cheap) or wood (not so cheap) whch fits tightly on an entire wall, and from which various decorations could be suspended.
in a small space, i think you need a really cohesive look, so i'd choose a bright, cheery color scheme - 2 or 3 colors, and do just a few things - like bedspreads, a rug, closet curtains, a couple of needed things like lamps, pillows and mugs and then a little artwork for walls to create strong visual impact.
if you're thinking more crafster, less Ikea, the colors of your crafted solutions still need to be strong and cohesive.
i hope you have fun fun fun!
   
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princessandthebead
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2005 06:01:49 PM »

Hi everyone!!  This is my first post but I read your dilemma and thought I might be of a little help since my daughter just graduated from college. 

One thing that we did was get concrete/cinder blocks.  You can get them for about $1.00 a piece and we put them under the bed legs.  The girls used 3 under each leg and it really raised the beds off of the ground.  By doing this, they were able to use the space underneath for storage and that made more room for sitting.  The each made big pillows that we stuffed.  They fit well under the beds and could be pulled out and sat on when needed.

You can also by those plastic hooks that apply with a white tape that, when stretched, comes totally off of the wall.  I sure wish I could remember the name of the product!!  Anyway, they hold things up really well but come cleanly off the wall when needed.  The girls used those to hang strings of lights around their room. 

Hope that helps!  Let us know what you end up doing.
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volvogirl
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2005 01:14:33 PM »

Oops, I screwed something up. Anyway! 3M mounting strips. You need to become closely and intimately acquainted. They saved my dorm room multiple times. They have mounting tape that removes with no residue and won't rip off paint. They also have clips for holding electrical wire (Great for putting up X-mas lights!) and hooks that hold up to 10 lbs.

Other than space the biggest problems with a dorm room are lighting and the fact that you feel locked in a cave. I suggest creative lighting (Xmas lights, lava lamps, thrift store finds, etc). To make more room for decore stuff all the crap you don't need every day in underbed storage boxes. Huge floor cushions are really all you need for extra company. Why bother with seating? Everyone will be on the floor eventually. It's the only place with room! Get funky fabric from Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Hang fabric from your closets, over the windows, above your beds as a canopy. Get some color into your room and it will instantly feel more homey.

I also suggest a couple of plants, or a fish tank. Bring some nature into your room! Look in other forums for ideas on how to make a cool mobile and other window decorations. I also used to buy old 45's (small records) at the thrift store and stuck them all along the upper edge of the wall as a border.

Good luck!
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gwensmom
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2005 01:47:48 PM »

Make some origami paper cranes in pretty colors and string them and hang them from the ceiling or in front of the window like a curtain.  These are lightweight so 3M mounting stuff should hold them.

when I had a tiny dorm room my mom bought some sheets to match my comforter and we used them to make curtains for the window and a curtain to cover the closet.  We also found a bathroom rug to cover up most of the meager floor space.  I got lots of compliments on that room.

If you have a digicam, post some pics of what you do to your room!
« Last Edit: January 25, 2005 01:51:08 PM by gwensmom » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2005 09:45:31 PM »

I second what Volvogirl said, 3M mounting tape is awesome. I HIGHLY reccommend Command tape. I'm using it currently for a corkboard in my room, and my friend swears by the stuff for use in dorms for anything.

If you can't paint, use fabric for decoration! Do this on two walls and you've got an interesting look. Another plus to this is that you can pin things up on it if you really like.
Curtaining off/draping fabric around your seperate beds would give each of you privacy in case of one roommate's friends coming over while you're studying or sleeping or whatever.
Storage under beds is awesome. Wall of shelving is also very awesome.
Paint your own furniture in interesting colors. While you may have to do this elsewhere, you could just cover it in fabric/wallpaper/whatever.
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danitza
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2005 10:24:45 PM »

I have a very similar problem with my dorm. We are only allowed to use blue painters tape to put things on the walls. And I have a bulleting board on two walls and a window in the third. The fourth consists of a closet and a door.

I've ordered purple Christmas lights to hang and I'm looking for more things. I still have a problem with seating, but I'm not allowed to bring chairs. I was thinking a beanbag. And I want to find a way to store my craft supplies so that I can actually do crafts while here. Any ideas?
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2005 10:35:32 PM »

Here's a photo & tute on those star lamps...they are pretty expensive retail, but now ya can make your own!  They are killer funky... and whatever colors & designs you want... in addition, to the obvious; additional lighting Wink
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=5689.0

SHE did an AWESOME...and I mean that in a total understatemental sort of way... room decorating her dorm room... and she used the infamous 3M as well!
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=19870.0

Very colorful window treatment...
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=22197.0

Actually...before I just go on & on... this is a great topic to use the Search function.  (that's what I was doing)  try a search for "dorm" LOTS of posts!
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2005 12:09:59 AM »

I have a very similar problem with my dorm. We are only allowed to use blue painters tape to put things on the walls. And I have a bulleting board on two walls and a window in the third. The fourth consists of a closet and a door.

I've ordered purple Christmas lights to hang and I'm looking for more things. I still have a problem with seating, but I'm not allowed to bring chairs. I was thinking a beanbag. And I want to find a way to store my craft supplies so that I can actually do crafts while here. Any ideas?

Fabric covers bulletin boards well - hit the thrift stores to find some really funky stuff!  I had a beanbag when I was in the dorms, but another really good idea is to make those foam cubes (get some foam from a rubber shop, and cover it with fabric).  You can make as many as you think you'll need and stack them when not in use.  My dorm had a sewing machine available for borrowing, and it spent a lot of time in my room!  Ah, the nostalgia...
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rissaroo
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2005 08:10:25 PM »

in college we had closets with no doors. i used tab curtains from tarjay to cover the closet, and overall make things look neater. also, use a shower curtain rod, which will be sturdier than the flimsy spring rods in the curtain aisle.

the 3m command stuff is awesome, i have it all over my house. unfortunately i was in college back in the days of that blue putty which leaves marks, despite its claim not to. also they now make hooks with the command stuff, and those can help create storage space for things.

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notreallyaredhead
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2005 04:31:09 PM »

Use double-duty stuff whenever possible.  Upholstered storage cubes or a trunk with some cool beaded cushions on it work well for seating and hold a lot of stuff too (this tip comes in handy later when you get your own apt. later).  Also, try putting any furniture the school provides inside stuff i.e., my friend put a 3 drawer chest of drawers inside a wardrobe, then put the tv on top of the drawers and made a cool media cabinet.  Or maybe you could try putting the drawers in the closet area to free up more living space.  ~j
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corbeau64
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2005 10:25:16 AM »

I sympathize w/you, as I live in the same dilemma! A cramped 12X 15 foot dorm, oh joy! Anway, one thing I've done that really helps is arrange the furniture in a slightly unusual way- the bunk beds stretch across the front of our room right at the end of one of our closets- it creates a vestibule like space, separating entrance from living space. Also, there's a curtain that's pinned to the ceiling right there (we have applied acoustical tile ceilings, so pinning stuff in is easy, just make sure the fabric is light and the pins are strong or it won't hold.)

another idea is to get light, stretchy fabric and stretch it across the ceiling, in one panel or several. And if you stretch it over a ceiling mounted light fixture, it diffuses the light so you don't get any glare, and looks really damn cool.

I'd post picture of my room for you, but alas, I have no digital camera!

The only reason I knew to do this stuff is b/c I'm an Interior Architecture major, and I'm really glad to actually be using it to potentially help! Oh, and if your school has an interior architecture/design major, you might want to make friends w/ some of them, we're usually full of really crazy ideas.

~Julia
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nightsongfire
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2005 08:20:14 PM »

Having bunk beds or lofts saves a LOT of space. If possible have a loft with a seating area under one and under the other one put the tv and shelving and desks. It's possible to get them built out of wood, but I've also seen them advertised at Walmart or K's merchandise for about $100-150, which is about what wood and someone to do it for you will cost. Get creative with rearranging the furniture, if you're not going to use your desk, there is no reason why you can't put your bed in front of it, or put the 2 beds together in a L shape. As long as the room looks like you did when you moved in anything goes (just don't let the RA or counselor in after you do this) so you can screw items to the walls or unscrew item (the desks and corkboards/wipeboards) and move them around. Just fill in holes or return the items to the orignal position before you move out otherwise you're going to have to pay. I've not done it, but I think you can attach fabric to the walls with just starch. You wet the fabric with liquid starch and apply like wallpaper when the starch dries the fabric is attached to the walls, to remove just wet the fabric down and pull, helps if you wash the walls down after this. Yaffa blocks or wire shelving works great too. The more you can get stuff OFF the floor or desk will help to make the room look bigger. Corkboard is very useful, so if they don't provide you with a bulletin board, take one. In addition, dorm food is NOT what your mother makes or whoever does the cooking, so it tastes nasty. Snacks, pop, and somewhere to put them is a must too. One more thing - pets are banned in most places, but most places let you have fish. So if for some reason you have a no-no call it "fish" and don't let the RA in (hopefully your roomie will go along with this).
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Lindsayanne
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2005 08:38:32 PM »



FYI, the type of paint they use in many dorms to paint over cinderblock walls is really durable. We weren't allowed to make holes in the wall, but instead used hot glue. It would hold almost anything- fabric, framed photos, etc, but once cooled would peel right off without leaving a trace. You'd need to test the pain in an inconspicuous place first.
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apandalee
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2005 08:40:44 PM »

The coolest thing in my dorm room right now is the curtain that I have in front of my bed. It is perfectly legal too, because it is strung from picture hooks on the molding.
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caffeinatedkk
« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2005 06:54:43 PM »

dorm chick -
I've been in dorms for three years and currently have a 12x10 cinderblock dorm room to myself, so I hear ya.  Biggest tip - before you go, stock a basic tool kit.  If you're already on this site and you don't think we're all 100% insane packrats for refinishing cast off furniture, or seeing something in a magazine and thinking, I can make that! -- you'll get good use out of it.  I love mine.  Def. get:
       staple gun
       duct tape (in colors, if you want.  They make purple, my school color. Grin)
       I suggest buying the barbara K tool set @ home depot or container store - it's a great combo, and costs less than all pieces ala carte.  Then, go to walmart and buy a tool chest of your choice, b/c that little thing it comes with is crap.  and has no other space
      packing tape - it's clear, waterproof, and if done carefully, works in place of laminating in a pinch, and is easier to work with than a big piece of contact paper.
      glue gun
     22 gauge wire
     Tape measure

You may have to get illegal on the hanging space - just make sure you test the adhesive for 24 hours and see if it pulls off paint.  I've got semi-glossed ivory paint on the cinderblocks in my room, since my hall was built in the 1950's.  Thus, duct tape is great, so's glue gun (if you're fast enough), but packing tape takes off paint.  Also takes it off the door.  But yes, 3m (aka Command strips) work all over, great for keys, posters framed with v. light, cheap plastic frames. 
Also use these with bulletin boards - if framed kind are too heavy, get the plain old squares of cork board, or even the roll-out kind.  But always buy stuff at Walmart, esp white boards or cork boards, not Office Max b/c wally world is 1/2 the price.  Wally world is your friend in college.

What else.... curtains on your closet space can come from sheets, can get twin, unfitted sheets, use the folded over part on the top as a sleeve to run the curtain rod thru (just take out the side seams)

picture-hanging wire, stretched across part of the ceiling and secured to 3m hooks, can support very light netting or colored crinoline for some room dividers.  Not great as far as light blockage, but will give you feeling of being in your bed alone.

Crates are great to stack, get at dollar store or wait for "2 for $5 sale" at walmart, and use cheap bungee cords to secure together. Can tape cheap pillowcases over front to keep everyone who walks in your room from seeing all you own.  Also, watch for yard sales, etc.  measure twice, buy once, some light sandpaper and a can 'o spray paint will get you a lot to work with. 

Enjoy your space, and don't forget - sleep when you're dead!

One happy college student
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caffeinatedkk
« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2005 07:06:09 PM »

Okay, here's the one piece I forgot, and the biggest advice I can offer anyone going to college and living in a dorm:

     BUY A SMALL CLIP-ON FAN.

Put it on your bed, somehow, so it is near your head and can be pointed away from you.  If you loft your bed and go to school south of the mason-dixon line, you'll need to circulate the air; it gets stuffy up there.  But no matter what season, it will always work as a great "sound screen" against the rest of the world. 
You will get very used to the hum if you leave it on for a while, can point it away from yourself if you get cold, can use it even in the winter (and still have lots and lots of covers) but it drowns out the small noises that will get to you late at night - your roommate typing, talking, the people next door, the drunk people in the hall, your roommate puking her guts out....  it will be your friend. 
 
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josita
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2005 09:28:43 AM »

My roomie "wallpapered" just half a wall, below the window, with wrapping paper and the 3M tape. Great accent.

In another small room, I taped up a wide ribbon near the ceiling--like a wallpaper border. Drew the eye up, made the room seem bigger.

Make a pact to make your bed every morning! It makes a big difference in a small room. OK, now I sound liike my mom. Time to stop.
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Pink LuLu
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2005 09:30:21 AM »

You could put multiple mirrors up, I love the look of this.  As mentioned, Christmas lights are always cool, plus, they make so many different colors and designs!  I love sheer fabrics as well.  They are easy to hang, and are temporary, but still super stylish!  Ikea has a lot of cheap shelving (that stands rather than nailed to the wall)  Also, my Mother in law was saying there is some type of hanger, I think they hold 50 lbs, but the somehow make a hole the size of a pushpin (and you could fill that in with toothpaste)  I'm sure that she way them on QVC or something like it!  That may be something for you to look into.
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t1g3rl1ly
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2005 11:18:54 AM »

In my old dorm we lofted both beds and put a futon under one of them. If you're allowed to have a futon I would definitely recommend it. They're cheap at Walmart or somewhere (black metal ones are like $100-$150) and serve two purposes. One, you have a place to sit (other than on your bed) and two, when out-of-town friends come to see you, they have a place to stay. I had a big cotton tapestry thing that we threw overtop of the futon and made a slipcover type thing out of it. A sheet would also work as a slipcover. They get kind of uncomfortable after a while but if you put an egg crate mattress on top of the futon mattress, then put a sheet/tapestry thing over top it will be pretty comfy.
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heavens_devil
« Reply #22 on: February 26, 2008 01:03:48 PM »

Wheeeeeee I can't wait to move into my dorm in september! I'm already planning on how to decorate it.

What's the best way to stick up canvas paintings without leaving a mark or making holes in the wall?
taking into account this is Britain lol.

I'm going to use the spring pole idea so I can take my curtains with me, they have lions and monkeys on, how could I live without them?!


I know lighting is a problem so you'll probably need a lamp too but see if you can find a funky, big (or decorate a plain white) light shade.
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« Reply #23 on: March 04, 2008 01:11:06 PM »

In my dorm, all the walls are concrete so I can't put anything in them. We can't have those bendy octopus lamps because they have had the shades melt when dumb people put too high wattage. I can't put up new curtains because the curtains have special flame proof backing. The best thing that I have done is rearrange my furniture. It makes it seem more spacious, more homey, and I am about to rearrange the furniture again because my room mate basically moved into her boy's place, but has a scholarship that covers housing. we have little, movable closets with drawers underneath, then a small, but tall chest of drawers. Since she moved out, I'll have a work desk, a sewing desk, a bed, and a bed used as a couch. Pretty awesome.

But I can't do anything with the walls and the lights are like the kind in hospitals, so I can't get any cool shades. We do have  nook where the closets go and my bed fits in there, so I am going to move it in there and hang sheer fabric so that it is cozier. The most problem I had before was were to put all my stuff, so if you can and if they fit, I would suggest getting plastic drawers and doubling them as tables. One bonus is that I live in a suite, so we have a full size fridge that the university provides and a microwave provided by the university. We actually have real food when we get sick of dorm food. Try not to bring too many cute knick nacks with you because they eventually just turn into clutter and get in the way. In such a small space it is nicer to have the room because it makes it feel bigger and it is easier to not have them in the first place than trying to let them go.

Ps I hear those mighty hooks don't work, but I wouldn't know because they only work in drywall, not the concrete I have.
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