Making a home away from home

Posted May 19, 2006
Kourtney Brumfield
University of La Verne sophomores Erica Williams and Katie Watkins enjoy hanging out in Williams’ comfortable Stu-Han dorm room. “I use my dorm room to study as well as to hang out with friends and watch TV,” Williams said. Williams’ dorm room has a creative, affordable and personal quality thanks to the two twin beds, crafts desk, couch, paintings, sketches and a picture collage of her and friends. The decor helps to create a home like atmosphere that makes guests feel welcome.

Kristen Chocek
Staff Writer

Summer is here and there’s no better time to start planning for next year.

Before you know it, you will be pulling all your stuff out of your parents garage and getting ready to move back into the dorms.

Feel a little cluttered last year? Want a polished and stylish room this time around?

If so, here are some helpful tips for those who want to create a comfortable, cozy room.

First, finding out which dorm room you will be living in will be extremely helpful.

Maybe take a tour of the living space so you can get a feel for the size of the room you have to work with.

Dimensions should also be available from the Office of Housing and Residential Life.

While you’re contacting them, also find out the list of items not allowed in the dorms, such as candles and cooking appliances.

If you already know your future roommate, then you should discuss decorating ideas. Also discuss your budget and be honest about it.

There is nothing worse than spending money that you do not have.

Try to share your ideas with one another and come to a compromising solution.

Just sharing a common theme or color scheme can help your room be on its way to looking stylish.

If you already have artwork picked out for your room, then let that inspire you for the rest of your decor.

Choose colors that mix well with the art and bring out the theme.

Make a list between you and your roommate of what items you need and already have. You will be surprised how much the two of you will have once you put your collections together.

From there, it’s time to get creative and start shopping.

Stores like Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Ikea, T.J. Maxx Homegoods and Linens-N- Things are all great places to start.

Many of these stores already have dorm specific goods. But be sure to not get caught up in buying all the prepackaged goods; you still want to create a look that fits your style.

Bed, Bath & Beyond also offers the “pack and hold” service which allows you to purchase your goods and hold them until the day you move into your dorm.

They will even ship it straight to school.

This can be very helpful for those students who live quite a distance from La Verne.

Shopping online may be your easiest method, since you won’t have to leave your house to do it.

Plus you can browse through tons of retailers at the click of a mouse.

When purchasing, ask yourself if the item you are about to buy will fit in your budget and, most importantly, in your room.

With so little room to work with, you are going to have to get creative.

From the closet to the floor, every inch of your room will have to count.
You’re going to have to work to see what works best for you.

Bed risers are a great deal of help.

Sophomore criminology major Amanda Burchill and roommate sophomore business major Lauren Dillon have raised their beds high on risers, allowing for more storage room underneath.

Bulletin boards can also help you stay organized and they are great decorations for the wall.You can use them for photos, notes, your schedule and assignments.

Shoe racks also alleviate clutter on the floor.

There are hanging shoe racks and even tiered shelves that sit on the floor of your closet. This will help keep your shoes neat and organized.

A filing space is also crucial. This is the time in life where we college students need to get in the habit of saving paperwork, receipts, bank statements and completed schoolwork.

With a filing system set up, this will be easier than ever.

Even the back of your door can be used for memo boards, hanging racks or hooks.

Great lighting is also key.

If your lighting is too dim, you may have a hard time staying awake while you’re studying, especially with those “all nighters” that so many of us regularly pull.

Paper lanterns are an extra form of light, plus they add a lot of spunk to a room.

Consistency with light and color will help provide a more enjoyable atmosphere.

Colors set the mood.

Vibrant colors tend to usually bring more excitement while neutral colors are more relaxing.

It’s up to you to decide which will be more beneficial.

It is important to have a designated spot for you to sit and study.

A comfortable chair always makes studying a little easier.

So be sure to create a special area in your room for you to go to when studying needs to be done.

This area will most likely be the spot you will be spending the most time in.

Kristen Chocek can be reached at

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