Dorm Decor

In this Oct. 6 1950 photo, 10-year-old twins Brian Thomas Sullivan (left) and Kevin James Sullivan from Islington carry their luggage to the boat train "Rangitoto" as they leave Liverpool Street station in London bound for Auckland, New Zealand. Britain and Australia are saying sorry to thousands of British children who were promised a better life overseas, only to suffer abuse and neglect thousands of miles from home.
AP Photo/PA, file
It's back to school, and if you're a college freshman embarking on your first year away from home, it can be overwhelming. Preparing for dorm room living means loading up on the practical, as well as finding a way to give your home away from home a little personality.

It used to be that college students had little more to decorate their dorms with than some bedding and posters, but with the explosion of the home goods market and a new niche geared toward teens and young adults, it's easier than ever to find hip, affordable supplies.

Most colleges and universities provide incoming students with lists of what to bring to a dorm room (i.e. extra-long twin sheets, shower caddie, etc.). That's where students should start. But just because it's "required" doesn't mean it has to be dull.

Christy Ferer offered a crash course for freshman, and their parents, in organizing and styling a dorm room.

Here are a few decorating and space-saving tips.

  • Bring extra-long twin sheets
  • Multi-purpose pieces save space
  • Elevate bed for extra storage
  • Make simple things stylish

Bright City Striped Jersey Knit Bedding
Garnet Hill / $40-$78
Made of pure cotton, this T-shirt bedding with sporty yarn-dyed stripes is a wonderful all-season alternative to percale or flannel. They pack and stack well, too, and come in extra long twin size especially made for dorm room beds.
Where to Buy:

Bed Lifts
Bed, Bath and Beyond / $14.99
Notes: Place this set of four white plastic cones underneath each bed leg and make room for extra storage. The lifts are each 6 inches high and can handle up to 300 lbs.
Where to Buy:

Textured Steel Trunk
The Container Store / $99)
Notes: These textured steel trunks can be used for traveling, or as tables, benches and nightstands. The interior is fully lined for storing clothes or extra linens. Textured steel veneer resists dings and looks cool.
Where to Buy:;
1-888-CONTAIN (266-8246) or 214-654-2000

String Lights
CB2 / $20
Cylinder shaped rice paper string lights, great for stringing along the cinder block walls of a dreary dorm room.
Where to Buy: 3757 North Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL 773-755-3900;


Paper Lanterns
PB Teen / $19
Asian-inspired paper lanterns in bright colors shed a mood-enhancing glow for late-night study sessions. Each includes a white 25-foot cord with roller switch. Attaches to ceiling hook (included).
Where to Buy: Pottery Barn Teen catalogue or


Cork Table Lamp
PB Teen / $19
This natural cork lamp shade allows you to get light and pin notes to it like a bulletin board. Adds personality to a dorm room desk or nightstand.
Where to Buy: Pottery Barn Teen catalogue or

Uncommon Goods / $60
This cube-shaped alarm clock allows you to record your own greeting! It has a silver ring handle for portability and comes in funky colors including orange.
Where to Buy:

Oh Chair
PB Teen / $40
Lightweight stackable chairs are ready for group projects at your place. Keep some handy for friends. Pull one up to your desk, window or craft table and settle in. Metal frame and legs.
Where to Buy: Pottery Barn Teen catalogue or

Locker Magazine Rack
PB Teen / $79
Mount it or lean it up against your wall to hold all your monthlies, notebooks and papers. Brushed iron frame holds four locker pockets.
Where to Buy: Pottery Barn Teen catalogue or

Translucent Paper Bins
Container Store / $10
Made from translucent polypropylene, each bin features a silk-screened image of a popular paper. Choose from graph paper, ruled paper, or green bar paper
Where to Buy:; 1-888-CONTAIN (266-8246).


Lounge Chair
Lounge Vision / $109
Stylish, modern design is a nice break from the typical beanbag chair or futon. It comes with a drawstring slipcover that you can take on and off to clean or switch the color. Comes in navy blue; black; burgundy; and hunter green.
Where to Buy:; (800) 809-8367.


Inflatable Couch
Alldorm / $39.99
You'll have plenty of room for lounging around on this sofa. The Original Bubble Sofa™ is the inflatable couch that lets you snuggle up with your books!
Where to Buy:

Floor Lamp
Target / $29
Features five metal shades in plum, midnight blue, red and celery. Each shade has a colored bar with punched out metal detail, four way switch and bendable metal hose arm to control lighting intensity and focus. Brushed nickel finish.
Where to Buy: or Target stores

Corduroy Bench
Target / $19.99
Inky shades of mixed wale corduroy wrap this compact bench with color. Brushed metal hairpin legs add clean lines and great support.
Where to Buy: or Target stores

Solo CD Stereo
Sharper Image / $120
Full function one-CD stereo is perfect for small spaces. Digital tuner stores 20 FM and 12 AM station presets. Control all functions with wireless remote.
Where to Buy:

Pura Vida Floor Pillows
PB Teen / $59
Toss a few of these on the floor to add extra seating for group study sessions or pair it with desk tray to create a portable work area or just lounge.
Where to Buy: Pottery Barn Teen catalogue or


Corduroy Floor Pillows
Target / 12.99
Drop-ins are a given; cozy pillows instantly make space for more on the floor.
Where to Buy: or Target stores

Desk Tray
PB Teen / $39
Homework is easy when you can do it lounge-style. Not to mention Sunday morning breakfast in front of the TV. Claim your favorite patch of floor and set up shop. Cut out handle, sturdy legs, fold up for easy storage.
Where to Buy: Pottery Barn Teen catalogue or

Ornamental Rug
Target / $19.99
Meant to create the look of a tiled floor. 4 by 6.
Where to Buy: or Target stores