Upgrade pad from dormitory to extraordinary

by Beacon Staff • September 13, 2006

If you are completely disorganized after being at Emerson a mere week or if you miss the comforts of home and are sick of your generic dorm room, this article can help.,Leaving home and coming to an unfamiliar place, such as Boston, can be difficult enough, but living in messy chambers can make matters worse.

If you are completely disorganized after being at Emerson a mere week or if you miss the comforts of home and are sick of your generic dorm room, this article can help.

Think of the bare walls of your humble abode as a blank canvas to make your individual mark.

By adding just a few accents, your ordinary and dysfunctional quarters can convert into a functional work of art, and we'll show you how. Below are some cheap and easy ways to organize your room and make it feel like a home.

Add Vertical Structures to Organize

"There's no leaving things around [the floor]," said freshman marketing communication major Elois Barrow. "If you leave three things around, you won't have a floor."

The limited horizontal space in college cubbies can cause your clothes to find the ground quickly. This problem can easily be solved with items that form vertical space, such as shelving units and closet organizers.

The former can also be used for almost anything including desk supplies and snack foods.

Barrow utilizes her windowsill for shelving purposes, storing her alarm clock, jewelry, and books there.

Purchase closet organizers such as shoe and sweater racks, to arrange your tiny wardrobe.

If your budget is tight, you can go to a local grocery store for milk crates, which, when stacked atop one another, can serve the same purpose.

By categorizing your closet you can increase its functionality. Separate dressy threads from casual ones, and always put the items you wear most often in more accessible places.

Also, if you use different colored hangers for each category of clothing, it will be easier to find a particular piece faster.

Gail Friedland, a senior marketing communication major, finds bed risers to be useful when organizing her crib.

"They are really helpful to me because I can put things under the bed that I don't need on a daily basis, like towels and sheets, and get them out of the way so I have more floor space," said Friedland.

Transparent plastic containers are a good idea for the under the bed storage, because you can see what you have while keeping it out of the way.

Since nails are typically not permitted, invest in hooks for doors, which can hold robes and towels and can be used to dry delicate laundry that cannot go in the drier.

Comfort is Key

Organization is not the only important aspect in a functional dorm den. Comfort is the key factor in enjoying your time in this new space.

A feather bed or mattress topper can add comfort to a stiff mattress. They are typically made with feathers or polyester fiber fill.

Featherbeds come at a slightly higher cost, but they are worth it. They last longer and do not have to be fluffed as often.

Unfortunately, colleges do not provide comfortable desk chairs. There is an inexpensive way to transform your seat and give your backside some relief.

You can make a seat cushion by sewing strips of fabric to each side of a floor pillow, which can be found at any store that sells home goods, and tying it to your chair.

Since floor cushions are thicker than regular ones, they will be more comfortable.

Once classes get into full swing and you find yourself spending more time at your desk, you-- and your gluteus maximus-- will be thankful you did this.

Home Appeal

A few purchases can help you create a more welcoming cubicle that you will be proud to show off to your friends.

Start with a focal point that reflects your personal style, like a comforter or a rug, and design the room around that. Make sure this item reflects your personality and taste.

Jimmy Newbourg, freshman writing, literature and publishing major adds character to his room with posters from his favorite bands and movies, such as Green Day, Fight Club, and Walk the Line.

A vibrant rug can brighten the daunting look of the linoleum floors present in most college lodging. A colorful rug also creates a focal point for a room's decor.

Lighting, such as floor and desk lamps, is a must. The fluorescent lighting in your dorm rooms is not only hard on your eyes, it is also less warm and inviting. This is another excuse to put your own twist on the room.

Wall art is important in bringing individuality to your room. Use poster adhesive to hang pictures and other wall art. A collage of snapshops from home is always a good idea and cheap and easy to make.

Other ideas for walls include memo boards, dry erase boards, mini lights and a laundry line on which you can hang pictures of family and friends.

"I'm going to Newbury Comics to get some posters because it's really lame in my room right now," said Barrow, referring to her room in Piano Row that she shares with four other suitemates.

There are several online stores that offer affordable options for the above ideas. You can browse dorm decor on the following websites, all of which deliver: The Container Store, Target, Ikea, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Wal-mart among others.

You can purchase from these stores or just use them for inspiration to make your own version of what they sell.

In order to prioritize on a strict college budget make a need and want list. Buy what you need and maybe you can make the rest yourself.