Monday, August 27, 2012

OlioHop Dorm Decor

"Back to school, back to school, to prove to dad I'm not a fool"

Happy OlioHop Monday everyone! We're talking dorm room decor today, and this is something that hits close to home. It was just eight short years ago that I was packing up my bags and heading South from Massachusetts to Greensboro, NC to move into my first dorm room! Personally, I HATED living on campus, but looking back on it much of those feelings were in my own control. I never made my space my own or feel anything like home until I got into an apartment. There are SO many things I wish I had done differently! Honestly, dorm rooms should be treated like first apartments (some are) and less like an awkward first experience. College will provide plenty of awkward first experiences!
Sometimes schools provide bed frames, desks, chairs, etc. Note to past self, this DOES NOT mean you HAVE to use them!!! Sometimes you're lucky enough to have a single all to yourself (lucky from my raised as an only child used to my own space point of view!), and sometimes you have an actual apartment feel with two or four bedrooms, a common space living room, and even a small kitchen. If you, your child, or family member you are joining us on behalf of are gifted with this, do a happy dance NOW! You have so much space to express your style! Most often, you'll have one room that you share with other people and still need a way to make your space your own; both physically and with personal style.
Here are the most important things to think about when talking about Dorm Decor:

  • Storage - so many things, so little space, and you must be able to be productive!
  • Organization - where did you put that paper? How about your ID card? 
  • Functionality - if it's hard to use, it won't be fun to live in!
  • Communication - this is VERY important when you have roommates to pass along messages!
  • Personality - make it your own with things from home! 
  • BUDGET - let's face it, college is expensive! Dorm room decor doesn't have to be!
First, you're going to have to plan and pack up to get there, and I found a great packing list on Pinterest so be sure to repin and take a closer look when you have the time!

This past weekend we made the drive to Charlotte, NC to IKEA for the finishing items for Dablet's playroom! I was inspired beyond belief for things I wish I had done in my dorm room in college! So, I created an Olioboard for today's hop using all IKEA items...yes ALL!
To see this board and shop the look click here

So, I'm sure you're much does that room cost? $1,078.74 thanks to Olioboard's handy budget tool in their pro plan! That's for the following:
Twin bed with storage, dresser, desk, chair, sofa bed (yes that folds down!), coffee table, side table, rug, table lamp, floor lamp, two overhead lamps, double laundry basket, two square ottomans, mirror, wall clock, filing, blankets, and all decor elements!
Yes, I know $1,000 is a chunk, but you don't need all of this, and for everything that I included in this design you must admit that's a fabulous price! IKEA is perfect for college because it's trendy, functional, easy to pack (ships flat!), and will give design savvy students more bang for their buck! Chances are you have some of these elements already and can bring them with you, or could find something similar at your local thrift stores! As a side note, I added all of these elements from IKEA into Olioboard myself with the "one click add" tool!
Let's knock out three bullets in one: Storage, Organization, and Functionality, after all college (and the rest of life) is about effective multitasking! Items that can serve duel purposes, think storage ottomans and room dividers with built in shelving, will save you time, money, and space in the long run.
To see this board and shop the look click here
Etsy is great for prints and you can shop these directly from this Olioboard. Also, I'm seriously loving Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and West Elm for the pops of color in shower curtains and dishes!

Shower curtains pack a lot of punch in a small package. Sometimes when you get to your dorm room, your closet space is more like a "large" cubby without a door and you'd like to cover it for privacy! Chose something that reflects your style and brings some color into your room. Those same shower curtains can add dimension to your room if you beat the "you can't paint your walls" battle by hanging command hooks and draping fabric on your walls! Color, texture, and even the look of a hidden (but nonexistent) window! You'll likely notice (whether this is your first dorm or your third) that the thing you have the most of is walls! Put them to use with fun and funky shelves, organizers, and hooks and get your clutter off of the floor.

Trust me, this is another thing your family will appreciate when they come to visit!
I think futons are the ultimate one, two, (sometimes three) punch. You can sit, sleep, and store using them! The ones in this board (from Target) come in about eight different colors and are less than $200!! OK, so maybe your mom won't be crashing here, but I'm sure your friends from high school and maybe a few newbies might appreciate something other than floor space!

I mentioned communication right? There are a few easy ways to be the good roommate and make this an easy practice. Even if you have a single, your parents will appreciate coming to visit you when they know you're leaving yourself notes, staying organized, and maybe even have "call home" written on your schedule!
Pinned here
The chalkboard calendar! We've seen it, loved it, and it works! This is just another use!

Pinned here
I've shared this before, and I'll share it again! Calendar, hooks, chalkboard, and organization! 

For my next look, I wanted to recreate a photo I found on Pinterest that I added to my Dorm Room Decor board. Here's the photo:
This look is pinned here
Why does this work? The biggest reason is the storage room divider between bed/personal space and common/living space! 
To see this board and shop the look click here

I used some finds from Target, West Elm, and Lamps Plus to recreate the elements in the pin. Most importantly I wanted to show you how easy it can be to create a shopping list from Olioboard of something you fall in love with on Pinterest! Also, you can make it your own by adding fun pops of color like the wall hooks and art panels! College is the first time many people are "on their own" and your living space should reflect your personal style. What if your style changes? Choose pieces that you can grow up into, recover, change the bedding, or use different accents!
One final piece of Pinspiration is this "bookcase" created by stacking different colored and length benches! This is a fabulous way to use something in an non-ordinary way that brings color, dimension, and use of vertical space into your room!
Pinned here

If you need some more ideas for effective organization, check out our recent OlioHop ALL about organizing! Head over to Olioboard and come up with your own ideas for your dream dorm room and share them with me! You can always find budget friendly ways to make your biggest one room dreams come true, and I'd love to see what you're dreaming about!
There are 10 other fabulous designers blogging with me today, so go check them out for more dorm room inspiration, and of course, don't forget Pinterest! I'm going to be pinning on my Dorm Decor board all day so be sure to stop over!


  1. Awesome post! Love the Ikea room! It has great style for a very affordable price!

  2. Great Olioboards and inspiring ideas for college students around the world. Love the use of color!

  3. Loving the Ikea decor and very inspired by the chalkboard...I am doing on in my kitchen this week! Great OlioHopping!

  4. Nice job recreating your pinspiration with more frugal finds- a must for college students. Nice details and GO Etsy and Ikea! You and I were thinking alike!

  5. This could be a how-to plan for a dorm space eBook!! Great detail and tips. Love the product sharing board and that you pointed out pricing. Very nice as always. Glad to be in the #oliohop with you.

    Julie @gosimplysavvy and

  6. Very Nice and informative post Kate. Frugal finds, IKea and Etsy are great ways to cut expense when decorating a dorm room. Happy #OlioHop xo :)

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE the way you showed a "Pinspiration" and the "Personal Space"!!! I think we sometimes forget to utilize the center of the room, and the wall unit at the END of the bed is a great solution to create a little privacy! Very clever Kate!! xo

  8. Loved hearing about your dorm life! Its always the way, we learn after the fact. The good thing is that you are now able with your great post to show other students how it should be done right!

    Nice blogging with you Kate!xo

  9. Kate, your personal experience recently must have helped you a lot when you were writing your post. I like that you included items that are budget friendly and practical for a college student who does not always have the money to spend on higher end furnishings. The cleanliness and uncluttered feeling of your blog is outstanding. You did an outstanding job on your post.

  10. Hi Kate!

    What a great post! I loved hearing your personal story first and then how you expanded from that to help other students know, understand and explore their options.

    I also loved how you included information about Olioboard's #ProPlan budget tool available on

    It is REALLY helpful in saving people time and, as you pointed out, makes instant comparisons of pricing possible when you're dragging and dropping different furniture, art or accessory options into your boards.

    Thank you for participating in your 4th #OlioHop, Kate! Each of your posts is so full of helpful info! Everyone at my client, Olioboard, really appreciates your wonderful creativity, enthusiasm and ideas!


    Leslie (@tkpleslie)

  11. Love your post as always Kate! My favorite is the turquoise book shelf! I want one! Have it pinned on one of my pin boards too :) Wonderful storage ideas. Beautiful boards :) #Oliolove