There’s more to dorm decor than posters

The stereotypical image of a college dorm room: a tiny room plastered with posters and cluttered with unknown remnants of the night before.

This image, however, now is being redefined by students determined to find creative ways to make their new homes stylish and comfortable.

“Decorating and personalizing your room will help the transition from home so much,” said Catherine Vukelich, a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Reno. “Dorm rooms tend to become boring and prison-like if you don’t.”

Vukelich moved into Argenta Hall at UNR last year and used artwork, Christmas lights and school spirit items to make her room her own. Local interior designers, however, said that there are even more possibilities to decorating a stylish dorm room.

“The transition from living at home to being on your own is a big step that should be celebrated,” interior designer Alejandra Bernardez said. “There are ways to achieve a stylish room even at the strictest of university dorms.”

Bernardez recommended window coverings not only to polish and frame the room, but also to provide much needed privacy or to block sunlight. She also noted that art wall decals are good way to brighten up walls that can’t be painted or tacked.

“There are a vast variety of large patterns and exciting designs available online and in stores,” she said. “These decals can be easily installed on painted drywall, glass and metal. Many of them are not only re-usable and repositionable, but also easy to remove.”

Students often end up wondering what the best colors for their room will be when they are unaware of what their roommates will bring with them to school.

“I definitely picked out colors and got little things to match, but I soon realized that nothing would match because my roommates had completely different colors,” Vukelich said.

Color palette

The key to a well-coordinated dorm room is a good color palette, interior designer Sheri Kovac said.

“A black and white palette is a great one because students can then add any color accent to it that they want,” she said. “Even with your roommates’ colors, it would be really cool how it would all mix.”

For another trendy look, Kovac suggested skipping the classic bulletin board and instead buying an inexpensive picture frame. After spray painting it in an accent color and replacing the picture with chicken wire, the frame will be ready for posting letters from home or notes.

Foldable camping chairs can provide seating for the many guests that will spend time in the student’s dorm room, she said.

“The first thing people do when they come in is sit on the beds,” Vukelich said. “It’s nice to have a little extra seating when you don’t know how clean random people are.”

For students wondering what to bring to UNR, Chuck Clement, director of student conduct and safety, suggested bringing the minimum and adding more once they’ve moved in.

“Just bring your essentials, and then, when you get here ask questions,” he said. “The rooms do not have a lot of extra storage capacity, so we ask that students are selective with their wardrobe. Bring comfortable clothing that you can wear every day.”

Using small pins for the wall is allowed, but painting is not, Clement said. Anything with an open heating element also is prohibited. Students can check a complete list of prohibited items at the university’s website.

Students like Vukelich see the many benefits of their styled dorm room during the school year.

“It helped me as a student,” Vukelich said. “When you’re in a comfortable and relaxed environment, you can focus on studying — and that’s what you’re there to do.”

The residence hall opening at UNR is at

10 a.m. Aug. 25.

May the decorating begin.

Published at Reno Gazette-Journal