Thousands of kids in Chicago will be heading to college this month and many for the first time. The big question… what to bring? Your child’s dorm room is their home away from home. Functionality is key. A dorm room needs to be well organized, cozy, have a touch of home and be a bit “college proof”.
It is a lot easier in 2017 than it was when I went off to college…Today most college towns have big retail stores where you can buy what you need. Be smart and order ahead online and then pick up from the stores when you arrive. They will have it packed and ready to go so you avoid long lines! Or have the items shipped direct and waiting in the dorm room for your arrival. No need to stuff the car to overflowing!
Remember, your child’s dorm room is really 5 rooms rolled into 1 small room- it their bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, office and family room.
When designing or shopping for a dorm room, the starting point and the biggest decision is color, especially for girls. I selected a neutral color palette of blush and gray with a cactus green accent. It is simple without a lot of pattern and will blend well with any of her roommate’s color choices. If you don’t want to look at blah cinder block walls and ugly linoleum floors for a year, select your décor wisely! When buying for a dorm consider the following essentials:
- BEDDING AND LINENS
- Blush Comforter and Duvet Cover—Easy to disassemble and wash the duvet only. It might be hard to find a dry cleaner in walking distance from the dorm!
- Faux Gray Fur Throw Blanket –Perfect to wrap up in while studying. Or for a hangover…
- 2 White Sheet Sets & 2 Extra Pillowcases – Size XL Twin. Basic and bleachable. Helps promote a regular washing schedule. Easy to see when they are dirty.
- Gray Coverlet – Lighter weight than a comforter. Great for warmer weather. Easily washable.
- Cream Fleece Bedrest Pillow — Needed for all nighters!
- An assortment of pillows—Hint, boys won’t need these.
- Blush Cotton Blanket – Breathable. A great layering element
- 3 Sets of Gray Towels – White towels may get washed more frequently, but I like gray too!
- Gray Flatweave Rug – For the middle of the room. Easier to clean than a plush carpet rug. Roll up and shake out the window!
- Small Blush Rug – Perfect for banishing cold feet during a 3AM bathroom run.
- Wall Tapestry — Love this! It is super trendy, easy to hang, and adds color to drab walls!
- Faux Fur Butterfly Chair — Cozy! An extra seat for a new friend. Plus it collapses for under the bed storage.
- Two Lamps –There is never enough task lighting. Buy 2.
- Bed Shelf– For top bunk or not. Just the right size to hold your cell phone, a bottle of water and… during the night.
- Over Door Mirror — Check your outfit before heading out.
- Dry Erase/Bulletin Board Wall Boards — For family photos to banish homesickness or for a silly note to your roommate.
- String Lights — Sets the mood.
- Light Box — Change the message daily!
- STORAGE AND ORGANIZATION
- Under Bed Storage Boxes — Great for shoes, boots, towels and sheets
- Double Hanging Rod – Doubles closet hanging space
- Laundry Basket –Easier to carry than a laundry bag. A basket also holds clean folded clothes.
- Tool Kit – For learning “how to” on your own
- Command Hooks — the ONLY wall mount hanger allowed— for belts, keys, baseball caps
- Hanging Sweater Organizer – Very versatile
- Pants and Skirt Hangers – Yippee, more clothes!
- Bed Riser with Outlets – Fabulous idea, must have been a college kid who designed these.
- Instagram Camera – Gotta have! Share photos with high school friends and new friends
- Power Strip – More than one will be needed. Calling all extension cords….
- Canvas Boxes –Label as needed: snacks, make-up, hair, socks
- Mouse Pad
- Jewelry Rack
- Desk Organizer
In addition to all these essentials, don’t forget the basics… a laptop, snacks, kitchen accessories, a vacuum and a shower caddy. In selecting all these items, I shopped at 4 stores: Urban Outfitters, The Container Store, West Elm and Target and online with Amazon. It took me a little over 3 hours to accomplish.
Help your freshman acclimate to living on their own… as my two recent college graduates have told me: “Surviving the first month of college on your own prepares you for all of life’s other decisions”.