to Painting and Decorating Library Index
Dorm Room Decorating Decisions
by Gail McCauley
As the summer winds to a close, college bound young adults ponder their
dorm room design schemes for the upcoming year. When it comes to planning,
college students usually think in terms of temporary, short term intervals.
Dorm living is all the about the three "F's": function,
fashion and fun! Can you think of a more favorable way to creatively fashion
a transitional space than with the exciting use of color and paint?!
First and foremost on any parent's list for their departing college
student is establishing a functional living
space. Practical storage of essential belongings is a tremendous priority
for the young adult who has received his or her first taste of independence.
Functional storage need not be mundane. Practical storage can take the
form of inexpensive and unexpected unique items! Wire and metal baskets
present useful storage containers to be utilized on closet shelves to
house clothing and linens.
Divided wooden boxes (such as old tool boxes)
with a handle provide handy storage for toiletries and cosmetics. Clear
jars with lids (such as simple canning jars) offer ideal choices for housing
small desk accessories like paper clips, staples, "post it"
note pads and erasers. Often used items (i.e. cellular phones) can be
dispersed within decorative baskets and bowls for quick and easy accessibility.
Any of these storage vessels may be primed and creatively painted according
to the student's color preferences or room theme.
method of scheduling daily tasks is crucial for a successful student at
any age. Not "just for kids", chalkboard paint offers an inexpensive
and decorative way for a student to map out their intended daily or weekly
schedule at a glance. Currently offered in various colors (not limited
to "traditional" black) and by several paint manufacturers,
chalkboard paint can be applied directly to the wall surface, an existing
bulletin board or even a large piece of poster board. Simply hang or prop
against a wall and refer to the whimsical organizer for "in a jiffy"
scheduling of classes and extracurricular activities.
Carefully considered transitional spaces are designed with furnishings
and accessories that are made for compact and temporary living. Furnishings
that fold or contain wheels offer the ability for increased dorm room
space when not in use. A folding chair painted with a whimsical motif
can function as a bedside table, or as extra seating for unexpected guests.
A portable, hand painted storage cart that coordinates with a themed room
offers the ability to serve as a television stand, makeshift coffee table
or to accommodate a laptop computer.
and fashionable dorm abodes simply require the imagination and creativity
of a willing college student participant. Innovative decorative accessories
such as painted floorcloths lend fun underfoot for all who enter the dorm
room. Readily available painters canvas may be stenciled, stamped or treated
to a painted freehand design using an endless array of innovative borders,
color blocked or geometric patterns. (Although even novice painters can
tackle a project of this nature, consulting with a paint expert prior
to tackling a floorcloth project helps to ensure the most effective results.)
For inexpensive "quick fixes", consider adding paint to file
cabinets, wastebaskets, tissue holders, bookends and other desk accessories.
Even empty shoe boxes can be transformed into customized storage containers
with a healthy dose of color! If painting on the walls is permitted, explore
the possibility of painting an accent wall, mural or ceiling for an visually
stimulating twist of the unexpected.
Remember, virtually any surface is a potential paint candidate for the
dorm room space. One last thought: what if your newly independent dorm
dweller grows tired of his colorful dorm creation? The beauty of paint
provides for a rapid change of existing color palette without a major
Gail McCauley for the
Rohm and Haas Paint
to Painting and Decorating Library Index