Back-to-school season is here, and dorm room decorating is in full swing.
And students like Abby Bozeman and Lindy Goodson — who gained international attention for pictures of their ultra-chic dorm room last week — are not alone in spending extra time on dorm decor.
According to a press release by online furniture and decor site Wayfair.com, more and more students across the country are investing time and money into creating comfortable but stylish spaces for the coming school year.
We tapped interior decorator and expert dorm designer Selena Thomas of After Five Designs for her pro tips on how to transform a student's school room without spending a lot of money. Her biggest piece of advice? Invest in pieces that can be used after you leave the dorm.
Here are her favorite tips for achieving a stylish look with little investment:
1. "Price shop," says Thomas. She says it pays to start early and look in various places for furniture and accessories, including retail stores, antique shops and consignment boutiques. One way to save money is by picking up carpet remnants or scraps, which are cheaper because they're smaller pieces, and their unfinished ends can be easily disguised in a dorm room.
"On the rugs I buy closeouts and only bind [professionally finish] one side — the other sides are under the bed and desk so you don't see them and it saves money."
2. Don't feel dictated by that "extra long" dorm room bed; purchase items that can live long past the residence hall. "I buy only queen quilts that can be used again," says Thomas. An added bonus: a longer bedspread hangs down to hide under-bed storage.
3. If you're going to get a new headboard for your bed, Thomas advises clients to purchase queen-sized headboards so they can be used again in subsequent living spaces.
4. Window treatments have an amazing impact in rooms this size. "I order drapery that's longer and wider than needed to be used in apartments later," says Thomas.
5. Strategic storage and the right kind of cabinets make all the difference in a tiny space. "Cabinets in between the beds hold the refrigerator," says Thomas. "Printer cabinets on the desk hold microwaves, hair dryers and more."
6. Lamps can make a room, and Thomas loves buying them in pairs for stylish symmetry. Floor lamps can get pricey but don't despair. "I get mine at IKEA," she says.
7. Mirrors open up space and reflect light. Thomas, who obtains many of her mirrors at HomeGoods, prefers to place mirrors over the desk area.
8. Use artwork to dress up the space — and pick pieces you love enough to hang onto for the future. "Then it can be used later in an apartment," Thomas says.
9. If she had to choose one place to start, Bed Bath & Beyond is Thomas' favorite place to shop for basics from mattress pads to hangers and organizing items. "Extension cords are another must-have," says Thomas.