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September 19, 2003
Vol. 45 No. 2

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Room decor adds comfort

Decorating a residence hall room can be a daunting task. Typically, space is limited, saving money is an issue and it can be difficult making a dark, plain room into a livable and inviting room.

Every summer, incoming freshmen and returning upperclassmen visit stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens 'n Things and Wal-Mart, hoping to find the right items needed to create the perfect environment for their room at school.

After all, students will spend roughly two-thirds of the calendar year attending college, making it important to have comfortable living quarters.

There are several drawbacks to living in a residence hall room, yet many students can easily make the best of the situation.

Lack of space is often a major issue when living in a tiny room with one or more roommates. Most schools provide a closet and a dresser or wardrobe so that students can store their clothing.

The space provided is typically small, but there are many ways around this problem.

Buying hangers that hold multiple articles of clothing and storage bins that can fit under the bed or bottom of the closet or simply taking fewer clothes that coordinate with each other are some key ideas for saving space.

Money is often another concern for students.

Even if you are on a limited budget, it is possible to buy a few essential items for the room. Remember to be creative.

For example, one can easily make a collage with pictures of friends to hang on the wall for decoration.

A further problem is how drab and boring the rooms typically are. Students can buy posters, hang lights and buy other accessories to work around this problem.

Anything that can make a dorm room a better place to live is important when living away from home.

As sophomore Kelly Cara said, "A few personal touches here and there can make a huge difference in a dorm room. Simple accents really help create a comfortable living environment."

In addition to these solutions, Glenna J. Morton, who writes decorating articles for About.com, has compiled a list of essential residence hall room comfort items. The items mentioned help give a room style, make it a relaxing location to study and, more importantly, to live in. The following are some highlights from the list.

* Good Lighting -- Having a proper, well-lit area to study and work in is essential for every student. Task lighting can allow you to work anywhere in the room, from your bed to your chair. Another creative decorating idea is to hang lights throughout the room. Christmas lights are popular decorations, as students can get them inexpensively at many stores. Good lighting can also replace the sterile feeling that the fluorescent lights sometimes create in rooms.

" Closet Accessories -- Items, such as hangers, that hold multiple pieces of clothing at once and shoe racks are made to solve storage problems. Space is usually tight, so the more space you can save, the better. If you have the room for it, you can even place your dresser in the closet, which, as a bonus, can create extra living space.

" A large bulletin board or white board -- Having one of these allows for a nice area to hang up important reminders, notes, assignments and schedules. It can serve as a message center while helping students get organized and show off mementos.

" A big rug -- A large rug is a nice way to tie a room together and give it a warmer feeling. Try to find a darker color to match your room so that stains do not show up as easily.

" Wall Decor -- Filling up empty space on your white walls is another way to make you feel more at home. Artwork can be used to reinforce the theme of your room and putting up pictures will remind you of home. Posters are expensive, as well.

Keep these tips in mind when searching for the perfect residence hall room accessories.
The nicest part about living in a residence hall is that students are able to pick a new theme and create an entirely different setting from what they have at home.

Sophomore Kristen Fleming added some good advice, saying, "A dorm room gives a student the opportunity to express themselves without any inhibitions or restrictions."

Small problems such as lack of space have solutions, so it is important not to get frustrated.

There are many products and tools out on the market that will allow students to make the best of their small living space.

The key is to have fun with decorating and remember to keep a budget in mind.

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