Back-to-school time in Boston heralds a huge influx of college students. And if you or one of your kids are headed to college (or back to it), now’s the time to start getting everything organized for the home away from home: the dorm room.
Think practical decor with fun design elements, but also whimsical touches that have no practical purpose at all and are just there to create a place that makes you happy. Here are some standout options out there right now.
For the wall
Evoke the wisdom of John Lennon with a multicolored Come Together Print by Chasing Paper ($129 on westelm.com), a sizable (24 inches by 36 inches) testament that sets a welcoming and good-hearted tone for anyone who comes to visit. Fifty percent of the price of purchase price goes to The Trevor Project, the world’s largest organization working to end suicide among LGBTQ young people.
I also love the energy of the Sunrise Gradient Poster ($21.60 on society6.com). In lieu of the usual tie-dyed cloth mural, this sleek and large (30 inches by 40 inches) work is artist-created and comes in the kind of warm, soothing colors that calm everyone right down.
For the bed
Perhaps most fundamentally, you’re going to need a couple of pairs of budget-friendly sheets — and of course, they’ll need to fit college beds. At 400-thread count, the Performance Sheet Set by Threshold from Target do boast their fair share of luxury ($55 on target.com). They are both soft and durable, and the Twin/Twin XL size fits dorm beds.
For bedding with some girlish charm, go for a lively, fun pattern like the Polka-Dot Percale Bedding ($34-$169 on garnethill.com). The 200-thread count pieces come in all kinds of shades of multicolor polka dots, and I love how cheerful and pretty they are. Top it off with something super-soft and with a little attitude, like the Cordera Lake Pillow ($49 on dorm-decor.com) — a retro faux fur number in sterling blue that makes a statement, and that statement is comfort.
For guys looking for something graphic and neutral in hue — yet not boring — there’s the Xander Plaid Comforter ($99 on pbteen.com for a Twin/Twin XL ). They come in black, navy or charcoal, and are 200-thread count cotton percale.
For the floor
Nothing says “municipal complex” more than most dorm room floors. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a really old dorm (with wooden floors) or a really new one (with cool laminates), odds are you’ve got something like ugly linoleum to cover up. Do so in style, with a cool and artsy, but still relatively neutral carpet like the Minecraft Pixel Wool Rug ($349 on pbteen.com).
For the lighting
There will be, of course, a central ceiling light pre-installed in the room. But the light they cast is hardly flattering. Instead plug in a glowing, soothing piece like the Ansel Glass Table Lamp ($99 on urbanoutfitters.com), and watch as friends find all kinds of reasons to drop by.
For the bath
For all the time you spend getting ready in the communal bathrooms, a sturdy and dependable caddy is essential. One good one: the Portable Shower Caddy Tote Plastic Storage Basket with Handle ($12.99 on amazon.com). It sports holes (well, cut-out hearts, actually) all over for drainage, and holds full-size shampoo and body wash bottles.