New | How to design and furnish the perfect college dorm room
Students need multifunctional spaces fit for studying and socialising, with lots of storage, adequate lighting and fun furnishings
Settling into a new environment thousands of miles away from family, first-year university students have dormitory spaces to equip and make their own.
But with the plethora of youth-focused and design-led offerings available, dorm rooms no longer have to look like they were plucked from the pages of an Ikea catalogue.
"Anyone who has gone away to college knows that it can be a daunting prospect moving away and into a bare dorm room that doesn't usually come with a lot of character," said Kate Babington, the managing director of eco-minded Hong Kong furniture store Tree.
Kitting out the space properly means thinking of it as a home away from home, but also keeping in mind that it has to serve multiple functions, and needs to fit in with the way students study and socialise: they are more likely to sit on a beanbag studying on an iPad than they are to be hunched over a desk staring at a book.
There need to be communal areas for them to study (or play video games) together, tonnes of storage, pieces that can serve numerous functions and quirky and fun accessories. Furniture that offers additional electrical outlets are always a plus: for the average gadget-laden student today, there never seem to be enough of those.
She recommends drawers on castors that can be moved from beneath the desk to next to the bed. Bookshelves should be liberally placed on walls, and labelled boxes can hold kitchen and food items, toiletries and stationery.
The people behind bedding maker Saffron Marigold do not see why dorm room offerings should be basic: the company's latest offerings are specifically for that particular area, using fair trade cotton in handprinted patterns. Its bedspreads and duvet covers are specifically tailored for dorm rooms; options include peacock feather motifs on an all-white background, classic navy blue with a wave-inspired design, and even vintage Hollywood: an ornate black filigree design atop white sheets. They are also reversible.
Space can be limited, especially if sharing, so make use of every inch of space: if a chest of drawers takes up too much room, there is always the option of a couple of coat stands and lots of hooks and shelves on walls.
Many dorm rooms have open closets that show everything inside. "Shower curtains and a rod," said Hill. "They're a cheap solution to covering those open closets and will make your room look neater."