Monday, July 16, 2012

Roommates...and Decorating?

Hey everyone!

Since it's getting so so close to back to campus time, I thought I'd offer some advice on concerns that a lot of new college students often have.

And the first I'll tackle is that ever great design question regarding your roommate's side of the room. So many college students are debating questions like:

Should my roommate and I match our decor?
What if our sides look completely different?
What if we have nothing (design-wise) in common?
Can I still decorate my side as I wish, or should I tone it down?

I'm going to answer this question as a college student going into her third year of college, one that has roomed with different girls thus far, and will room with a different one this fall.

First off, interior designers, magazines, Pinterest, Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, and probably the rest of the world will you tell you match decor with your roommate for a more put-together look. Looking at pictures across the Internet, it looks amazing when this is done. Here's some examples:


Rate My Space

All of these rooms, as you noticed, all have the same exact color scheme, all have the same bedding, and in some cases, each side is a mirror image of the other. They look fantastic when taking pictures of, for trying to sell dorm merchandise or just trying to sell that dorm living is quite pretty and put together. I know I want to move in.

But looking at my reality...

None of my dorm rooms looked like this, I can tell you. Not even remotely close? Why? Well, first off my roommates and I didn't even discuss decor before moving in. We were more interested in talking about what we're like, interests, majors, and who is bringing the fridge and TV.

Take this past school year (in the fall), my room looked like this. There was nothing in the world that was going to stop me from using the red dottie bedspread, including a roommate. See, I bought this bedding the previous February. I didn't know who I was rooming with until June. I didn't talk to her until mid-July.

While my site was all dottie, flowery, and red, her side was QUITE different. She had a plain purple comforter, all of her posters were gray, black and white, and subdued. And she spent a total of about 20 minutes decorating.

It just wasn't something that interested her. Me, on the otherhand, never stopped decorating throughout the school year.

My freshman year, the difference between our side of the rooms were even more pronounced. My side, as shown above. Her side had Care Bears everywhere. There was absolutely no color scheme or any thought about design.

This upcoming year, however, will be the first that my roommate and I are working with a design theme. Jury is still out on how it will go and look, but I'll share pictures and tell you all about it.

I must say however, I'm a big fan of just doing your own thing. Some reasons:

1. What if your favorite colors are completely different? Don't force each other to live/spend lots of money on something neither of you love.

2. Dorm rooms are personal, they help your new floormates and friends get to know YOU. So if you have a Beatles poster or a collage of your artwork, it something you guys can talk about. However, in an impersonal room where it looks like a magazine, you can't get that connection.

3. Roommates are difficult enough without adding in design discussions and differences. Don't add extra stress to that relationship.

4. College students like to hang out. They do not like hanging out in a formal, uncomfortable room. It's important to think about design and comfort, but having a room that is all pink and matchy-matchy make people feel like they can't sit down and relax.

5. It's more budget friendly to get things you want and need, not what will match your roommates.

Finally, I also must advise, don't feel like you need to tone down your side of the room. Bring what you NEED and what you love, and you can't go wrong. Does that mean you should bring your entire room from home? No. Dorms are small. And the first and number one way to make your roommate grumpy with you, is that A.) on move-in day they can't walk around your stuff because it's everywhere, and B.) you have so much stuff you can't fit it in your side of the room.

Real life experience with both A and B. My freshman year roommate (who was a sophomore) brought everything she owned. Every article of clothing, every shoe, every book she read for fun her entire life. Everything. And when she didn't have enough space for her clothes on her side of the closet and had to put three items on my side, I was mad. I don't care I had empty space, that's because I hadn't brought my winter clothes yet. So the entire year, I move her stuff back to her side. Yes, passive agressive, but I was upset.

So please, don't be like my freshman year roommate. Your roommate will thank you!

I'll touch more on these subjects in upcoming days and weeks, so come back and read them, please!

Hope you all have a great day!

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