Every year thousands of students and parents pack their motor vehicles to maximum capacity en route to campus. Minivans and SUVs filled to the brim with duffle bags of clothes, bedding, mini-fridges, electronics and offices supplies, with barely enough room for you, mom and dad.
How is it going to all fit into a college dorm room?
The average dorm room on campus sizes up at 11 feet by 14 feet, according to Temple dorm floorplans. With such a space constraint, it may be difficult to imagine living comfortably in an area that serves not only as a bedroom for two, but a living room and office (and kitchen on those 3 a.m. Owl’s Nest and Chinese takeout nights).
John J. McKeon, who teaches a non-credit interior design class at Temple University Center City, suggested a few tips on how to make dorm rooms the size of Mariah Carey’s walk-in closet appear much more spacious.
Tip 1: Move it, or lose it. Something as simple as rearranging a room may help.
“A good way to increase the space in a dorm room is to move the furniture around,” McKeon said. “Face the desk and the dresser back to back.”
Tip 2: The brighter the colors, the better. Creating a focal point in a room with a bold color helps to make a space seem larger.
“Colorful sheets, spreads and accessories in a favorite color really add to a room,” he said.
He also suggested tossing throw rugs into the equation because they’re fun and inexpensive.
Tip 3: Mirrors create the illusion of larger spaces.
“Mirrors are helpful because you don’t see the mirror, just the reflection,” McKeon said. “It doubles the visual space.”
Tip 4: Utilize storage space to the fullest. Storage bins, bed-raisers and hanging-shoe closets are vital additions.
“I really like stacking storage bins,” McKeon said. “It helps to organize a room.” And they also erase clutter, he added.
“Keep clutter to a minimum. The human eye stops on objects and by reducing the number of objects in a room it makes the space seem bigger.”
Creating open area not only makes the room feel less cramped, but may also keep roommate bickering to a minimum.
There’s no question of the claustrophobic lifestyle a college student faces in a dorm room, but these tips may help to make life in a resident hall a little more livable and enjoyable.
Jenna Snader can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.