Friday, June 10, 2016

7 Things To Do Before Dorm Shopping

For any of you soon-to-be college freshman, if you're anything like me, the second you got into college you had a pinterest board devoted to all of your ~*dorm inspiration*~ filled with expertly decorated dorm rooms that look like they came out of the PB Teen catalog and your mind was filling with millions of ideas and plans for your future dorm. For me this started in November of my senior year after I got my first acceptance. I didn't decide where I was going until late April. By the time I had my room assignment in June, I had so many ideas of exactly what I wanted. I wanted to use all those Target gift cards from graduation and go crazy, but before you start running around target in a whirlwind, it's important to do a little planning. Here are some things to do BEFORE you start buying all the things for your dorm.

// talk to your roommate // 

You know that person that you'll be sharing a room with for the next year? Might be a good idea to talk to them before you start buying a ton of stuff for your room. You don't want to end up with polar opposite sides of the room (anyone remember this commercial? so wonderfully 2004). Text or FaceTime your roommate and talk through your plans: color palette, do you want to match exactly or just coordinate? Do you even care if your room goes together at all? Maybe even go wild a make a joint Pinterest board that you can both add to to get an idea of each others style.

// look at a layout of your dorm room //

Clemson (and I'm guessing most other universities) allow students to get an idea of the general makeup of their dorm room. At the very least they give measurements for different parts of the room and things like the bed, desk, etc. Google and Pinterest are your friends, use them! Google (or pinterest search) "xyz residence hall, your university." It'll come up with some things that will help you get a better idea of the space you're working with. If that doesn't work, maybe do a little social media digging if you know anyone older at your school.

// decide who is bringing what //

Outfitting your college dorm gets! In order to combat that, talk to your roommate and discuss who is going to buy which things for the room. Maybe she already has a TV she can bring from home, maybe your big brother is graduating and wants to pass on his mini fridge. Figure out what each of your already has in the way of big items like a tv, mini fridge, futon, other furniture, etc. that you can contribute to the room. Once you know what you have,  decide what else you need/want and which of you is responsible for each item. Communication is key when living with a roommate, and it starts with the dorm planning.

// set a budget //

Talk to your parents about what/if they're willing to contribute, look at your own bank account and decide how much of that graduation money you want to put towards your dorm. Spending all $1500 you make over the summer may not sound great, but putting a cap of about $500 is a good place to start. Like I said, getting all this stuff is expensive!!! $100 for a bedspread? Jokes. Being a sort of adult isn't cheap. Be realistic about what all you want and how much it is going to cost to give you the dorm room of your dreams. Keep in mind that you will only live in this exact room for a year and might not live in a dorm at all the next year.

// make a need vs want list //

You need bedding, towels, and hangers, but cute throw pillows and those knick knacky decor items aren't super necessary. Look at some packing guides and figure out what you really need for your dorm vs things you would like but are not super essential. You'll want to keep this in mind when it comes to shopping and your budget.

// pin, pin, pin, and pin some more //

Like I said earlier, you've probably had a dorm board going since the day you got accepted into college, but now that you have the true ~vision~ of your future paradise of a dorm room, pin away. Go absolutely Pinterest crazy! Get tons and tons of pinspiration to figure out what you like and what you don't. Is there a particular color scheme you really love? Do you want a pretty-colored paradise or a neutral haven? Maybe someone has some really neat ideas for how to organize everything, or some cool DIYs that will save money. Extra points for making a board with your roommate(s). 

// be realistic //

Now that you have so many ideas of exactly what you want your dorm to look like, it's time for a reality check. Some of those elaborately decorated Pinterest dorms are expensive to replicate. Some dorm rooms are just really ugly and all the cute decor in the world won't make them pretty. Don't get too set on this one duvet cover you saw on a pin that originated in 2011. I'm not saying you can't have the Pinterest-perfect room, just don't put too much pressure on yourself to make it happen.

This is hopefully the first of many posts about dorm room living coming for you this summer so be on the look out for others!


  1. I loved this post. I remember when I was first trying to figure out who my roommates were gonna be and what I wanted it to look like It was stressful. I wish I had a list like this then, it would have been a much more organized process.

    Taylor /

  2. This was my favorite time of year when I was living in dorms! It's so much getting to design your space! Next up, APARTMENT DECORATING!

    Sadie Lee

  3. This is such a great list of things to do. As a college lifestyle blogger, I would definitely recommend doing every single one of these things to my girlfriends, too! Thanks for sharing, Ashley.

    XO, Sarah | The Bella Insider | @sarah_thebella