Clever Dorm Decor & Organisation

By Marica

Students from all over the country will soon be shuffling off to Uni or college – some for the very first time. The move away from home can be exciting (independence, yes!) and somewhat frightening (mommy!). Creating a home away from home is therefore quite important. I am of course referring to the humble dorm, res, student housing, hostel, koshuis – call it what you will.

It seems that in comparison to certain folks (over yonder Atlantic ocean), we residing here at the southern tip of Africa don’t make such a big deal about this whole “dorm” decorating business. It’s a shame really. We really should invest a little more time and effort in decorating our first little borrowed nest.

Some thought should be put into creating your new pad. Remember your primary goal – getting that degree. So however you choose to adorn your dorm room make sure that it is conducive to studying. Organisation is key.

Luckily, an organised space does not necessarily equate a boring sterile space. There are lots of clever and colourful ways to organise your study area while also customising and beautifying your room.

Here are a few that I think are well worth the effort…

Pegboards: I LOVE pegboards! It is such an awesome and trendy way to organise your workspace. When you have limited floor space, like in a dorm room, a pegboard is an excellent way to maximise storage by utilising your walls. Not only are they super versatile but also really inexpensive. You can attach just about anything to a pegboard – week planners, reminders, study notes, photos and art, containers to organise your stationery… even some herb planters and a wall clock, as shown above.

Clipboards: Another fun and quirky way to make use of wall space is by using a collection of clipboards. They can easily be attached above your desk or bed and serve as brilliant organisational tools. Each clipboard can be designated to a certain function or subject – from calendars and class notes to photos and sentimental knickknacks. I can imagine, come exam time, all the clipboards will contain nothing but summaries and mind maps. Just exchange the clipped image or info as the mood takes you – your room will be ever evolving.

Vertical Bookcase: The small footprint of these nifty “spine” bookcases makes them a clever solution for smaller spaces. It takes up minimal floor space yet allows you to stow a generous amount of books. If painted, it can also add a pop of fun colour to your room – the beautiful minty bookcase above is a perfect example of this.

The Lean-to: I know some students, unfortunately, have to keep their dorm decor exceptionally light as rooms of certain institution-owned hostels and student residences are rented out during college breaks. Consider using a big board (plywood would be cool) to attach your decor, notes and calendar too. This board can just lean against your room wall and can easily be removed (notes and all) when you go home for the holidays. No nails, no fuss.

Corkboard: Yet another clever way to make use of your wall space. A perfect substrate to fix your notes and pretty things too. You can buy big sheets of corkboard on a roll and then decorate it as you see fit. I particularly like the white zigzag painted corkboard above – looks so fresh and trendy. Oh and imagine having a giant wall-sized calendar – you’ll be super organised!

String ‘em up: What is a college dorm room without some pictures of all the good times had? Maybe you just want a little representation of your loved ones back home. Either way, a dorm room needs some photos to make it feel like your own. Use clothes pegs or clips to attach your photos and art to some string which can be strung up in a creative way. This is also super easy to remove if you have to clear out in a hurry. Don’t you just love the fairy-light option above?

Trolley: I like the idea of having a trolley in your room you can wheel about as needed. It can serve as an additional storage unit beside your desk for all the much-needed stationery or small appliances. It can also make a pretty quirky bedside table – perfect for your nightly reads and things you need close at hand. You can even use it as a makeshift TV tray to have small meals on.


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