Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 8th 2013 Contents September 8, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Sunday Guardian
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Like so many parents worldwide, I just had the bittersweet experience of settling a child
in a university dorm. Boy, were those rooms bland! Actually they could be downright
ugly. I was on a super important mission to make the room habitable. I did not want her
to be languishing in a small, dark hole getting depressed and missing home. But we had
our share of challenges. No holes in the walls and we could not touch the paint. In fact
the rules clearly stated that if we transgressed we would be charged the cost of repaint-
ing the room -- labour and materials. Mounting tape was also outlawed. But, we did not
give up. We found a way. Here are some tips for making the dorm super cool.
Colour coordination. Listen up -- you have
to get stuff like bedding, laundry baskets, desk
organisers, towels, etc. Why not put a little effort
into getting them in coordinating colours? In-
stead of purchasing in a random manner, select
items that will live well together. In doing so the
space will look balanced and well-coordinated;
less dormy and more homey.
Command strips. This
relatively new technology was
my friend. It sticks. Boy does it
stick! And better yet it can take
some good loads. So from
hooks for hanging coats, bags
and keys to hanging posters,
towel bars, whiteboards and
mirrors; Command strips to
the rescue. This is a really nifty
adhesive product from 3M.
The great thing about them is
that they come out without
peeling the paint or leaving any
residue. Imagine a room for
girls without a floor length mir-
ror. Command adhesive strips
to the rescue!
Removable wall paper
or Contact paper. I envis-
aged gross germs and hiding in
the drawers and shelves. I cov-
ered them completely with
contact paper. Just remember
to use the kind that can be re-
moved. Look for the word 're-
movable' or 'repositionable' on
the label. We also did a border
around her white board with
removable wall paper. The cork
bulletin board that came with
the room was old and beaten
up. We covered that com-
pletely with the wall paper.
Beyond Drapery Limited
Removable vinyl decals. Instant funky
art. From quotations and sayings to architec-
tural art, vinyl decals are an easy way to add
character to the dorm space. Again they are
'removable' so you do not run the risk of
Don't forget the rug. Dorm floors can
be cold, as in both the actual temperature
and visually. Warm up the space with a rug.
My daughter loves purple so we got a nice
purple plush rug. It feels really luxurious and
its warmth will be welcome when she steps
out of bed in the cold Canadian winter
Supplemental furnishings. If not
provided, a fan is fundamental to a comfort-
able environment. Besides the obvious cool-
ing function, the fan circulates the air so
stale air does not settle. Additionally in tem-
perate climates it will help to circulate the
heat in the room. Sometime the light pro-
vided is inadequate. They may be provided
with a study lamp at the desk. What if they
want to study in bed or in the corner chair?
Consider a second lamp. A refrigerator, if al-
lowed, is a great bonus; food and snacks at
hand for the long study hours. For extra stor-
age and seating, consider storage ottomans
or under bed storage bins. We also found
some shelves that hang from the closet pole.
Bedding. The bed is one of the largest and
prominent surfaces in the room and one of
the easiest ways of establishing style and in-
jecting colour. Pattern is also a key element.
My daughter loves bold graphics and abstract
patterns. She also likes mixing solid colours;
colour blocking. Select bedding wisely. If your
child is studying in a temperate climate, bed-
ding selection also has a functional dimen-
sion. Warm blankets, quilts, duvets or
comforters are critical for the winter months.
Bedding for warmth is something that we do
not have to consider in the tropics. It is critical
in temperate climates. From a decorative
perspective, try to coordinate so that pieces
are interchangeable and work well together.
So the pillow shams from one set can work
with another. In doing so the room will al-
ways look coordinated even though your child
does not pay attention to what they put on
the bed. Don't forget simple throw pillows or
extra pillows. Most dorm rooms come with
single beds; some come with extra-long sin-
gle beds. Select appropriately sized bedding
for a proper fit.
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