When it came time for me to go dorm room shopping as an incoming freshman, I could not have been more excited. That is because I am an aspiring interior designer and that I also love interior decorating, so moving away to college and having my own space was a really big deal for me. No joke, in the weeks leading up to move-in, you probably would have found me picking out color schemes using paint swatches and creating diagrams of what the best furniture placement would be in order to maximize the space in the room. Let’s not even mention what my Pinterest boards looked like….
An Introduction to My College Suite
As I did all of my interior decorating from afar, I loved being reading other blogger’s posts on what their dorm rooms looked like. I mean, let’s be real: in a realistic dorm, the furniture color could clash with your color scheme and you might only have enough space in your room for a bed and a desk, let alone the folding chairs and futons that you see in the ads, and you’re actually going to be living in the room, rather than it just being a display for a picture. These blog tours of actual dorm rooms were not only great for inspiration, but they also provided me with some helpful insight on what actually living in a dorm room would be like, along with what I would need.
However, this post comes with a twist: Throughout most of my freshman year of college, I lived in a suite, the kind where there is a living room, a kitchette-like area, a non-community style bathroom, and everybody has their own private room. It was basically like having an apartment inside of a regular dorm, minus the oven and stove .
(Just a quick clarification before I move on: I actually got to live in a suite at a HUGE discount because of building issues that were happening in my previous dorm, which I’ll talk about in a later post; even though I was forced to be displaced from my previous dorm room, I was extremely lucky to have ended up being placed in a suite. This just goes to prove that miracles are real, otherwise I wouldn’t have spent my freshman year living in a room that was anywhere near as nice as this one.)
So…let’s start the tour!
So this is the hallway that I would enter when I would open the door to the common area of the suite. Having a suite means that you also have two keys: one to the common area and one to your room. While this was great, it also meant that when I locked myself out of my private room, I also had to lock myself out of the common area when I went to go get the extra key, since we had our doors so that they automatically lock behind us when we leave. Luckily, this didn’t happen too often.
The little door that you see on the left of the picture is actually a coat closet, which was great for storing jackets, clothes, boxes and luggage. Believe me, if you have the chance to have a coat closet in your room in addition to your regular closet, I highly recommend it. It saves so much space, especially during the winter.
The door further down along the wall was the bathroom.
The above picture shows the interior of the bathroom, which was quite large, especially when you consider that the picture only shows about 3/4 of the floor; the toilet was on the left-hand side, just outside of this picture.
Along the walls, we put up command hooks to hang our towels from, and each of us brought along a set of storage drawers for (of course) storage.
The Living Room
Whenever I walked to the end of the hallway and turned to the left, this is what I would see. The suite came with the couches and tables, which was extremely nice for having friends over. But even with this commodity, we rarely ever used it, even when we did have a TV in there.
Having a kitchenette in the suite was a huge plus, mainly because of the extra sink and the cabinets. It was also big enough to have a small folding table (which we actually did have in the Fall semester), so that we could have a place to sit and eat meals. Having an extra sink was great because it gave us a place to put our dirty dishes in, and cabinets and drawers were even more helpful because they gave us a place to put our food, utensils, and cleaning supplies. Believe me, if you have the option of having a dorm room that has cabinets (whether they are sink cabinets or kitchen cabinets), I highly suggest you opt-in for them because they offer so much more storage and can save you a lot of room in your dorm room.
One of the best parts about living in a suite is that each person has their own private room. Even though there is a hefty cost, a private room in college can be greatly beneficial; private rooms allow students to not worry about sharing a room with a stranger or someone that they don’t get along with, the student can dictate how clean or dirty and messy or organized the room can be, and will allow the student to have a private space to study.
However, private rooms can also have downsides: if you aren’t sharing the suite with someone you know (or if you don’t have any friends that live in your building), then living in a suite feel very isolated and even uncomfortably quiet.
One thing that I didn’t mention earlier was that my suite was actually handicapped accessible, which meant that not only was the suite bigger, but that my room (the handicapped accessible room of the suite) was also bigger.
Although having that much room was great, there is such as thing as too much space (which I know sounds absolutely crazy coming from a college student, since most students complain about their room being too small). When I moved in, I actually had to re-arrange my room so that it appeared to be smaller than what it actually was; otherwise, the amount of empty space felt very uncomfortable.
In my suite, each private room was labeled with a letter to distinguish each person’s, since we each had a key to our our own room and a key to the common area. Some of the girls in my suite hung decorations on the outside of their doors, but I preferred a small rug because it reminded me of the ones my family has at our front door at home.
The above picture is what was on my left-hand side as soon as I would walk into my dorm room. In the bottom left corner, you can see my dresser. I loved having the dresser by the door because it would be easy for me to set my keys there so that I wouldn’t forget them on the way out.
Along the wall, you can also see my posters. Some of them are from a poster pack, and others are from wall calendars. I actually put them in a checkerboard pattern, which I discuss in my dorm room hacks post, because it makes it look a lot nicer and organized. These posters were put up using wall putty, which allowed me to hang stuff up without worrying about damaging the walls. Keeping your dorm room damage-free is extremely important if you are living in a college dorm/apartment because room damages often result in pricey extra charges.
This is another view of the wall. On the left-hand side of my dresser, you can just barely see a step stool. I highly recommend getting one just because it helps if you ever need to get something off a tall shelf or put something up on the wall. For me, it also helped having it by the door because I would use it as a place to put my backpack or jackets whenever I was coming back from class (kind of like those fancy chairs next to doors in some houses). On the right-hand side was my laundry basket, which was hidden from view for most people who came into my room.
Above my bed I had a picture frame made out of washi tape. The one thing that I can say about washi tape is that it is a life-saver for decorating in college because of how cheap and decorative it is; you can find tons of uses for it on Pinterest.
For mine, I simply took some washi tape and made an interesting frame out of it (directly on the wall), and purchased some ribbon and clips to use to hang up the pictures. Having alternating patterns of vertical and horizontal images made it a lot more interesting, too!
The above picture shows what the rest of my room looked like from the far end of it; my attempt of a collage wall without any pre-planning is on the left-hand side (which didn’t turn out looking as good as I wanted it to).
Earlier I mentioned about how I made my room feel smaller due to the way I arranged the furniture, and a major way that I did that was by having the desk facing the rest of the room. I absolutely loved having my room set up this way because having the desk not face the wall made the room not feel as isolated, but rather more welcoming and friendly. Plus, the space around it made it’s own little study corner. I had a mini-fridge for snacks (perfect for when studying), a printer, a window for natural light, and a bulletin/marker board for reminders.
I didn’t really like how my door was just a big empty space along my wall, so I decided to make a photo collage out of it. To do so, I just used the same wall putty that I mentioned earlier and placed a bunch of photos that I had taken onto it (along with a few small ones taken from a calendar). I also had wall stickers, which I placed next to next to my mirror. The mirror reflects the study corner, which reflected the light from the window, and since it was also right next to the wardrobe, it helped me to look at my outfit in the morning.
I also used wall stickers to spell-out a well-known quote from the live action Cinderella movie (which is one of my all-time favorites) on the door frame. Above the door, I placed a clock, which made it easy to check the time, especially when sitting at my desk.
This was my study corner. The only thing that could have made it better would have been a bookshelf for my textbooks; my windowsill was big enough for regular-sized books, but not the huge ones that I needed for class.
The above picture shows what my room looked like from my study corner, which is probably the best picture that shows how big the room actually was, especially when you consider that the bed isn’t even pushed against the far wall (the best way to tell is by looking at the distance from the back wall to the bottom of the bed frame).
And that concludes the tour of my freshman dorm room and suite! Please let me know if you have any comments or questions about how I arranged it, why I chose to have it set up like this, and/or what having a suite and private dorm room is like in general!
P.S. Do you have any questions or comments? Write me a letter back (in the comments) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!