Anna, a senior at Smith College, sent me photos of her lovely single room in Parsons House. She has turned her 13.5 by 11 dorm room into a pretty and quiet haven by avoiding clutter, taking on diy projects and scavenging local thrift and antique shops. I'm so jealous of her hardwood floors and big windows.
"I lived in a slightly smaller single before this (next door, actually) so when I moved to this room, I had room for a chair and refrigerator that I didn't have before, making my space much more inviting for studying and relaxing. When I first moved in, I thought my biggest challenge would be the white walls, but with all of my wall decorations, I don't really think about it anymore. My actual biggest challenge is the fact that it's an old house with really noisy radiators!" -Anna
"I love that it is so peaceful and calming, for myself as well as other housemates. Amid the chaos of college life, my room is a safe haven where I can curl up with a good book and a cup of tea when I need a break. It definitely has a DIY-feel about it. I made the pillows and quilt, as well as all of the artwork. I found the file cabinet (now on top of the refrigerator) is the free box at the College Archives one day, and I painted it bright blue. I also try to have many elements of nature like flowers (either real or prints). I'm a Women & Gender Studies major, so much of my decorations reflect my research. I especially love re-appropriated images of 1950s women." -Anna
"The small budget and inability to paint were definitely limitations, but once I learned how to snoop through thrift stores and yard sales and make my own wall art, it doesn't seem like a problem anymore. There are several good antique stores downtown that are quite affordable. The type case (above the chair, now filled with photos) was filthy when I found it in the back corner of an antique store. I had to scrub it quite a bit, so the owner sold it for $10. A few months later, I saw a very similar (clean) type-setter's case in another store downtown for $40, so I was really proud of my thrifting skills. I'm a senior now, so at this point, I'm thinking more about how I'll move out of the room in May and trying so hard not to acquire new stuff." -Anna
I love how she used the bookshelf as a space divider between her bed and study area. I also like the old type-case-turned-photo-display. Flowers also brighten up a space immediately.
"My best advice to other undergrads in college housing it to trying to keep the space light and open as much as possible. By limiting the clutter in my room, it feels so much bigger than it is. I also recommend using the furniture to help divide up the space, like the way I put my bookshelf against the end of the bed to help separate my study area from my sleep area." -Anna
Thank you, Anna, for your photos and advice!
Want to share photos of your space or get some personalized advice for your room? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.