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Colorful Sophistication for Nailah | Dorm Decor Help (Reader Request)


Nailah is a twenty-year-old sophomore at United Arab Emirates University. While looking up ideas for decorating her new dorm room, she stumbled across The Lovely Side and sent in for help:

"The past year and a half I was in another dorm and had to share it with my roommate, so we had some awesome decorations that matched both of our interests. This semester, however, they have moved us to individual rooms that I am finding much smaller for rearranging the furniture and stuff. Also, since it is only me in the room now, I can't decide which kind of decor to go for.

I love stuff that is both exciting and fun but at the same time elegant and sophisticated. I am Indian living in the UAE so naturally, I love colours. But I've been having trouble deciding what colour scheme to choose and how to place my furniture. Since I wasn't sure of these things, I didn't bring all that much stuff with me. I get to go home everyweekend. ;)"

Well, you've come to the right place for color lovers, Nailah! Let start with your dorm room.

You have a great space: clean white walls, sleek lines, modern (matching!) furniture, and some pretty cool indirect lighting that lends itself for a nice ambiance. Initially, I spotted all the red around the room: your chair, your desk chair, your bedding. It's one of my favorite colors, so I love to decorate with it. Next, I drew inspiration from the floral pillow on your bed. I love the pattern and combination of gray, yellow, and green with pops of red.

I played with the idea of combining the very sleek, modern, elegant lines of your space and furniture with bright colors, bold patterns, and some eclectic accessories. The first thing I'd do would be to hang some sheer, colorful curtains over your window. They'll let in lots of light when open, added a subtle hue when closed, and bring in a good dose of color. I'm partial to red. ;)

Next, I'd dress up the bed. I like the red bedding, I'd just add some sheets for contrast - possibly in the gray similar to your pillow. Then, I'd gussy up the bed with mix-and-matched throw pillows in different patterns, but all either red, green, or yellow in color. I think it would lend an eclectic, bohemian feel.

On the floor, I'd throw down a fun floral rug for another pop of color and pattern. Over at your desk, I'd cover the fronts of the two drawers with paper to look like the contemporary desk I used here. (Just use some double sided tape on the other side of the paper.) Hang a chalkboard that you can not only write on, but also string photographs across.

Use the built-in bookcases and ledges to your advantage. In the cubbies, I'd add some colorful boxes and baskets to store away clutter. Maybe cover your textbooks or books with some pretty paper in red, yellow, or green. Even though the ledge has lighting behind it, more lighting options will add versatility and coziness to a room. Attach a clip-on lamp to the ledge above your bed - perfect for bedtime reading! Clip or tape pieces of art or prints to the ledge - it's like a temporary art gallery that you can change whenever you want. Add another lamp to the desk. Accessorize with unique knick-knacks that match the color scheme. And lastly, add a plant! A little plant will breath a lot of life into a dorm.

Nailah's dorm at United Arab Emirates University
Another angle of Nailah's dorm.

Happy decorating, Nailah! 

Got a dorm or apartment decorating question? Send it to The Lovely Side for your own personalized decor board and advice!


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