Making the Grade:

College Living Goes Back to School in Style

Someone once told me that the purpose of going to college was to become a better person, a fully-developed adult, if you will. While I don’t agree with that exact sentiment, I do believe that the “college years” (typically ages 18-24), are formative ones for “finding yourself,” as we used to call it—regardless of whether or not a large chunk of those years is spent sitting in a classroom.

As young men and women leave their parents nest and make their way in the world, their surroundings become even more important. Just as their parents years ago created colorful nurseries for their babies to stimulate intellectual growth and interaction with the world around them, infusing personality and energy into a college living space can act as a source of inspiration.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to achieve a spectacular space to call home-away-from-home, beautifully and affordably. Dorm décor has become an industry unto itself, and today’s college residence has graduated well beyond the mishmash of yesteryear. Gone are the days of milk crate shelves and mismatched hand-me-down furnishings!

With a growing number of apartment complexes catering specifically to college students, options such as the approval to paint walls and have pets on the premises—previously no-no’s with most landlords—have become available. This type of freedom offers nearly endless possibilities for personalized touches.

Even without this advantage, though, the options for customizing colorful college interiors are vast: bedding, window treatments, artwork, accessories, rugs, and furnishings—which can easily be slip-covered if they do happen to be hand-me-downs!—all offer ways to infuse color, texture and interest into the space without risking your security deposit.

As you would expect at this age and stage in life, lively, light-hearted design tends to take center stage. Bold geometric patterns, monograms and organic materials such as burlap, canvas and seagrass are all on-trend at the moment. And I’ve found that when pets are permitted, they often become the stars of the living space, pampered and revered for the joy (and stress-relief!) they provide.

Studies show that today’s co-ed encounters more stress than ever before: grades, work responsibilities, and ensuring one’s viability on the increasingly competitive job market upon graduation are all constant stressors most students face. Having a happy place to land at the end of each busy day, and possibly curl up with the most comforting comfort away from home—be it a furry pooch, fluffy kitty or even a fuzzy little pot-bellied piggy—is the ultimate support system.

It doesn’t take a college education to know that our environment influences our mood, productivity and more. Sending your student back to school in style is an investment in more than just aesthetics. By providing an inviting space where students can relax and recharge between bustling class, work and social schedules, it can also be a contribution to overall health, happiness and well-being.

And while today’s college students often reside in chic spaces that may rival the style of even their parents’ homes, don’t worry mom and dad: they’ll still want to come home to visit. After all, no amount of style can replace mom’s cooking—or free laundry service!


Posted on July 27, 2015 .