Avoiding the Generic: How to make your room stand out

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We have all seen college movies. Where posters of beer pong, classic movies, or famous and trendy art covers the limited wall space, the ground is covered by piles of clothing, the bed spread is a plain color, and the sounds system is simply computer speakers. Now after my first three years of college I have seen every shape and variety of dorm room. To be honest, it is rather hard not to slowly slide into the generic and basic décor. The items that create such a setting are simple, cheap, and mass produced to meet demand which is why it is so hard to stand out some times.

But standing out is a must. Your room can be an expression of yourself if you let it. First off, when choosing wall coverings, stay away from those generic posters. Everybody has seen these and no one is ever impressed by them. Maybe you will get a chuckle for the mere commonplace nature of the thing.

On the other hand, something you put effort into finding can evoke conversation and that is exactly what posters are good for. No more awkward silence for you. I personally found some 1984 Los Angeles Olympic posters, a Dali painting, a rare Bob Marley saying (that I actually connect with) and a less than common Muhammad Ali portrait.

Next, your bed spread is a central component in making your room look comfy and attractive. Floor space is limited in a dorm and you and your roommate’s beds take up a quarter of it. So make that quarter look good. I have recently found that most bed spreads or “beds-in-a-bag” miss the point. Sure, you may only be using these sheets for one year, before you upgrade to a full or queen size bed, but don’t be afraid to put a little of your hectic pre-college summer schedule into decorating. I would recommend bold colors. Personally my favorite was a friend’s that had red sheets with a triple bold stripe pattern, a puffy white down comforter (this might have to be changed depending on the climate of your school), white pillows and an extra gold blanket.

Yes I know this may look a little regal for a college student. But even if you eat cafeteria food and play video games the rest of the day, why not treat yourself like a king or queen at some point?

Lastly one of my favorite additions to a college dorm room is the sound system. This is something you can keep throughout your college tenure, so it is a good investment. Before you go blasting music all day, make sure you know your immediate and local neighbors and find out if your RA (resident advisor) is cool or will he write you up. I recommend the Home Theater in a Box variety. Sony makes great ones and they are fairly cheap for the sound quality. These come with a DVD player so no need to go buy one. They also hook right up to your TV, your ipod, your computer or any other device you can think of.

In the end, be sure your dorm is a place that you can enjoy. It can serve as a method of self expression, but the most important thing is that it is a place where you and your friends will want to hang out.

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