Imagination: Key Ingredient To Teenager/Dorm Rooms

As published in the Summer, 2008 issue of Bratz magazine, published in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

Being creative with space is the main ingredient to establishing living space in dorm rooms or teenager rooms. With maturity, the rooms are not only a place to sleep now but also to entertain friends. A hang-out atmosphere is very important in the social aspect. It’s time for toys and stuffed animals to be replaced with cool and hip interactive and entertaining items.

Storage and stacking are the two elements to keep in mind as you put your plans into motion. Using empty suitcases under beds for storage solves two problems in a dorm room. Everything that is being brought there has to be brought in something. That could mean trying to find a place to put the carriers unless you think ahead. A shopping trip to an organizer store will give you all kinds of great solutions. They have everything from collapsible folding mesh cubes to wire storage racks. You can also bring clothes in under-the-bed roll-out storage bins. Trunks can be used for transport as well as either extra seating at the bottom of a bed or set on its end for a night stand.

Horizontal space is very important to not ignore in the use of space in small rooms. Anything that can be stacked vertically inside of a closet is a clever idea. Storing heavier blankets that you don’t need in the summer and off-season clothes are some of the ways you can take advantage of this. Crates turned on their sides for easy access to these items is a cost effective solution. Hanging shoe racks that can be put over closet rods are a great storage solution also. They also have over-the-door ones. Hanging cloth shelves can be used for purse storage or lighter weight items. Traveling hanging zippered pocket items can be used to store jewelry, make up or hygiene items. Multiple slack hangers can save up valuable rod space. Rolls of cork can be bought and put up on the backside of closet doors with double-sided sticky tape for a bulletin board for pictures or notes.

Crates can also be turned into a make-shift entertainment area. A small TV can sit on the top with the open crates being used for books, DVD’s or video games. If floor space is really at a premium, wall mount units for TV’s are also an economical option.

Two twin beds in a dorm room can be turned into a loft feel by raising them off of the floor. Something can be built ahead of time to accomplish this or you can use desks or dressers. You can also buy bed risers as an alternative. Then there is an open area that can be used for studying underneath. When raising the beds off of the floor, there should also be room to put a chair or lounger for extra seating for guests. Bean bags work well in this scenario as well.

Don’t forget about storage solutions for the desk area too. Letter sorters and other options can be found at large retail or office supply stores. If you are using a desk top computer instead of a laptop, you can save surface area by placing your keyboard in the pull-out drawer of the desk. Wall mounted magazine storage units can be a great source for keeping notebooks in and keep valuable desk space available.

Since these rooms are also used for entertaining friends, a cohesive feeling can be attained by using some kind of theme in the room. Using hobbies and interests, find a common denominator (especially in shared rooms) that can bring about a sense of style to the room. Choosing solid colors instead of a theme can help take the sting out of clashing styles if you can’t come to an agreement on the décor. Use guitars as art by mounting them on the wall as art, using guitar wall hangers. If the interest is photography, make focal points and topics of discussion by matting, framing and hanging personal pieces of their works. Surfboards and snowboards can also be fun and great conversation starters.

Lighting in these areas is also a challenge. Floor lamps and desk lamps can only do so much. A lot of times all that is provided are the over-head ceiling fixtures. Since candles are a no-no, string lights can create some atmosphere placed around the bottom of the raised bed frame. White is the best choice for this.

Most college dorm rooms these days include small microwaves and refrigerators but no storage space for snacks and a few dishes. Stack the microwave and refrigerator on top of one another. Then mount a two-shelf unit above it for these items. You can get ones that have adhesive backing on them and even ones made to be put in a corner to save space.

Visiting the dorm room and communicating with your soon-to-be roommate is an invaluable suggestion in planning the space. That way, you will find out what is furnished and what you will need to bring. Some spaces will have built-in storage. Other spaces might have little or no storage at all.

With some planning and organization, creating a living space for a teenager’s room or dorm room can be a fun experience. Just remember that using your imagination is the key to its success.

  • Storage & stacking
    January 1, 2010 | 12:24 pm

    1415_diamondstackStorage & stacking are the two elements to keep in mind when redoing a teenager’s room or creating a dorm room. Visit organizer stores for great solutions. Use trunks & suitcases as storage and end/coffee tables. Being creative is the key ingredient in establishing these cool, hang-out living spaces.

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