A Boston-Based Lifestyle Blog

Dorm room challenge.

A few weeks back I got an email from a reader, Nikki, who needed some help pulling together a look for her law school studio dorm room. It came with the challenges of many dorm rooms — block wood furniture, inability to paint, and of course, limited budget! Here is what I pulled together for Nikki, a black, white, and dusty lilac palette:

(click on image to enlarge)

The pieces in the “dining” nook include fabric from Ikea, a few yards to use as table cloth, some Ikea sheepskin throws to drape over the dorm chairs, and a poster above the table in a thin black frame. I think the MOST important thing you can do to de-dormify a dorm is to get a big rug to put down. Dorm tiles are so cold, and a big rug will really soften the space. I picked a black and white one from Ikea, one of my favorites!

The bedroom area needs a focal point. The challenge: can’t paint, and probably don’t want to lug a heavy bed into the space — so I a headboard wall decal, coupled with the girly touch of a ruffled duvet from Urban Outfitters is perfect. Black and white Ikea pillows give a graphic pop to the girly bed.

Finally, the accessories! Matching black lamps add symmetry on either side of the bed, and give off some much-needed lighting to study with. The ottomans I’ve included add a layer of richness to the room – and can double as nightstands or moveable extra-seating; and the curtains will add another dose of softness and color to the room.

Hope you enjoy your room Nikki!

Have a design dilemma you need help with? Send me an email at

6 responses to “Dorm room challenge.

  1. Belly August 31, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I love the touch of lilac and rust, and this rug from Ikea is always a winner. What I loved most, though, was the term “de-dormify” – priceless!

  2. Christine August 31, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    AMAZING colour palette!!

  3. Angela August 31, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    What a chic dorm room! I have to admit, mine wasn’t nearly that stylish!

  4. Nikki August 31, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks Kate!! You’re the best!!

  5. pitcherandthepearl August 31, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Very Pretty! Love the Curtains.

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