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College of Design

Interior Designer to the Stars Kenneth Brown Offers Tips to Transform Your Dorm

Heading off to college is a thrilling experience. The new friends, the all night frat parties and, of course, the newfound freedom. But when you're packed into the family SUV heading up the interstate to school, one thing you may have overlooked is the inevitable sharing of tight quarters in your freshman dorm. Don't worry, you can work design magic in a 250 square foot room, with a few chic accessories, clever storage options and bold color choices.

Interior designer Kenneth Brown, who recently outfitted the home of celebrities Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens says, “The key to creating a chic dorm room involves making the most out of every surface for maximum chic-ness.” Using every square inch will not only maximize the space's potential, but will make your room the envy of school. This is the first time you have had complete and total control of how your room looks and feels. So take your time being creative to make it everything you want it to be by thinking about what you will use the room for the most.

Here are Brown's top ten tips to designing the most stylish dorm room for studying, sleeping and some serious partying.

1. Dressing your bed

The bed is the biggest piece of furniture in a dorm room so dress it accordingly. The pattern and color of your bedding should reflect your personal style. If you dress in bold patterns and bright colors, look for the same style of bedding.

2. Think outside the box

Staring at four plain walls can give anyone cabin fever. To allow the eye to escape the room, hang a series of mirrors with self-adhesive hooks. A mirror can act like an extra window in your dorm and also help deflect light, adding a dramatic effect.

3. Not just a floor

Your floor will double as a coffee table, extra seating and study area. Make it chic and comfortable with a plush area rug in a bright color. Don't be afraid to layer rugs – throw an animal print rug on top of a large, colorful shag rug – chic design always involves layering on patterns and textures.

4. Flexible furniture

Look for furniture that can serve more than one purpose. Nesting tables are made for dorm rooms – you get three tables that take up the space of one. Try an animal print pattern, which is very of-the-moment.

5. Frame your view

If you have a window, add drapery panels to soften the room and frame the view outside. Simple sheer drapes hung from self-adhesive hooks can go a long way to give your dorm room a polished look.

6. Dual storage

Using storage cubes as an additional seat or nightstand is a perfect way to keep extra storage out of sight. Look for cubes in fun textures and bold colors.

7. Layer your lighting

Bring in three types of lighting – up-lighting, lamp lighting and overhead lighting. Place an up-light in a corner to create shadows from below for a dramatic look; add lamp lighting diffused through a shade for flattering lighting; and use overhead lighting for maximum reading-friendly brightness.

8. Plush pillows

Bring in extra decorative pillows to create impromptu seating. These finishing touches should layer in textures, colors and patterns. Metallic fabrics in particular are quite hot this season.

9. Bring the outdoors in

Even the smallest plant can bring the outdoors in. If you lack a green thumb, the new faux florals look like the real deal with all the benefits of fresh cut flowers.

10. Signature scent

Just like a quick spritz of perfume after you're dressed for a night out, your dorm room should smell fabulous. Look for diffusers that last a long time without the safety concerns of a burning candle.

Check out the entire Kenneth Brown for QVC Collection on QVC.com

  • Celebrity interior designer Kenneth Brown says the trick to outfitting a tight space is using clever storage and bright colors.

    Courtesy of Kenneth Brown
College of Design
Interior Designer to the Stars Kenneth Brown Offers Tips to Transform Your Dorm
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