After walking through my daughter's campus apartment for the first time, we sat down and cried. It was such a pit! Then we donned our rubber gloves and dug in. Before too long, and with a potpourri of Americana décor, the girls' tiny apartment went from drab to fab.
Redeeming our living space by adding beauty and order is natural for coeds, even in the teeniest dorm room. But for guys, spiffing up campus housing doesn't rank high on the priority list. With dollars already stretched for tuition, how can a college student budget money, time, or brainpower for dorm room décor?
Solutions are as close as the local Goodwill store or craigslist. Using social media, roommates can share design ideas in a nano second. Before they even meet face to face, they can upload and share photos of the things they're bringing from home.
My friend Stephanie and her roommate chose a color theme for their Northern Arizona University dorm room and shopped discount stores for their matching stuff. Mallory, another friend, painted handmade cardboard initials to match the bed spreads that she and her roommates brought to campus. They even coordinated who would bring the mirrors and Christmas lights! University of Arizona freshman, Andrew, ditched the matched comforters and focused on coordinating the non-negotiable electronic gadgets. His room will have surround sound HDTV and lots of visitors.
But, what if your heavy metal taste rocks your roommate's pink fluff? Think outside the box-transform your living space with pink, black, and silver retro rock and roll. Grab a life size cardboard cutout of Elvis at the second hand store and your room will instantly have retro style. Dorm room makeovers may strain your brain but they don't have to drain your budget.
No matter how brave you might be, leaving the comforts of home to live on campus with a bunch of people you don't know can rock your world. Add the challenge of deciding what your living space should look like and resentment might get a foothold. Instead of smoldering disagreement, seize the opportunity to die to self. In the realm of dormitory life, loving your neighbor might mean going with the animal prints even though you're the polka dot queen. College is about more than academics--learning to live peacefully in community is tougher than any midterm.