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Transform bare dorm rooms into personality-infused pads

When it comes to dorms, every college freshman should know one simple fact — the decorations and accessories you choose to display in your home-away-from-home say a lot about your personality. Roommates, floor-mates, passersby — all will take a look at what you’ve done to spruce up the standard-issue furniture and cinderblock walls.

Reinvent your high school self or simply make a bold statement about who you are by basing your dorm room décor on one of these four personality-based design ideas.

1Urban Activist

Hipster, granola girl, politics fanatic — whatever they call you, you’re out to change the world, not the world’s opinion of you. However, your living quarters can still make a statement without compromising your values. Declare your activist intentions to your classmates with dorm décor that’s more hip than hippie.

Do your small part to save the planet by decorating your dorm with items you’ve reclaimed and repurposed. Pick up industrial light fixtures and shelving units at going-out-of-business sales. Find retro campaign posters or vintage mom-and-pop shop signs at the local junk yard or thrift store to decorate drab walls. Finish off with a hint of a global look by purchasing bedding and small decorative accessories at an international imports store.

Urban Activist

2Posh Princess

High school for you was pompoms and prom-queen perkiness, all tied up with a big red bow — or maybe you just wish it had been. The glamour-girl look all covered in bling may be the perfect design for you. But don’t go all Elle Woods on your dorm with pink paint and fluffy ruffles — instead leave your Hello Kitty pillows at home and opt for a design that’s less girly and more womanly.

Let the golden age of Hollywood be your guide as you base your dorm design on the fashion and furniture of the 1940s. Let go of the childish pinks to opt for a more mature palette that includes shimmering taupe and luscious lavender. Add luxury to the look with plush velvet pillows and cut-glass accessories. Frame vintage black-and-white fashion photos in platinum picture frames. If you’re short on cash, simply pick up some frames from a flea market and bling them out yourself with some inexpensive costume jewelry.

Posh Princess

3Swanky Entertainer

With the best collection of music, movies, video games – you name it – your dorm room is where the party’s at. As entertainment central, it can be tempting to go old-school ’70s with lava lamps and beanbag chairs as the core of your décor. But before you go duct=taping vinyl albums and vintage movie posters to the wall, consider a chic design that’s more Mad Men than Animal House.

Modern lines, bright colors and functionality were the main features of 1960s design — and you’ll need all three elements working for you to handle a crowd of college kids in a tiny room. Let your bed double as a sofa during the day by covering it with a boxy duvet in a durable fabric and placing oversize pillows along the back. Sew loops on the cushions so they can be hung up on the wall when it’s time for bed. Refreshments are required to keep the party going, so incorporate a fully stocked mini-fridge and a stylish storage bin of snacks into your design.

Swanky Entertainer

4Chic Geek

Okay, admit it. You love learning. Research, tests, study sessions – you can’t get enough. But that doesn’t mean you need to neglect your dorm room design just to prove you’re a serious student. Make some smart picks of fashionable, yet fully functional accessories for intellectually stimulating décor.

Chances are the institution-issued chairs aren’t ergonomically designed for long hours of studying, so a comfy desk chair is a definite must. Create yourself a cozy reading corner with a small armchair, a flexible-neck floor lamp and plush rug in your favorite color. For the final touch, bookshelves — but forget lining the walls with them. Instead use the towering units to create walls around your bed or reading corner.

Chic Geek

More dorm room dÉcor ideas

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