School is back in session! Does the thought of living in a drab, cookie cutter dorm room all year have you feeling disheartened? Paying for college, room and board is enough of a hassle for most families, but some students are adding even more expenses to Mom and Dad’s tab by hiring a professional decorator for their dorm room.
College gift registries—yes, they work just like wedding and baby shower registries—are now available at stores like Bad Bath & Beyond and according to The Wall Street Journal, college students are spending more effort than ever before when planning the details of their new living quarters thanks to social media, design apps and shopping websites.
WSJ also reports that National Retail Federation statistics estimate that freshmen and their families will spend an average of $374 on dorm furnishings and electronics this year. Crazy as it may sound, though, there are nearly no holds barred for some students and their parents when it comes to dorm room decorating. They are turning to professional interior designers rather than Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
“There’s a (typically deep-pocketed) subset of the population that sees this as sort of an extension of their home. They want to create in their room more of a home environment,” Vennie Gore, president of the Association of College and University Housing Officers – International, explained to USA Today. At $90 or more per hour, which doesn’t include the cost of furnishings and decorations, using a pro isn’t cheap.
Auburn University housing director Kim Trupp agrees. “I’ve seen some residence hall rooms that look like they’re straight out of Southern Living,” she told the national newspaper.
One such room belongs to Griffin Knight, an Auburn freshman from Madisonville, Texas. Knight and her mother, stay-at-home mom Dawn, consulted with a team of designers from design firm Moxii rather than taking the do-it-yourself approach. Mom Dawn quoted a “four-figure” price tag without going into specifics, but says it was “worth every penny.”
According to Dawn, sending a child off to college is stressful. Perhaps her daughter’s deluxe new surroundings— which include shelves for storage and to display accessories such as vases, framed family photos and baskets; temporary wallpaper, which is repositionable and easily removable; monogrammed pillows; and padded hangers for the closet—can help ease some of that stress. Working with a design team also helped reduce the number of belongings brought from home.
And if you don’t have the means to spend thousands of dollars on dorm room decorations yet want a little inspiration (you’re not alone, most comments following the USA Today article on this topic were negative) free dorm room design tools like Target’s College uStyler might come in handy.
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
Have something to say? Feel free to add comments or additional information.