Shopping online for dorm decor is the smart way to shop. You'll have the flexibility of browsing a variety of sources without using even a gallon of gas. And you can click your way through hundreds of selections at midnight or noon. It's your choice.
Whether you want to find the perfect set of sheets, a cozy down comforter, a purple transparent lamp, or accessories for your jungle-themed room, you're sure to find it somewhere online. And whether you find a dream dorm room at PBTeen or on the organized shelves of The Container Store, the many styles and colors available today mean you'll probably be able to find exactly the right items for your taste and budget.
Here are eight steps with tips on how to start your search for great room decor:
1. Ask for information from your school about room sizes, existing storage, and recommended items. This may be on the college website or in their orientation materials. If not, call the administration office to ask if they have a list of requirements or suggested items. For example, will you need linens, kitchen equipment or lamps?
2. Next, determine which items are prohibited. For example, some dorms don't allow candles, halogen lamps, or flammable wallhangings. Find out now so you don't waste time and money.
3. Contact your future roommate. Discuss financial arrangements and room decor, being honest about your budget. Try to be flexible and share ideas and opinions. You may land a roommate who really doesn't care, and maybe won't work with you. But maybe you'll at least be able to decide on a color scheme or room theme to help you plan for decorating purchases.
4. Browse dorm decor websites to get inspiration, see color schemes, and find theme ideas. The Bed Bath & BeyondŽ site is a terrific place to start with dorm checklists, tips, and a convenient "pack and hold" shipping service to send your order directly to your school on the date you specify.
5. Bookmark favorite items on websites or print out photos to compare colors, styles, and prices.
6. Fill in your "need" and "want" lists and prioritize each, so your budget is spent on the basics first. Decide what items you already have (sheets, rugs, lamps, TV) that you can take with you, and what items your roommate will bring.
7. Research choices. Make a detailed packing list with everything you might need, including furniture, desk accesssories, and clothing items. If possible, ask other students what's worked for them. Compare sizes and brands. Browse for various storage options. Don't buy in a rush, only to find out later something else would be better or cheaper. Use your measurement list or floorplan to help determine what will fit.
8. Buy only when you have a clear plan, know what you need, and know what will fit both in your room and in your budget.