August 26, 2013

Doing up a dorm room right


---- — PLATTSBURGH — As SUNY Plattsburgh and Clinton Community College kick off the fall 2013 semester today, many students find themselves settling into their new on-campus living quarters.

And having an aesthetically pleasing and comfortable place to dwell, noted SUNY Plattsburgh’s Director of Housing Cathy Moulton, can actually contribute to students’ academic success.

“If students are happy here, they tend to persist longer,” she said.

But while a college dorm room may never feel quite like home, there are still plenty of ways to bring the space to life.

To keep the design of the room cohesive, said Joshua Kretser, designer and owner of Plattsburgh’s P.O.D. Studio, it’s best to pick one colorful inspiration piece, such as a rug, bedspread or piece of artwork, and design around it.


SUNY Plattsburgh students are allowed to paint dorm rooms in some residence halls with a light shade of latex paint that can be covered with one coat of white paint.

Of course, Moulton noted, they must first get the color approved at the college’s Housing and Residence Life Office.

Kretser recommends using a neutral paint color, such as beige or light tan, to create a warm feel in the room, and then using a vibrant rug, comforter or decorative pillows, to add pops of color to the space.


“Color is key,” SUNY Plattsburgh graduate Trisha Francis told the Press-Republican in an email. “The more fun colors there are, the more the student is going to be comfortable and feel more at home.”

“Use pops of colors in different areas,” Kretser added; however, “don’t go too overboard.”

Having too many bright colors or wild designs, he warned, can be distracting for studying and even sleeping.

Covering small surfaces with decorative duct tape, according to SUNY Plattsburgh junior Amanda Velez, is a quick way to stylize a dorm room without overdoing it.

“Many department stores offer them in a variety of fashions — my favorite being the green one with zebra stripes,” she told the Press-Republican in an email.

“My past roommates and I used it to create wall art, decorate the cork strips that come in our room and seal our boxes before we put them in storage in May.”


When it comes to floor coverings, Kretser noted, using multiple little rugs is not advised in a small space.

“I would suggest doing one larger rug,” he said. “One larger rug will make the room appear larger than multiple smaller rugs.”

And the same goes for wall art.

“I would steer away from doing multiple small things on one wall,” he said, as that too will make the room appear less spacious.

Instead of cluttering walls with small photographs in mismatched frames, Kretser recommends organizing pictures and keepsakes in albums or scrapbooks that can be easily accessed and shown to friends.

When entertaining or hosting a dorm-room study session, he continued, floor pillows make for great seating.

In addition, pushing one side of a twin-sized bed against a wall and adding large pillows can give a mattress more of a sofa feel, Kretser said.

Storage space should also be considered when arranging a dorm room.

“Small rooms need to be neat and tidy,” Francis said.

Bed risers, according to Kretser, create valuable space beneath one’s bed frame, where items like books and out-of-season clothes can be stored in plastic containers.

“I feel like it’s a must for every college student to have bed risers.” he said.


To avoid incurring a damage bill or violating their college’s policies, including fire code, students should review their specific school’s rules and regulations regarding residence halls before decorating or modifying dorm rooms.

“The biggest issue for us with decorating is staying within the fire standards,” Moulton said.

For more information about residence hall policies at SUNY Plattsburgh, contact the Housing and Residence Life Office, located in Algonquin Hall, room 103, at 564-3824.

At Clinton Community College, the Faculty Student Association, which oversees Residence Life at the school, is located in office 112 of the Main Academic Building and can be reached at 562-4372.

Email Ashleigh