Home Away from Home

By Brooke Hill

Designing a dorm with space, storage and style in mind

Pictured: Photos by Grace-Marie Brunken

Creating the perfect personalization in a dorm room can be a challenge, but these three Baylor freshmen share their tips on how to maximize space and create a home away from home.

Dana McVicker
Brooks Flats
Double Room, Apartment

Keep It Functional

Theme: Pink, white and gray.
Inspiration: Pinterest the most. I also love Joanna Gaines’ designs.
Ambiance: Homey and airy.
Coordinating: I met my roommate through a Facebook group message, so we ended up just coordinating on colors. I was like ‘Hey I’m doing pink, white and gray,’ and she was like ‘OK, sounds good.’ That’s really all the coordinating we did. We just kind of let it happen.
Favorite part: The center. I really like how we have the coordinating lamps, and the beds turned out really good.
Most personalized element: Probably my desk. It has all of my favorite Polaroids. I have a bit of a nook near my bed and it has Polaroids on that, but I would just say wherever I have my pictures.
Most useful piece of furniture: My desk chair — I use it to get into bed now.
Additional storage: We lofted our beds to add more storage because I am someone who has a lot of clothes. They provide one dresser for you, and that was clearly not enough for me; so we had beds lofted, and we bought two additional plastic dressers to put underneath the beds for storage.

Why did you choose an apartment-style dorm?
It had a lot more space, and I had my own bathroom. I also think a big part of it is that traditional dorm rooms are made of concrete or have the tile ceilings, but a big thing about Brooks that I liked is that it was all white walls and white ceilings, and it just looked super clean and nice.

If you could have done one thing differently, what would it have been?
I would’ve gotten a better step stool. [My roommate and I each bought] a little poof, and they’re completely deflated now. They’re what we used to get into our beds because they’re lofted and it’s like completely flat now, so I would buy a step stool that’s actually functional and not necessarily just cute.

Do you have any tips for students and parents planning the design of their room?
Just pick your top three colors and keep it super simple from there. Dorm rooms are a very tiny space and it’s easy to get cluttered, so I think the simpler and cleaner you keep the design, the better it’ll look.

Is there anything specific in your room that makes you feel like home?
I used a lot of decorations from my room back home, not only to save money, but because when I walk in, it feels so homey. I think also having texture in your dorm — we had fur pillows and blankets. I think that made it feel super homey.


Hannah Davis
South Russell Hall
Single Room, Community Dorm

Have Home in Mind

Theme: I always was interested in the Anthropologie, bohemian kind of scheme, but obviously it was super expensive. So, I went on Pinterest to get ideas of colors — like the oranges and the blues to make it feel more homey, and then from there just picked up random things.
Ambiance: Warm and homey.
Inspiration: Pinterest and my room from home. Me and my friends like to upcycle a lot of things, like from the thrift store and then make it look cute; so I got my inspiration from high school crafting and that kind of thing.
Favorite part: In the corner I have the green chair, it’s a bit of a little nook with my coffee stuff over there and my books, so it’s just a cozy reading corner.
Additional Storage: I brought little cabinet type things from Target. And then under my bed I added little boxes from HomeGoods, just for shoes and stuff like that because the room gets easily cluttered.
Most useful piece of furniture: Bringing an extra chair was really helpful because I have a single room, so my room is kind of the hangout room for the hall. It’s good to have different places for people to sit and just make everybody feel at home.

What do you think is the most personalized element of your room?
My posters. They’re from all different types of stores so each one has a different story. My favorite one is the Saturn poster. Me and my best friend from home’s favorite song is “Saturn” by this band called Sleeping at Last. It’s a beautiful song. When I saw the poster, I thought it was a really home kind of feel.

If you could have done one thing differently, what would it have been?
I would think about more storage under my bed. In a small room it can get easily cluttered, so more drawers and stuff to put under the bed to store stuff.

Do you have any tips for students and parents planning the design of their room?
I think it’s a good idea to do it based off of what your room looks like at home or your dream room because it is a foreign feeling of being somewhere new. And it’s nice to go back to the comfort of a place where it’s like ‘OK, this is my little area of the school.’

Is there anything specific in your room that makes you feel like home?
On my door leaving my room, I have a bunch of pictures from home, so it’s a piece of home. But also there’s new pictures incorporating Baylor friends and home friends. So it’s a nice combination.


Caytie Jenkins
Collins Hall
Double Room, Community Dorm

Think Light and Bright

Theme: Gray and pink, with a splash of turquoise.
Ambiance: Cozy and comforting.
Favorite part: The lights we strung up, crisscrossing across the room. They give off a soft glow and make our room feel cozy and more like home.
Most useful piece of furniture: We ended up each buying a chair for our desks. Mine was a cushioned swivel one that came in handy for long study nights at my desk.
Tips: First decide on the colors you want to go with, and then go from there. Whether it’s the color of your bedding, a specific picture you want to hang or any other piece of inspiration, I would pick one of those things and then expand on that. For my roommate and me, once we decided on getting solid white bedding, we just built on that, adding in pillows, throw blankets and then accessories and art.
Most personalized element: The contact paper on our fridge, desks and dresser. After we put it on, we felt like our entire room had changed. We basically transformed those old wooden desks and our black refrigerator to look like whitewashed wood. It brightened up the entire room.
Miss the most: I’m going to miss the coziness of it all. Even though it is such a small room, I am always able to come back and feel relaxed.

Why did you choose a community-style dorm? How did that affect the way you decorated?
We chose to live in a community-style dorm because we wanted to meet as many girls as we could, and we had heard that Collins was the place to do that. We weren’t super excited about having a community bath, but there is so much tradition at Ruth Collins, it’s just part of the charm. Because the room was so small and we each had a special piece of furniture that we wanted to bring, my mom cut out our floor plan to scale and then cut out all the pieces of furniture to scale so that we could play around with different ways to arrange the furniture in the room. It was a real challenge, but we made it all work!

Did you bring any additional storage?
We added shoe racks in our closet and put bins under our bed. We also bought a storage shelf which we put baskets inside to hold food and toiletries. We bought the skinny hangers rather than the plastic ones, as they took up less space. We also each added in a hook rack over our door to hang wet towels and jackets on. We bought drawer dividers to help organize and hooks for the outside of our closet doors to hang caps on. We each bought a jewelry organizer too. Mine mounted to the wall and my roommates was a ‘tree’ that sat on top of the dresser. My roommate had her mirrored shelving unit as well that gave us additional storage.