Dorm decor: making the most of your space



Katherine Silkaitis

With Martha Stewart in a bit of hot water these days, students must look to their own sense of style when it comes to decorating dorm rooms. From the tight quarters on South to spacious palaces on West, many Villanovans understand the challenge of creating that “perfect look.”

Freshmen who are decorating a room they have never seen before don’t know what to pack in August. “It’s kind of difficult because you don’t know the lighting and the amount of space,” said freshman Danielle Gallinaro. “But I talked to my roommate before I came and we planned out the ‘must-haves’ and we went from there … I found that lamps were definitely a necessity.”

Freshmen also face an emotional challenge in decorating. According to “When you come to college … it is easy to become quickly depressed with your new unmanageable room, especially since you move out of your own, perfect bedroom at home.”

A cheerful set-up is the best medicine for homesickness. “I brought a rug because I figured it would make the room a bit more homey and it brightens up a little bit,” said freshman Becky Gilpin.

Photographs are also a popular and cheap decorating technique. “I brought pictures from home of my friends and family and put them around my desk and framed a poster with them,” said Saira Kahn.

As many freshmen have already discovered, there is one major hassle to dorm decorating: “The hardest part is getting things to stay up [on the walls]. You have to figure out a way to do it … I was up there for an hour the other day trying to get that message board up,” said Gilpin.

However, sophomore Meghan Baseh said, “fear not.” “In the Villanova [bookstore], they have Velcro hangers. You can put Velcro on one side of the poster and the other piece on the wall.” You can have problems getting it off the wall at the end of the year, she warned.

For students living in the Quad, the decorating process is a little different. A window that looks out onto the Quad carries much responsibility for a creative appearance. Baseh, who displays flowers and a small den lamp with a shade that reminds one of home, said, “It’s just that people can see it from the outside and from the inside, so our room looks nice from both sides and I can always tell which room is mine.”

Just when you’ve mastered the art of interior decorating, the size of a breadbox, you graduate to the apartments of West Campus which require an entirely different skill altogether. Decorating a large common area, a kitchen, two bathrooms and anything from two to four bedrooms can get complicated. “It’s very important that you contact your roommates beforehand because you have to make sure you have all your stuff by the time you arrive,” said junior Tina Rivard. “You can’t run around crazy when you get here and end up having doubles of things.”

Another important factor in the apartments is creating one main theme for the decor.” You have to have color schemes,” said Rivard. “You have to have one main theme and go with it. If you don’t have a theme, everything gets crazy.”

Although some say the living room is the most important room, it is hard for some to break the habit of dorm life.” “Since we’ve been mostly living in ‘bedrooms’ for the past two years, I found I put more of my effort into decorating my bedroom than any other room in the apartment,” said junior Christine O’Brien.

While cute rugs and color schemes may be on the agenda for the females, most males have a different approach. “It’s not like I just bought a house and I have to put bunch of stuff in it. It’s just somewhere to live for a bit,” said freshman John Marcinek.

Gallinaro says girls just have different concerns when it comes to decorating. “I guess we care more about having things match and having things look pretty and that’s not really a priority for them.” Junior Katie Dunne added, “Girls are more tuned in to making it look like a home and guys just want it to look like a party house.”

Some believe males are into decorating…just a different type. “Guys are more into technology…bigger speakers, larger TVs and they have more of the gadgets,” said junior Tim Farrell. “We haven’t gotten around to it yet, but we’re going to get some movie posters and things. We’re just not going for the ‘Martha Stewart’ look,” said Farrell.

Two roommates who also disprove the theory that males do not care about decorating are juniors Peter Lucas and Michael Molino.

They have an artificial fireplace on display that they purchased from e-bay. “We tend to try to be like classy guys,” said Lucas. “We’re thinkers and put up things that symbolize us…We tried to think, ‘What would make this place different?’ We try not to be like everyone else…’Wow this is different,’ that’s what we want people to say,” said Lucas.

Regardless of room size or apartment, male or female, students bring something new to each space every year. Maybe if you’re talented enough, Martha Stewart will hire you as her interior jail cell decorator!