Dorm Style

My childhood room is painted a light lavender-periwinkle. My walls are covered in black and white film photographs. My furniture is all white. My rug is light grey. My windows are large and sheathed in gauzy, white curtains. My initials are engraved in the oak of my closet door. My desk still houses old concert tickets and love letters. I grew up in this room, allowed important people in my life to enter this room. I remember kisses on my bed, sleepovers on my floor, journal writing on my window seat.

When I prepared to leave for college two summers ago, one of my biggest concerns was recreating this serene and deeply personal space at Sarah Lawrence. It has taken me a year and a half to realize that constructing such an individual environment is time consuming, and continues to develop as my taste evolves. I am now a sophomore in college, and I finally feel like my dorm room not only embodies who I have been, but also, who I currently am.

I have interviewed some lovely women on campus about their decorating senses here at Sarah Lawrence, and documented their beautiful dorms. I hope that you can appreciate their distinctive takes on decorating, and that you love your room the way that they love theirs.

Amalia Webber:

How would you describe your personal style?

That’s always a hard question because I go through phases of doubting my personal style and wanting to try completely new things. One thing that is consistent though is that I like to mix laid back and comfortable grungy stuff with simple, urban items that have more modern textures.

How would you describe your decorating sense?

My decorating sense is artistic in that I have an eclectic collection of items with contrasting colors, patterns and textures, but they’re offset by clean, open surfaces.

How is your personal style reflected in your room?

My personal style has evolved with my decorating sense. I used to dress much more edgy-bohemian and mixed a lot of patterns with tons of overlapping jewelry. My room at home has all 4 walls covered in collages and posters, and my bed and pillows were all colorful too but didn’t follow a particular scheme. I got sick of that and wanted something cleaner, so I toned down my style and stopped wearing so many necklaces and now my room is less chaotic and cluttered.

What does your dream room look like? Where do you envision living?

I want to live in a space reminiscent or old houses on the Italian riviera. My dream room would have tons of natural light, muted colors and really high quality fabrics and natural textures accented by art and and colorful handmade items I’ve collected traveling.

Emma Hoffman:

How would you describe your personal style?

I find that my style changes as trends change, so it’s quite eclectic. I’d say it’s very feminine but edgy, a little bit boho, urban and often vintage-inspired. I like comfort but also find myself really wanting to make a statement with every outfit I put together…It’s so fun!

How would you describe your decorating sense?

I grew up watching my mom decorate very simply and tastefully so as to create a space that kept with timeless trends, so she wouldn’t have to worry about styles going in and out and redecorating every few years. I found myself always asking her to add more to the walls and paint them fun colors, get more creative and unique and fill up the spaces more. For me, it’s all about color, texture, and lighting. I love spaces that are very full and really show the personality of the individuals that live in them. For instance, in my room I have shelves of old national geographics and other vintage magazines. They tell the story of how I love to collage, but they also really fill the space and make it unique. I love to fill my room with my favorite paintings whether they be a Botticelli, Matisse or Picasso and I love tapestries and any kind of hanging objects. I also love trinkets and treasures that tell my story, where I’ve travelled, who I love. Most of all, I need color. The colors should mix well and play with the natural lighting of the room.

How is your personal style reflected in your room?

My room here, but even more so at home have a lot of my DIY projects inside them, from strings of paper cranes, photo collages, painted furniture, and clever lighting structures. They really show my crafty side.

My room is my sacred space, and my Buddha tapestry is very important to me for that reason. I’m Buddhist so having it right above where I sleep keeps me feeling, in a way, watched over and protected and having it be the first thing I see when I walk into the room is like a constant reminder to live healthy, kind and mindful life.

What does your dream room look like? Where do you envision living?

My dream room would have at least one brick wall, maybe painted white and wooden floors. It would be very cozy. The bed would have an incredible amount of blankets and beautiful pillows and fabrics and lights would be hanging from all different directions. There would be lots of plants and beautiful natural lighting. I think my dream room would have a very Moroccan inspired feel to it.

Katrina Dew Harple:

How would you describe your personal style?

It’s always changing, but has definitely been influenced by growing up in Amsterdam and being really inspired by different historical movements in art and in fashion. So I have basics that I start off with, but they’re balanced out by something like a coat or a necklace that is special in being emblematic of a time period or a place.

How would you describe your decorating sense?

Eclectic in the sense that I have all these objects that function as artifacts, where I have specific memories for where/when/with whom I acquired them. I’m certainly not minimal in the things that I like and how I arrange things, so there’s a variety of referencing, and all the objects have a story.

How is your personal style reflected in your room?

My clothes and jewelry are used as decoration, so very literally. There are a lot of parallels.

What does your dream room look like? Where do you envision living?

My dream room is somewhere small in the middle of an old city.

MaryKatherine Michiels-Kibler and Abigail Elizabeth:

How would you describe your decorating senses?

Practical. We both really like the personality and coziness of our room, and we both love artwork, so we put it everywhere there is blank space. The room came with an oil painting of Venice, and we love it! We also like to have objects and photos that remind us of home.

How are your personal styles reflected in your room?

We printed out a giant map of New York City, to cover the wall space, it is practical and decorative. The couch is also practical, because it pulls out into a bed for guests. We also like to decorate with our books for class. (Abbey is using The Roosevelts on the coffee table for her conference project on Eleanor.)

What do your dream room look like? Where do you envision living?

Abbey: My dream room has hardwood floors, large windows, and a fireplace.

MK: My dream room could be a lot of different things but I wouldn’t mind if it was in the top floor a brownstone in Manhattan with big windows and the same antique modern feel with a mix of strait edgy lines and soft curves.

Hannah Gottlieb-Graham is a sophomore at SLC studying dance, art history and women's studies. In her spare time she enjoys writing articles for Surface Magazine and College Fashion, cooking vegetarian cuisine, shooting film and making her own perfume. Her weaknesses are Wes Anderson, architecture magazines and good champagne.

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