How to Design a Perfectly Preppy Dorm Room

A few years ago, the word “preppy” was totally out when it came to style and design. But now the clean-cut, ultra-smart look is coming back with an updated twist. Whether you’re a boy or girl — and whether you like plaid or polka-dots —  designing a dorm that fits the college prep style is easier than ever. These four ideas can get you started on the essentials for designing a perfectly preppy dorm room.

4 Ways to Design a Perfectly Preppy Dorm Room

1. Banish the Bland Bedding

While it may be easy for guys to just slap on a no-fuss comforter, the single-shade does nothing for the look of your room. Instead, upgrade to Gibson Plaid. You’ll get the easy going style you love and want but with pops of color (light blue, gray, or navy) that makes it look like you put the time and effort into designing something more complex.

Girls, take a cue from the guys. Bright pink or yellow comforters are great, but they only do so much. Liven it up with a fun, light feeling pattern such as a chevron or diamond. Prep is all about geometrics so feel free to accent with polkadots or stripes in coordinating sheets and pillowcases.

2. Pay Attention to the Walls

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when going preppy is going too simple. It’s deceptive, but preppy isn’t minimalist. In fact, it’s all about making design choices that all seem to fit with some coordinating element. That may be color, theme, pattern, etc.

When picking your wall designs, don’t just stick with your standard photo frames or movie poster. Go with items that emphasize your design. For example, if you’re a guy who is looking for a country prep look, hang your guitar (or a painted, stickered-up version) using no-screw hooks along with navy or dark wood framed music posters and record covers. Ladies can go with a sorority prep by hanging glittered sorority letters and pink and white photo frames in an infinity sign design.

3. Make It Comfy

Another huge design point to remember is that prep is supposed to be comfortable. Unlike more stylized versions of preppy, it isn’t supposed to be staunch or high collared. It’s supposed to be relaxed and, when it comes to dorms, that starts with your rugs. Rugs are must-haves in older, drafty dorms. By going with shag solid colors that match or emphasize the bedding, you can easily create a functional part of your dorm.

A second idea is to create a reading area that is the envy of all others. Preppy dorm seating includes navy, hunter green, or yellow bean bag chairs, throw blankets with flannel patterns, or folding lounge chairs. Add fairy hanging lights or create a canopy to make a DIY reading nook.

4. Go Vintage

If you’ve read the other points, you may have noticed a pattern in the decor choices. Almost all of them is based on a classic vintage look from the 1940s through the ‘70s. This means you cannot go wrong with a shop at your favorite antique shop or thrift store!

Items you should be looking out for include gold lamps (ones you can repaint or add a new lampshade to), interesting wall hangings (like funky clothes hooks), and organizational items such as metal pencil cases or leather bookbags. Don’t worry about condition. A fresh paint of vibrant or jewel toned paint can freshen it up and match your bedding or other items.

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