Dorm Decor Bed Bath and Beyond


Conjure up your college dorm room and you’ll probably recall lumpy bunk beds, plywood desks and a bathroom down the hall.

Things have changed. Colleges appealing to today’s sophisticated students – and their parents – are ditching plastic mattresses and cinderblock walls in favor of on- and off-campus suites with private baths and amenities such as infinity pools, high-end gyms and VIP-only floors.

Whether their destinations this fall are luxury apartments or standard dorm rooms, there’s no reason your college-bound offspring need to leave behind the comforts of home.

The Pinterest generation is taking advantage of innovative products that make achieving deluxe interiors easier, like removable, stick-and-peel wallpaper, murals and monograms for walls and ceilings and chalkboard paint that creates giant note-taking space and repaints easily upon move-out, said Ashley Redmond, head of design at Decorist, an online interior decorating company.

They’re also not leaving the dorm look to chance.

"You definitely want to mesh your style with your roommate or even collaborate to ensure that you aren't buying doubles of things you don't need. Create a shared Pinterest board and add inspiration images for the feel of the room as well as a product list of things you want to buy," Redmond suggested. 

Retailers are accommodating the desire for coordinated dorm and apartment decor by offering sophisticated bedding, furniture and accessories that will fit into small and shared spaces. For parents, there are services to streamline shopping, shipping and the (all-important) social-media-sharing process.

Here’s a sample of what’s available:

  • Online purchasing: Deloitte’s back-to-school survey found that 40 percent of parents prefer online purchasing with in-store pickup. Many websites and mobile apps make it easy to ship items you purchase to a store near campus. Some retailers even offer “shop now, ship later” options that allow you to coordinate delivery with move-in day.
  • Checklists: What to bring and, more importantly, what not to bring? Retailers such as Target, PBTeen (a younger relative of Pottery Barn) and IKEA offer lists of must-haves, banned items (think candles and toasters) and countdowns to organize your move, as well as dorm layouts and design hacks such as no-nails-required wall decor. Don’t forget to include furniture assembly service.
  • Design help: Interior decorators at Decorist start with a “before” photo of the room and your student’s favorite Instagram shots, then deliver designs, shopping lists and a complimentary purchasing service.  
  • Registries: Not just for weddings and baby showers, wish lists at retailers such as Bed Bath & Beyond help family and friends pick out just the right items to send your student off in style.

Looking to truly make a design statement? Online retailers like Dormify put a sophisticated, ultra-coordinated spin on dorm decor with a full range of sheets, shams, duvets and curtains that coordinate with that distinctively college bed style, the extra-long twin. The company operates a Fifth Avenue showroom in Manhattan where you can get personal advice and a demo of your preferred looks.

If you want efficiency above all else, Dormco sells essentials kits with everything from sheets to desk accessories and mattress pads. The ultimate is an 81-piece set with a full complement of linens, a trunk and even an eye mask. A UPS kit sends empty boxes that you pack, label and send to campus or have UPS pick up from your location.

And next spring, you’ll be happy to know, it works in the other direction – so your kids can ship their stuff home.

The foregoing information is provided as a courtesy to our clients and friends of City National Bank (CNB) for their consideration. Unless otherwise stated, opinions expressed are those of the respective authors and not necessarily those of CNB. The information is provided without warranty and no recommendation or endorsement by CNB is intended or should be inferred unless specifically stated. The information and names provided in this article not otherwise attributed are also for general information from public sources and without recommendation by City National Bank.