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Outfit small spaces with creative ideas from Ikea. (Image: Courtesy of Ikea)

Back to School: The College Dorm Edition

As your high school graduate prepares to make the move from home to the dorm this fall, keep in mind that in a cramped dorm room, every inch of space is crucial and help them make a plan to save as much square footage as possible.

Try these space-saving ideas to maximize space without losing style and comfort--all it takes is a little flexing of your creative muscle.

The Bed and Lounge Area

With all of the late nights of studying (and let's face it, socializing) coming up, your college student will need a place to rest their head and get a good night's sleep--like their bed. However, when friends stop by or they have some down time, they'll also want a place to hang out and relax.

-Try making a backrest with fabric folded around cushions and attach it to the wall with hooks. Colorful fabric is a fun and easy way to add color and personality to the room. This textile solution is completely unique and is as simple as picking your favorite fabrics that are sold by the yard. No sewing required and the size of the backrest can be customized by the size of cushion you choose.

Storage Space

Unlike their room at home, college students are going to need to store more than just clothes and shoes in their dorm room.

-Keep things organized by purchasing magazine files and attaching them directly to the wall for storing books, papers, magazines, and class notebooks. This will free up space on the desk and counters for other needs like a computer, printer or lamp, and keep things tidy.

-Create a place for storing things like extra bedding, cleaning products and toiletries that is hidden away from view behind two curtains. The curtains should run the entire width of the room so the shelving units behind them are completely covered and they should function just like regular curtains should. Depending on the fabric you choose, this is another easy way to add color and pattern to the room design.

-Hiding things in plain sight is the easiest solution of all when you have limited space. Storage boxes and baskets aren't only containers for tossing junk into, they can also complement the surrounding furnishings because they come in a wide range of styles, colors and materials. There is nothing easier than taking a simple functional item and making it something personal that you don't mind being out in plain sight.


Now comes the fun part--adding a little more personality to the bare walls of the dorm room.

-College students can keep track of work, assignments, schedules and what everyone is doing and when with a magnet board fixed to the wall for postcards, letters, a communal calendar and more. A corkboard is another great option and both options can be hung vertically or horizontally for flexibility. Create a customized wall of message boards combining the two if you're feeling inspired.

-If you aren't allowed to put holes in the walls with pushpins, nails or screws, use colorful bright tape to decorate and attach posters and photos to the wall with, instead. It peels off cleanly and is more expressive and fun than clear Scotch tape.

With a little creativity and the right products, it's easy to create stylish and space-saving solutions in no time.

For more space-saving solutions and design ideas, visit