College dorms invite lessons on room color, storage

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

A refresher course in d残or, room arrangement and efficient storage could be a life lesson earned for this fall's college-bound students.

Surely, there's no hard and fast rule that rooms must be a jumble of colors, odds and ends and stuff strewn hither and yon.

"The idea that a college room can be coordinated and neat may be a pipedream for some, but when kids get out of school they'll need to deal with d残or and style and storage," says Karena Baily, vice president of merchandising for home organization at Lowe's.

To the extent that schools alooms with a central kitchen and living area surrounded by sleeping quarters.

College officials may frown on total room makeovers that include drilling holes into walls or repainting, but that's not to say there can't be coordination across accessories, bedding and carpets or area rugs.

Start to plan before students arrive on campus. A quick call to the school may uncover the size and sleeping arrangements of the assigned room. These dimensions provide a clue as to what you have to work with. While you're on the phone, ask about personalization of the room.

Fashionable dorm rooms this fall will be decked out in "poppy" colors such as organic garden, pale butter and sunrose. Old school colors such as navy remain perennially popular.

Storage challenges stay with students long after college days are done. Now's the time to learn storage basics.

According to Bailey, the most underutilized space in dorm rooms is beneath beds and bunks and on vertical wall space and corners.

Stackable, modular cube systems with drawers or doors nicely fill available spaces. This do-all storage is found in fabric, wire, plastic or paintable laminates. Gain bonus space with risers to elevate beds slightly off the floor. Slim plastic containers will slide easily and neatly underneath.

The plus to plastic and wire versions is it can be packed before the jaunt to school, is easily lifted and withstands rough-and-tumble dorm life.

Of course, the less to store, the better. Students should call or text message roomies to coordinate who brings what. Students don't need to double up on refrigerators, ironing boards and TVs, etc. It's less for mom and dad to pack, too.

No room is complete without basic supplies. OXO makes a college-ready tool kit with pliers, claw hammer and tape measure, among other tools. Toss in an extra extension cord, multi-outlet box or USB cables as well as extra light bulbs and two-sided tape for posters and artwork. For those so inclined, cleaning supplies to snag dust bunnies and debris trapped below beds or in corners always come in handy.

Lighting is always welcome. Bailey cautions that many colleges frown on halogen lights, so purchase floor or attachable desk lamps with standard bulbs. Better yet, try new compact fluorescent bulbs. Students won't change the bulbs as often.

"College is the right time for students to get a taste of what they'll face, storage and d残or-wise, once they're on their own," says Bailey.

"It's worth learning that they can coordinate d残or and function in many different living circumstances."

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