Blogger to move out and move on

My first year of college is officially over with final grades sent out today, and with that I think it’s time to say goodbye to this blog and its lovely readers.

I hope everyone was able to take away great ideas and advice for living in a dorm.

I checked out of my dorm about a week ago and have been hauling my stuff around all over Florida since then. The final stop was Coral Springs where I’ll probably be for most of the summer.

If you’d like to keep up with me throughout the summer you can follow me on Twitter. My handle is @taplyn.

Pictured is my dorm room after I finished cleaning it out and was feeling a little sentimental. I can’t say I’m not happy to be living off campus next year though.


Dorm room decor revamped for Fall 2015 semester

Most acceptance letters have been sent, and dorm-shopping season is just about to kick off.

You know what I’m talking about. From one day to the next department stores put out all their dorm necessities and storage containers trying to attract soon-to-be college freshman.

Most years it seems like there is a lot of the same stuff though.

I’ve scoured the Internet and found three unique items you might want to sport in the fall.

1. Scrabble Pillow Covers

Etsy is a great website to find unique, handmade decor that is perfect for your dorm. These pillow covers are really creative, and you could even spell your name out with them.

2. Terry Fan For DENY Reincarnate Duvet Cover

This duvet cover from Urban Outfitters, although cute, can be a little pricey for some people.

3. Hamburger Beanbag Chair

A hamburger beanbag chair might just be the weirdest thing included on this list, but having one might make your room the most popular in the hall.

A new semester is a great time to amp up your decor or start all over from your room in your parents’ house. Just don’t fall into the trap of dorm-shopping season. Take your time finding stuff you really like and can afford, whether that be from a local department store or online.

Roommates share dorm room, not same taste

I sat down with Kathleen Johnston, a first-year exploratory major at the University of Florida, to hear her perspective on roommates matching dorm decor with each other. Some roommates coordinate everything from bedding to what desk lamp they’ll buy, but Johnston says she doesn’t think it’s important to have matching decorations.

For more of Johnston’s take on matching with roommates, here are excerpts from our conversation.

Did you ever talk to your roommate to decide on a color scheme or what decorations you were going to have? 

We didn’t know each other before we were roommates, so I contacted her to get to know her a little better. But we decided to not coordinate because we had most of the things we were going to need for our rooms and had decided what we wanted our side to look like already.

Once you moved in did your roommate have any influence on how you decorated?

Actually yeah, she used scrapbook paper to hang up her pictures, and I was going to do something similar. Then one of my friends told me about Washi tape, and I decided to do that instead.

There are a lot of pictures of dorms where roommates have matched their entire room. Do you ever wish you had coordinated with yours?

Not really. We’re two different people, and I don’t think we ever would have been able to agree on one theme.

For students who will be sharing a dorm room next semester do you think trying to coordinate with a roommate is a good idea?

They should definitely ask their roommate about their plans, but it’s not necessary to design everything around them. Your room is supposed to be reflective of you and what you like.


The left half of the dorm room pictured belongs to Johnston, and the right side is her roommate’s.

This is a perfect example of why you don’t have to coordinate with your future roommate. Both Johnston and her roommate have separate designs, but their room is cute anyway. You may share a room, but you probably won’t have the same taste.

Students try different options to hang pictures in dorm rooms

For most people, going to college means leaving their hometowns. The best way to have friends and family tag along is through pictures.

I’ve had a small collage of my best memories hung up on my wall since move-in day.

I put no thought into how I would put them up, and, now, after seeing that there are so many creative ways to do it, I regret being so hasty.

Here is one of my favorite ideas that I’ve seen.

Printstagram Project No.1

I, like most people nowadays, have my pictures either saved to my laptop, or posted on social media sites. I printed out my pictures at a local CVS, but, as this blogger shared, there’s a company that allows you to print pictures directly from Instagram. An at-home printer can work just as well too.

No matter how you acquire your photos, the next thing you want to consider is how you’ll put them up.

If they are Polaroids, you might want to skip this, but if not Washi tape could be a cute way to create makeshift picture frames. The decorative tape actually serves as a means to hang your pictures on the wall too. There’s an example in the link below.

Washi Tape Wall Art

This next blogger shares the classic, yet popular, clothespin line that many of my friends have used to hang their pictures up.

DIY Clothespin Photo Wall

There are also different arrangements you could try.

DIY Photo Heart

Once you decided exactly how you want our pictures to look, all that’s left is actually executing your vision. Most of the things I’ve mentioned are cheap and easy to do yourself.

Here is one last look that I could never pull off. Good luck trying your favorite.

Our Instax Wall

UF students make the most of living in a triple dorm room

So, your dorm assignment comes around and it says the dreaded words: triple. What’s next? My interview with roommates Natalia Fonseca and Cesia Salan, who live in a triple at the University of Florida, reveals the truth.

“I didn’t choose to live in triple. It was random,” said Cesia Salan, first-year Microbiology major.

Most students who end up living in a triple, like Salan, didn’t necessarily put it as their first choice when submitting their room preferences. Dealing with an extra roommate or having less space and privacy are some drawbacks most people don’t want to deal with, but having two roommates isn’t all bad.

“If you hate one, you can talk to the other,” joked Natalia Fonseca, first-year Psychology major.

Let’s say you happen to like both of your roommates, or at least you tolerate them, it can still be particularly challenging to make the space your own when three people are sharing a room.

Fonseca said that she uses vinyl wall decals and pictures to personalize her space in the room.

BEST wall decal

With decorative tape and personal memorabilia on her fridge, Salan has managed to do the same.


Both girls proudly paraded around the room showing off their personal touches. These included Fonseca’s Mason jar flower vases given to her by a friend and Salan’s jewlery organizer near her closet.

flower pots


Living in a triple is probably not ideal for most people, but it is also not the end of the world. If nothing else, it is an experience that you can take with you on move-out day.

For students who will be living in a triple in the future, it’s all about respect for your roommates and personalizing, even in small ways.

“Don’t be afraid to claim your own space,” Fonseca said.

Thank you to Cesia Salan and Natalia Fonseca for letting me invade your space today.

ces & nat

New dorm essentials added to college-packing checklist

With my freshman year of college swiftly coming to a close, I thought that I would share a few of the things I learned while living in a dorm. I’ve created a list of dorm room essentials with a little twist.

Below are some examples of the typical college-packing checklist.

University of Florida Move-In Checklist

Seventeen Magazine ‘Your Ultimate College Packing List’

Both of those links have some great and useful items on their lists, but they leave out things that I found to be super important. Here are a few items, in no particular order, that I didn’t think to bring with me and, now, couldn’t live without.

1. Lint Roller

When you wear as much black clothes as I do, lint can be a problem. I spent the first few weeks of college without one and used office tape to do the job. Save yourself the trouble.

2. Reusable Bags

These are particularly helpful if you don’t have a meal plan and are going to do a bit of grocery shopping. Plastic bags break easily, and it’s a struggle to carry several of them back to your dorm when you’re stocking up on groceries. Plus, you can be environmentally friendly by purchasing reusable bags.

3. Full-Length Mirror (that hangs)

I actually did bring a full-length mirror to college with me, but I had to lean it up against the wall because it didn’t hang. The mirror got in the way a lot, and the reflection was distorted because of its position. My roommate, thankfully, ended up getting another one that we hang on the back of our door. Problem solved.

4. Air Fresheners

Dorm rooms are often old, and a few generations of people have most likely lived in yours. With a questionable past and varying degrees of cleanliness, dorm rooms don’t always smell the best. Air fresheners are the best way to ensure your room is always smelling fresh.

Hopefully, these things will better prepare you for your dorm experience because the first few weeks are hectic enough.

Fairy lights to be the new “it” thing for dorm decor

This past weekend I made a few changes to my dorm room. My redecorating was spurred on by the new year, although a little late.

In honor of the new tapestry, or more importantly, new lights adorning my wall, I thought I’d share a little bit about an alternative option for lighting that you might not know about.

I personally avoided hanging up lights in my room for the longest time because I thought it was unoriginal and “basic”. At the beginning of last fall when all my friends were stringing up their lights, I just helped with the manual labor.

Then, I went on a trip to New York, and one of the friends that I visited had the cutest lights strung all over their dorm room. The lights were small and looked nothing like the Christmas ones you hang outside your house.

They were fairy lights, also known as pixie lights, and they were on my wish list from that moment on.

Fast forward a few months, and I finally bought my own from Amazon. The lights came with an adapter so they can be plugged in to the wall, but you could get a battery powered version if you prefer. There are also varying lengths and colors available.

pic3 clllose up

If you’re hesitating on getting lights for your dorm, don’t. At least not because you don’t want to follow the crowd.

Fairy lights are much nicer than the blinding overhead lights that are standard in residence halls, and they add a little charm to your dorm room.

There’s a reason why so many people string up lights. I feel like I’m in Twinkle Town when I plug them in, especially at night.


Here are some other cool ideas to help you find something you might want to try in your room.

Origami Garland

Icicle Lights

Blogger introduces new project about college dorms

Living on campus has definite perks, but the sentiment about dorm rooms themselves is a little more ambiguous.

Being able to wake up 10 minutes before class and still make it there on time might not make up for your fourth floor room on laundry days in your mind.

No matter how you personally feel about them, dorms are almost a right of passage in college.

My name is Tobi, and I am a journalism student at the University of Florida. I’m currently doing my time on campus, and eagerly waiting for the mornings that I don’t wake up to my roommate’s alarm.

For now, my dorm is my home, and I try to make the most of it.

I created These For Walls to share how students are decorating their dorms, and to help you find ideas that you can use for your own space.

Despite the pit falls of living on campus, most of us want our dorms to both be functional and reflect our personalities. I hope this blog helps you figure out what that looks like for you.