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Deb's Desk: Dorm Decor

I’ve never had a “cool room.” Growing up in my Family Home, I wasn’t allowed to tape posters to the walls of my bedroom. My mother said the Scotch tape would make the paint peel and posters were distracting. My bed linens were ivory and beige. Honestly, my room looked like that of a Colonial chambermaid. For example, my dresser was from my grandmother’s collection of glossy, cherry and walnut pieces I didn’t appreciate at the time. I nearly destroyed the varnish when I spilled a bottle of nail polish remover while playing “beauty parlor” one afternoon. Still to this day, at the ripe(ish) age of 26, I keep my room relatively stark with the exception of my pink elephant duvet. All this said domicile decor shouldn't be like this. “Cool,” and practical are not, in fact, mutually exclusive when you have Deb Johns at the helm.


Designing your boho-hippie hideaway is about mixing in unexpected ways while staying in one colorway like we’ve done with these cool, hot, and neutral stories. In this tutelage on dorm rooms and first apartments, Deb’s laid out a realistic floor plan to maximize the potential of a small space and create that funky-cool-classic vibe that can feel far out of reach. She’s created dorm room looks pulled from our own color coordinated storage and decorative pieces from outside sources.

Anthropologie Block-Printed Gila Quilt

Our decorative and practical storage bins and extra large, zip-top totes can transport your bedding and chunky sweaters and double as a fixture. You can stack these bins, use them as a coffee table or chair for that extra guest, or slide them under the bed for more space. Everything can fold flat, so you can hide them in nooks and crannies.

Blue Book Rump Roost LG | Blue Book Rump Roost MED | Royal Highness Mightah Bin | Royal Highness Fit Kit 
Neons.

Neon signs are hotsy-totsy right now and much more affordable than they used to be. Double whammy! What I’d give to have a chic, all-white studio with a neon sign above my bed.

Urban Outfitters LED Neon Sign | H&M Striped Throw
Graphics.

Elements like stripes and tweed are classics that you can sprinkle in alongside baroque, medallion print rugs and bohemian bedding. We’ll call this concept: Kate Spade for Anthropologie.

CB2 Navy Stripe Outdoor Rug
Chairs.

Fur, inflatable, leather, poufs, a great chair is perfect for reading with a cup of tea and looking out the window pensively or throwing a pile of clean clothes on top because you're too lazy to fold them like a normal adult.

Anthropologie All Roads Woven Solstice Duvet Cover| Urban Outfitters Trixie Inflatable Chair

Poufs are particularly awesome because you can buy the cover and stuff them with your old linens. Your friends will sit on the self-stuffed pouf and grow envious of how sustainable and thrifty you are.

Urban Outfitters Maggie Faux Fur Shag Chair
Messaging.

Words are, like, one of the main pillars of self-expression.

College Ruled Divide & Conquer | College Ruled Rump Stump

For example, my colorful and hilarious relatives living down in the Gulf have a sign in their kitchen that reads, “We don’t ‘skinny dip.’ We chunky dunk!” You may not be hot for this signage, but my relatives sure are. That’s what messaging is all about! Whatever floats your boat.

Urban Outfitters Director's Chair | Alexandra Ferguson Pillow | Kate Spade Drive Large Jewelry Box
Mixed media.

Cutting across different materials and fabrics is a creative way to express a little bit of that “joie de vivre” you’ve been hiding under all that beige and ivory bedding you ordered when you decided to start making “mature investments.”

Hang up that tapestry from New Mexico, throw your grandmother's chunky afghan on your linen loveseat, garnish the duvet with a Turkish bath towel. Basically, feel free to go ham.

Urban Outfitters Hello Neon Sign

Before you know it, your pad will look like a well-curated art installation, and you’ll be oh, so proud.

Too Pawsh Glam Squad
Pom Poms. Tassels. Embroidery.

Little touches like these are what groovy dreamscapes are made of and turn your decorative, bohemian fantasies into your personal reality.

Anthropologie Heradia Throw Blanket | Urban Outfitters Traditional Leather Floor Pouf

As you navigate your decor palette, remember, you can jump around a little. If you’re designing a neutral story, don’t hesitate to inject your favorite color. Don’t be afraid to mix, match, and layer.

Zara Plain Weave Blanket

Dorm room/shoebox-sized apartment dreams do come true, and they can all be yours. We've linked all the images above to the products, so click to your little heart's content.

Kate Spade Love Print | H&M Patterned Cushion Cover

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