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The sweeter side of dorm life

It’s short on storage space, bathroom-less, and oh so tiny. Welcome to your new dorm room. We know it might not seem like much, so we asked Emma, one of favourite interior designers, to create a welcoming room that any artistic spirit would love to cocoon themselves up in. (You can also check out another dorm room over here.)

Meet Emma

Attended: University of the Arts London, Wimbledon College of Arts

Degree: Fine Art, Print and Digital Media, BA

“I spent my college days living in a super tiny apartment in Islington, North London together with my boyfriend (now husband). Once upon a time it used to be a café, complete with a shop window and everything. It was definitely charming, but smooshed between a pair of old Victorian buildings and only 2 metres wide! We had next to no storage space, and the kitchen and bathroom were in the basement. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time running up and down the narrow staircases.”

“A cosy dorm room starts with a cosy bed. The secret? Tons of pillows, a warm duvet (we dyed our bed linens ourselves to create a more personal touch), fairy lights, some stacked stools for a bedside table, and a canopy,” shares Emma.

“Since dorms are infamous for not allowing drilling or nails in the walls, I hung an adjustable shower rod above the window to help create the canopy. It really softens up the space!”

“I love clothes as much as the next girl. But when you’re short on storage space, you’ve got to get creative and add more in unexpected ways. For closed storage, I went with a chest of drawers and a small wardrobe. But for those pieces you’d like to show off, an adjustable shower curtain rod is great alternative. Want to take it a bit further? Find an old door, give it a custom paint job, add a few knobs and hooks (to hang jewelry, bags and more), and lean it up against the wall.”

At first, dorm rooms can seem super bland and boring. But I like to flip the mind-set and think of it as an empty canvas; a chance to perfect your decorating skills.
Emma, interior designer

“When I was in college, I had an insane amount of books. Since I was on a student budget, I found a bunch of old crates to store them in. I recreated the look here with a few KNAGGLIG boxes that we painted to fit the dusty pastel colour scheme in the room,” says Emma. “Oh, and if you want to save even more space, place them under the desk!”

“When it’s time to study or write, you need all the space you can get. I mean that’s really why you’re in college in the first place, right? So think vertically and add plenty of shelving to keep your desk free of unnecessary clutter.”
But Emma’s always thinking one step further. “When friends come over for a study session, go horizontal. I created this desk to double its work surface, and also act as a notice board when it’s folded away.”

“One of the things that bummed me out the most about student living was having to run up and down the stairs to get to the kitchen. If you’re setup is similar to mine, or if you use a shared kitchen, I suggest having two trolleys: one with items to use in the communal kitchen (like pastas, canned tomatoes, you name it), and a bottom shelf for dishes ready to be washed. The other you can fill with snacks and drinks to make right in your room. An electric kettle for tea, a toaster, and a French press will also come in really handy!”

We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by

Interior designer: Emma Parkinsson
Copywriter: Vanessa Algotsson
Photographer: Martin Cederblad

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