How to Make Dorm Room Shopping a Breeze

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It’s official: you’ll be spending next year living in the dorms! Whether this will be your first year in a residence hall or your fourth, you’re probably dreading the whole dorm room shopping ordeal. But you can make shopping a breeze by following these simple tips.

 

Examine the List

The good news is that most colleges will provide you with a dorm shopping list. In addition, you’ll most likely get rules and restrictions (like the size of the refrigerator allowed). Keep these lists close because they will become your best friend. Read through it carefully. Then, do research on your own for college checklists and advice. And add to it as you think about what’s important to you. For example, your bare bones list may only say “bedding,” but if you want something more comfortable, add a line for a deluxe mattress pad.

 

Set a Budget

Shopping for an entirely new bedroom can really add up in costs! If you’re doing it on your own or have a small amount to spend, it’s important to research online and in stores to see what you’ll, realistically, need to spend. Once you’ve got estimates, set a budget and start saving up now. It’s never too early to put a few bucks in a savings account for your dorm room decor.               

 

Shop Early

Shopping early is another way to save a ton. If you put off to July or August, you will run into skyrocketing prices. Buy now when dorm specific bedding and furniture are on super sales and clearances. After May, new dorm styles will go on the shelves and prices will increase. Plus, shopping early means you’ll get your hands on the latest trends before anyone else (like our favorite dorm bedding for 2017/2018: The Mosaic.

 

Recycle What You Have

Who said everything has to be new and unused? If you love what your bedroom looks now, there is nothing wrong with recreating the look and feel in your dorm room. Items like lamps, rugs, chairs, and storage units can be easily moved to your dorm. Really, only linens are essential to purchase before your move.

 

Buy Packages Instead of Single Items

The easiest way to go through your shopping list quickly is to buy your dorm room in a package. There are some huge benefits of value paks like having everything you need come to your door without having to step foot in a store. In addition, everything is coordinated to match so you don’t have to play a guessing game on what will look good with what. And then, there’s the price. Buying in bulk means saving on individual items!

 

Accessorize Around a Theme

Once you’ve got your value pak (or at least a color scheme in mind), you can start picking up the smaller decor items to complete the look. Take the popular Kaleidoscope White. This pattern will go great with a boho theme where you can add feather art, a turquoise desk lamp, or an off-white shag rug.

 

Shop With Online Tools

Finally, don’t forget to use online shopping tools like email alerts, sales notifications, and saving apps. Ebates, Ibotta, and similar apps are awesome to have when looking for dorm room deals online and at your local stores.

 

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Rhapsody Dusty Purple Bedding from OCM

 

With these top tips, you should be all set for move in day!

How to Avoid Sleeping on a Stiff, Old Dorm Bed

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While we may love living the #dormlife, we seriously hate dorm beds. After years and years of other people sleeping on them, you’re lucky if you find one mattress that’s even a bit comfortable. But we’re making a stand: NO MORE STIFF DORM BEDS EVER! Instead, we’re investing in our goodnight sleep by transforming our bed into the palace it should be. Here’s how.

5 Ways to Make Your Dorm Bed Comfier

1.   Build a Better Bed From the Bottom Up

Today, beds are more than just the mattress and a slipcover. If you’re going to get your required 7-8 hours of productive sleep, you’re going to need to create a bed that is both healthy and tailored to your body and sleep needs.

Support is a big part of this. Egg crate pads are an affordable option if you don’t have any previous backaches or pains to worry about. For more luxury or necessary support for those who need it, deluxe and ultimate gel memory foam give you exactly what you need.

 

2.   Pump Up the Pillows

We’re guilty of buying the cheapest pillow out there, but we’ve learned from that mistake. Pillows are what supports and cradles your neck. Too stiff and you’ll be in a load of pain. Too thin, and you won’t make it through the night.

Pillows come in all shapes and sizes, so it is important to understand how you sleep. Those who snooze on their sides need flexible material such as memory foam found in the Infinity Memorelle pillow. Back-sleepers and those with allergies will love the eco-friendly ClearFresh pillow. And those who sleep on their stomachs can cuddle up to the Plush Pillow.

 

3.   Snuggle Up Smartly

While it may be warm outside now, it’s important to find linens that are weatherproof and can make it through cold, drafty dorms and sweltering early summer days. Our favorite find is the extra-long thermal cotton blanket. It’s perfect for just about any location and the perfect bottom layer of any bed.

Fleece throws, especially vibrant color ones, are great for guests and lazy days spent in bed. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and stylish — a perfect combo for dorm dwellers.

 

4.   Protect it All

In addition to building the best bed ever, you’re going to want to keep it safe and sound. Accidents happen. Drinks are spilled, crumbs are left behind, and wear and tear is a thing. When you don’t have time or money to replace, give yourself insurance by purchasing extra help keeping bedding in the best shape ever.

Mattress protectors are a basic buy that helps you stay clear of that nasty old mattress and your sheets. Bug guards are for those who may worry about creepy crawlers and bed bugs taking over. Quilted mattress pads are great for keeping your support base away from elements like body sweat or debris. And, finally, pillow protectors are perfect for helping your pillows survive the year.

 

5.   Store It Away

Transitioning from winter to spring means saying goodbye to heavy comforters or heated blankets. If you can’t make a trip back home with your bedding, look for storage units that fit neatly under your bed. Out of sight, out of mind!

You’ll also need a place to keep your bedding until next year. Keep out the dust by placing your linens and bedding in hardcover storage cubes. For a more stylish option, you’ll want to check out the vintage trunks that can be kept in just about any storage unit or basement until it’s time to take them out for the next semester.

 

The Dairy Free Life

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Last semester I used to eat all the ice cream, cheese, and cereal with milk that I wanted. Maybe I ate too much of it because this semester did not turn out how I wanted it to. Here is my version of being lactose-intolerant.



Coming into my freshman year of college, I did gain the freshman 8 (not 15), from all the late night Dominos orders, binge watching Netflix shows and eating tubs of ice cream — because why not. Some things that I have learned from becoming lactose-intolerant…..

1. Acne

I have noticed I do not have as much acne on my face as I used to and my skin has become much healthier!

2. Lactaid Pills

These things suck. Honestly, unless you’re in the mood for a big ice cream sundae and a lava cake then it is not worth having dairy (for those of you who don’t know, these pills won’t let you go to the bathroom).

3. Bloating

You definitely don’t feel bloated all the time. I feel as if I am also not always hungry.

4. Milk

No more of that yummy 2 percent or any of that pure milk. Stick to soy, almond and obviously Lactaid free!

5. Pizza

Going to be a hard life not having that delicious pizza pie at 2 a.m….

6. Strong bones

The reason why mothers give their children milk when they’re younger is to give them strong bones… unfortunately, that will not be the case anymore


If anyone is feeling as much pain as I am… don’t worry, us dairy free people will stay close together!

Dorm Decor: DIY Decorative Planter

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Countless assignments, maddening quizzes, and due dates rushing towards you faster than Barry Alan may make your dorm’s decor seem like the last of your priorities. But a well-designed space can actually help you deal with the stress of college life by increasing your productivity and giving you an environment that feels like home. Everyone knows the struggle with a tiny room and a tiny budget can be real, but mixing high’s and low’s can help you turn your dorm into a dreamy abode. Spend on things that you would be using for a long time, for example, bedding and storage options, and add a DIY here and there to really give that Pinterest-worthy look to your room.

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If you have a free couple of hours this weekend, DIY this decorative planter with just some paper and straws and give your dorm the facelift it deserves!

 Supplies

DIY Planter

  • Drawing sheet
  • Straws
  • Copper wire
  • Gold spray paint
  • Faux plant

How-to

Lay the drawing sheet flat on the floor and cut it using a paper knife to get the shape shown below. Tip: Drawing the shape with a pencil prior to cutting will help. 

DIY Planter

Fold the cut-out from the center and then open the fold to get a clean line that divides the shape into 2 halves. Place the cutout in a slightly folded position on some more paper, as shown, to determine the size of the paper needed to make the back of this planter. Once you’ve marked it, cut it using a paper knife.

DIY Planter

Now take the front part again and cut and fold it as shown in the picture. Glue the folded margins to the piece cut for the back.

DIY Planter

The cuts shown will help to fold the piece and align it with the back.

Tip: draw details with a gold sharpie for some added pizzazz!

DIY Planter

Now, spray paint your straws for the frame. Lay them flat on a piece of paper and apply light paint coats. Let the paint set before you turn the straws and spray the other side. Also, make sure the straws are not too close to one another so that the sides get painted too.

Measure the straws by aligning them with the planter sides and snipping the extra length. For the lower half of the frame, you’d need 5 straws; 3 for the vertical sides and the center, and 2 for the top.

DIY Planter

Cut 3 pieces of copper wire that are longer than the vertical straws (the 3 longer ones). Pass one wire through each straw and twist the ends together at one side to tie them.

           DIY Planter

Cut 2 more pieces of wire and pass them through the smaller straws for the top. Tie all the wires together as shown. (The paint chipped off at the ends while I was twisting the wires and I had to do some retouching.)

DIY Planter

The number of straws you need for the upper part of the frame depends on you. For a symmetrical look, go for the same length and number as the lower part — but if you want the upper part to be longer, feel free to add more straws.

Look 1 Attach the frame to a drawing board using thumbtacks. They come in a number of sizes and the smaller ones are quite affordable (this one cost me 200 rupees — roughly 2 dollars).

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Once you’ve secured the frame, add the planter to it. (Depending on the size of the planter and weight of the plant you’re using, you may have to secure it with thumbtacks too.)

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Look 2 Remove the frame and simply put up the planter on the board. This look let’s you skip the whole trouble of dealing with the wire and straws and adds a nice countryside flare to your decor.

DIY Planter

Look 3 Simply hang the whole thing with a hook from the wall and make sure you’ve secured the planter with some double-sided tape to hold it in place. You can vary the vertical height by altering the number of straws you use, like I did here.

DIY Planter

Have fun crafting!

Sahar

6 Tips to Set-up Your Dorm Room to Reduce Stress and Maximize Productivity

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College is a fun and exciting experience; you’re away from home, there’s lots of new people and countless events and activities. Remember, however, that you need to prioritize your studies, after all, you’re there to get an education. The way you organize your dorm room can help you perform better in your classes, but you have to set up an effective study space. Follow these tips to organize your dorm room to reduce stress and boost productivity.

 

Communicate With Your Roommate(s)

In the average dorm room, each student has about 96 square feet of space, that means you’re spending a lot of time in close quarters with someone you barely know. Open up the lines of communication early. Don’t claim the bed by the window just because you show up first on move-in day. Talk to your roommate about his or her preferences and concerns and communicate yours as well.

You may also find that you have different priorities and lifestyles. Maybe one of you is a morning person, or you may be more introverted or extroverted than your roommate. If you like to get up early and your roommate likes to sleep in, try to be considerate and be quiet while he or she is sleeping. Also, there’s no reason you can’t make time for your studies and the social aspects of college, but you have to be diligent about making a schedule and sticking to it. You may need to work with your roommate to designate certain times of the day for homework and studying and other times for being social.

 

Study at Your Desk, Not in Bed

Your bed looks very inviting when you’ve got 30+ pages of your textbook to read, but unless you go to the library or a study group outside of your dorm room, try to do all of your studying, school work and reading at your desk. When you study in bed, it’s easier to zone out or fall asleep, especially when you’re reading dry, or overly-technical material. Your bed should be the place where you rest and recharge; lugging your textbooks or laptop into bed sends your body mixed signals and studies shows using technology in bed can affect your quality of sleep.

 

Organize Your Desk

Organization is easier said than done when you have a dorm room that doubles as a kitchen, living area and study space. When it comes to your desk, however, try to keep it as organized and uncluttered as possible. “When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus,” according to Erin Doland from unclutterer. “The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information.”

A clean, organized desk helps you feel calm and focused on the task at hand. It also helps you keep track of important materials like study guides, notes and assignments, which is helpful when you’re juggling projects between different classes.

 

Reduce Distractions

This is where communicating with your roommate is key. He or she may like to listen to music or have the TV on while doing schoolwork but you may like it quiet. Can you find a solution that works for both of you? Also, consider limited noise and distractions while studying for tests. When you study, create a test-like environment: sit at your desk, try not to use your books or other references and reduce the amount of background noise, you may also want to time yourself if you know you will have a limited amount of time to take the test. This tactic is especially helpful when studying for Math tests. “A common mistake is for students to work on Math problems in too relaxed a posture,” according to USATestPrep. “They should be sitting at a desk, with minimal distractions, and working the problems exactly as if they were testing.”

 

Make the Most of Your (Limited) Space

Now that we’ve talked about how to set your room up to study, which should be your first priority, let’s talk about maximizing your limited living space. Most of the furniture will be provided by the school, but you can bring some additional shelving or plastic bins to create more storage space. Plastic bins can be especially useful in the bathroom (if you have your own) to store toiletry items so you’re not fighting over drawer space.

You can bunk your beds to create more floor space, but if you’d prefer not to, considering lifting or raising your bed to create additional storage space under your bed. Some students raise their beds high enough to fit their desk underneath, which creates enough space for a couch for lounging and relaxing. Make sure you check with your resident advisor before you do any manual labor on your room or furniture.  

 

Keep Your Space Neat

I know this might be your first time away from home, which means you don’t have your mom around to tell you to make your bed and pick up after yourself. Go ahead and enjoy your newfound freedom, but remember, there’s at least one other person in your room. While you don’t need to be a neat freak, your roommate may not appreciate it if you leave your things all over the room, so try to be considerate.

Also, talk to your roommate about your belongings. If you’re not OK with him or her using your stuff, make sure you let them know. He or she may feel the same way, so you can avoid any issues if you discuss this ahead of time.

 

Part of keeping your room clean has to do with designating specific areas for things like studying, lounging and relaxing and hanging out. Chances are you and your roommate may reorganize your room a few times during the course of the school year. As long as you have a dedicated, organized study space, you can play around with the rest of the room and figure out what works best for everyone. Living in a dorm room may be a big adjustment at first, but with some communication and planning, you can make the most out of the small space. Follow these tips to have a more organized, stress-free living environment so you can enjoy the other, more fun aspects of college. Remember, you need to focus on your studies, but after that, have fun and enjoy the experience.

 

The Best College Majors for Foodies

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Top Chef is your favorite TV show. You’ve got a bucket list of restaurants you want to visit. Your book collection is more like a cookbook collection. You are a proud foodie! But how does being a lover of all things tasty translate to a college major? These are the best majors for foodies, some traditional and some not, that will help you find a great way to blend a future career with your delicious passion.

 

Chef

Let’s get the easy one out of the way first. Attending culinary school is the easiest way to graduate with the skills you need to work in the kitchen. Specialize in a particular type of food or food art, and you’ll be more marketable.

 

Food Science

Food scientists are the ones who create the food from start to finish. Like chefs, they come up with new ideas, taste test, quality control and recreate. They work with food manufacturers and producers, but it’s an engineering degree at heart.

 

Biotechnology

At the micro level is biotechnology in food sciences. This major is perfect for the engineer or chemist who loves to play with their dishes. You’ll study what makes food, well, food and how our bodies process it at a molecular level.

 

Nutrition

While you may not be making food, you’ll be helping others consume food differently. Nutritionists and dietitians work with hospitals or in private practices helping clients and patients choose meals for their special diets or weight loss.

 

Art or Design

Bakers, in particular, could benefit from an art or design degree where you’ll pick up drawing and creating skills that could translate to beautiful (food) works. The better you are at designing, the more client you’re likely to attract.

 

Photography

Food photography is a skill that’s picking up! You’ll work with business, publications, independent writers, journalists, restaurants, etc. on creating gorgeous images of recipes in action or food for sale. A photography major will show you how to get the best lighting or color combos.

 

Journalism

Critics and travel writers all get started somewhere, and it’s often with a degree in Journalism or English. Having strong writing skills and a portfolio to show your range can improve your chances in this competitive field.

 

Food Business/Services

At your college cafeteria is probably someone who majored in Food Business. It’s a growing major that teaches you how to manage restaurants, cafeterias, and craft services. You’ll learn how to supervise staff, create long-term or seasonal menus, and market your business to prospective clients.

 

Agriculture

If your passion is growing it from the ground, agriculture is the best major for you. You can use this major to go into organic farming or put it to a purpose by teaching others how to make sustainable food sources in urban or developing areas.

 

As you can see, foodies have so many college major options to build their skills and find a successful career. By thinking out of the box and customizing your degree to your passion, you can cook up a foodie profession you can be proud to call your own.

 

Transform Your Dorm Room into a Home

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Going to college is a huge adventure on its own. You’re separated from your family and you’re being thrown into a whole new world with hundreds of new people. Now, some people find it really hard to leave their home and have a new life for a few years. If you are one of those people, you can actually do something about this sadness, and that something is adjusting your dorm room to fit you a little bit better. And even though you’re going to leave it eventually, you have to make it “bearable”. Here is how to do this.

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Personalize it

You will spend up to 3-4 years there, that means it should look a little cozier than a hospital room, right?

Photographs

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There’s nothing like photos of your beloved ones that bring character and the feeling of home into any space. You can purchase an acrylic desk topper and put all of your photos underneath that layer. Next time you look down at your desk, you will definitely smile, plus, it will be one-of-a-kind desk for sure.

Monograms

No, they are not just for the preppy folks! If you have monogrammed pillowcases, notebooks, toiletry bags etc. in your dorm room, it will make the whole space feel more like it’s yours. It’s just that they add a special dose of familiarity, even in a brand new room.

Toys

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Yes, you’re an adult now. But come on, you definitely still keep that favorite Barbie doll, or that teddy bear you slept with somewhere in your home. If you haven’t brought your toys with you, contact your mom to send them to you, or pick them up when you go home for holidays, and place them on a shelf or wherever you held them when you were home. You won’t regret it.

Add some fun to it

If you really want to revive your dorm room, make sure that you throw in as many colors as possible. Even though you may be a minimalistic type, you have to go wild sometimes, right? I’m talking neon pillow cases, fire red blankets, ridiculous prints etc. Have fun while you’re young.

Refresh your space

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The air in dorm rooms can be pretty smelly and stuffy, in other words – nothing like home. This is why you should invest in a commercial air purifier which will eliminate the dust, bacteria, smell of mold and smoke as well. Also, consider putting in some potted plants, or a plant terrarium in your dorm room as well.

Point out your creativity

If you have a hidden artist in you, bring them out and do some DIY projects.

Washi tape your posters

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If you are a fan of posters, there’s nothing cooler than framing them with washi tape. Just tape it around the outlines of your posters.

Masking Tape Deco

This colored paper tape is a perfect and also a cheap way to give some life to your dorm room. It’s also great because it’s easy to remove, so when you get bored of it, you can make something else. Get as many colors as you can and release your inner Picasso!

And let there be light!

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You can use Christmas lights to make custom marquee signs, or some shapes – whatever you want.

Make it fluffy

It doesn’t matter if you are a guy or a girl – fluffy things give the sense of comfort, which is exactly how home feels like.

Rug

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Usually, the floors in dorm rooms are cold and really gross. The best way to fix this is definitely a rug. Not only it will make your room look much nicer, but it will also be a great soft place for your feet.

Pillows

They add color, as well as warmth to your bed and there’s definitely no better feeling than jumping into an ocean of pillows after a long and hard day of lectures and studying.

Fuzzy blankets

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Another great addition to your bed are definitely fuzzy blankets, a bunch of them. They’re nice to look at and feel great when you snuggle up in them – since they can keep you warm like nothing else.

That would be it. How do you like these ideas? Are you going to use them? Let me know in the comments.

P.S. Have fun decorating!

 

 

Top Fitness Gear to Keep You Fit in College

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Fighting off the Freshman 15 or Sophomore 20 isn’t as easy as it looks. With unhealthy food choices, busy schedules, and high stress lifestyles, packing on the pounds can happen when we’re not careful. But you don’t have to give up if you’re too time strapped to get to the gym or new to the whole workout lifestyle. These 11 fitness must-haves are practically made for college students and dorm life.

 

FitBit

Long a must-wear device for techies and non-techies alike, the FitBit isn’t just a step counter anymore. The newest models connect to your phone so you can see your incoming messages while you run, swim, walk, and more.

 

Exercise Ball and Chair

Worried about your posture? The exercise ball will take care of building that core muscle. Replaces your ugly, uncomfortable desk chair with an ballance chair (a ball inside a chair frame), and you have a workout you don’t even think about.

 

Motivational Tanks

You may not be a fan of working out, but at least you can do it with a bit of snark, sass, and inspiration. We’re loving long tanks with thin straps and phrases such as “Namaste In Bed” or “Running for Donuts.”

 

Yoga Mat, Block, and Towel

Yoga is one of the easiest workouts to do in small spaces, and with so many free videos online, you can do it from your dorm with no problem. Just equip yourself with a high-quality mat, a foam block, and non-slip towel or blanket to complete your gear.

 

Water Bottle Pack

Runners, walkers, and bikers love moving around campus, but staying hydrated can be difficult. Instead of hitting the office buildings for a water break, strap on a water bottle pack. It hooks on like a belt and usually comes with added storage for keys, phone, and money.

 

The Perfect Shoe

We love our Asics, but the truth is that everyone’s foot is different. Instead of just picking the cheapest or most familiar brand, get yourself fitted at a shoe store to get a shoe that works best with how you walk, run, and/or jump.

 

Pull-Up Bar

A pull-up bar is a must-have for serious fitness gurus looking to build arm strength. Bonus reason to get one: you can install them in your dorm room without lugging around huge equipment or ruining your dorm’s paint.

 

Sweat-Wicking Leggings with Vents

Ladies need a pair of vented workout leggings. Whether with cut outs or translucent sections, it makes workouts so much more stylish. If possible, also strive for sweat-wicking material that keeps away smell and moisture.

 

Resistance Bands

Your body is amazing, especially when it comes to working out. Instead of spending a fortune on free weights, use your own weight and a few different styles and sizes of resistance bands to create a heck of a challenging workout.

 

Adjustable Dumbbell Set

If you love the feel of a weight in your hand, dumbbells that can be “programmed” with your desired weight make excellent space savers without compromising your workout. The alternative is to buy the weights you need as you progress so you’ll always be challenged.

 

Jump Counter

One of the top ways to get an amazing cardio workout in is to jump! Jumping rope doesn’t take much room or time, and you can purchase a digital jump counter that tracks your hops and double dutches without the whole rope thing getting your way.

#DORMGOALS 2016: The Best Dorms Out There

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Here at OCM, we know a thing or two about dorm rooms. So when we put out a call to see what our fans and readers were doing to transform their dorms, we were blown away by what you sent in! The #dormgoals submissions that came in gave us loads of style inspiration.

But with a $500 first prize on the line and two $150 OCM gift card and care packages for our runners up, the competition was on. Our Facebook page fans chose, and we couldn’t agree more with these fashion-forward winners!

 

Runner Up #1

Name: Katy (Instagram)

College: California State University San Marcos

Major: Human Development

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Cozy, Lofty + Minimalistic

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My photos! I love how unique they are. Photos of friends from back home, adventures I’ve taken, or things I’m passionate about.”

What helped her win:

Soft and romantic, we absolutely love how snuggly and warm her bedding looks. She perfectly blends light colors with dark accents along with different textures in her throw blankets. We also love the hanging dream catchers juxtaposed over the DIY lighting headboard. Falling asleep there is literally a dream.

How you can create this look:

We call this the “hotel look.” Add a dark with a light in a minimalist pattern to keep things simple, and focus on comfort. The Total Transition Pak bedding in Deep Pink and Black Lattice is a great example of how to add a dark and light together. The black and white bedding with pink pillow and sheet accents livens the room up but also creates a calm, centering space to come home to.

 

Runner Up #2

Name: Ken’Nia

College: Southern Connecticut State University

Major: Nursing

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Cute, Glamorous, Fun

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My bedding.”

What helped her win:

Boho is IN! Her bedding is in the mandala style that everyone is looking for these days and the peachy orange is gorgeously fun. But what we especially love is how she continues the theme in her wall decor and pillows. Sassy, hippy-chic, and stylish? We’re loving this.

How you can create this look:

Did we mention that boho style is blowing up right now? OCM has loads of options for the the summer music festival fan or the yoga fanatic. For example, mandala tapestries in navy, orange, and red add a major focal point for over the desk or bed. Keep the colors going with this dream catcher inspirational poster to keep you motivated on difficult days.

 

Grand Prize Winner

Name: Joseph (Instagram)

College: San Jose State University

Major: Public Relations

Describe Your Dorm Style in 3 Words: Aesthetics, Peaceful, Pride

What’s Your Favorite Thing About Your Room?: “My favorite thing about my room happens to be my desk! I love having small little decorations on my desk that I get as gifts. It really helps make my room feel like home.”

What helped him win:

There is nothing more Americana than a frat-themed dorm room! Joseph’s room practically radiates pride for his organization, Gamma Epsilon, and his alma mater in every single nook and cranny. But this dedication doesn’t go overboard. He manages to balance it so that it looks tidy, professional, and adult while still having his personality shine through on his shelves.

How you can create this look:

Joseph is right — it’s all about the desk! He focuses in on small decor choices that do not look like much alone but add up when combined together. Metal signs, such as this ode to New York subway lines, are a great example of small, but memorable ways of bringing home to your work space. But don’t forget about your school pride! A vintage sports poster featuring your school of choice will give your dorm Joseph’s winning style.

#DormGoals – OCM’s Dorm Decorating Contest 2016

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OCM dorm room contest

We’re excited to announce the launch our Dorm Goals challenge! After spending the summer shopping for your dorm decor, conquering a hectic move-in day, and getting into the swing of the semester, you are probably well on your way to settling into your new dorm. You likely put a lot of thought into how you wanted to decorate it — whether it’s shabby-chic, preppy, or has a beachy, west coast vibe. The sheer fact that you’re reading our blog shows that you find dorm style important! So now that you’ve achieved the dorm vibe you were going for, you deserve to show it off.

That’s why we set up our Dorm Goals 2016 Challenge. Post your stylish dorm room photo to social media, use #dormgoals and tag @OCMdotCOM, and fill out our form to submit your entry — it’s as simple as that.  Not only do you get to show off your interior design skills, but you have the chance to win some awesome prizes.

The Details

It’s simple to enter! First, fill out the form to let us know a little more about you. Then post your dorm room photo on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Don’t forget to tag @OCMdotCOM and use the #dormgoals hashtag. The contest will officially close on Friday, November 11, 2016.

At that point, we’ll share all of the photos entered in an album on the OCM Facebook Page. Users will have one week to ‘like’ their favorite dorm pic. The dorm photo with the most likes wins, and we’ll make the announcement on Friday, November 18, 2016!

What’s in it for me, you ask? One Grand Prize Winner will be awarded a $500 Visa Giftcard to spend however they please! Two Runner Ups will each receive a $150 Giftcard to the OCM store. This means they’ll get to add any finishing touches to their dorm rooms. Plus, each runner up will receive a novelty care package from our OCM, filled with plenty of goodies.

Who Should Enter?

All ladies and gents that are currently enrolled in a university in the United States and living in student housing are welcome to enter. Also, note that all photos must be your own and reflect the room you currently live in — we want to see your dorm decor skills.

Tips for Transforming Your Space into a Winning Dorm Room

Are you still working on your dorm room style? Don’t worry, with these tips we’ll get your room in #dormgoals shape before the close of the contest.

Bedding

Sometimes, it’s hard to even know where to start with decorating when you have so many different items in such a small space. We believe that the focal point of most dorms is the bed, so we always recommend starting there. This is partly because it’s typically the largest thing in your dorm, and partly because it’s where you’ll spend so much time — from sleeping to studying and watching TV.

So if you chose the right bedding, everything else should fall into place. Whether you love ombre or if geometrics are more of your thing, the right bedding is so important to create the style and energy you’re looking for. However, if you’re stuck with the same bedding you used last year or decided to go the minimal route with neutrals, that doesn’t mean you can’t spice it up. Throw on a few colorful or textured throw pillows or blankets to take your bedding up a notch.

Finding Your Personal Aesthetic

Indie, boho, grunge, you name it. Your dorm room is a great way to express your personal style. However, sometimes that’s hard to identify. Maybe you have a lot of mismatched hand-me-downs or erred on the side of caution by buying all of your room supplies in the same neutral color. But neither of these situations are reasons not to own the dorm style you really want.

For any guys out there looking for a little guidance, check out our post on the 12 dorm essentials for guys. From basics like hampers to fun stuff like entertainment centers, there’s a lot to consider when putting together a cohesive, stylish dorm room that really is a reflection of your aesthetic. For the girls inspired by Mindy Kaling or wondering how to design a perfectly preppy dorm, we’ve also got you covered.

While we recommend using your bedding as a focal point, there’s one other way to really identify the style you want to go for. Look around your dorm and identify your favorite piece. Is it the acoustic guitar you were gifted at high school graduation? Or maybe it’s something as small as the stack of neon, fun-shaped post-it notes on your desk. If you use these items as your inspiration, you’ll know the direction you want to take your room — from indie to bright and loud.

Adding Simple Touches Can Make All The Difference

We know the struggle of the small dorm room, and sometimes it can feel very limiting when it comes to dorm decor. That’s why we love this small spaces video from Urban Outfitters. Dorm rooms are often so small that it’s almost a rite of passage to live in cramped quarters — but this video proves that if you go into it with a strategy, you can make even the smallest of spaces work!

Because you’re in cramped quarters, doesn’t mean that you can’t add simple decor touches. From lighting to wall art, you have tons of options to give your space that extra oomph it needs. We think lighting is great, because it can add intrigue and cancel out the often-dreary industrial lights most dorms have. Posters and other art are great touches because you can work with the vertical space in your room (i.e. your walls) to add flair. You can support artists by getting your art from Etsy, or DIY some vintage frames with a fresh, bright coat of spraypaint. At the end of the day, you’ll want to come home to a room that really meshes with you – so curate pieces thoughtfully and you’ll be sure to have a #dormgoals-worthy dorm in no time!

The Dorm Goals 2016 contest is now closed – thank you to everyone who entered!