After three years of studying in a dorm room that resembled a white box, Daphne Oz, a graduate of Princeton University and Dr. Oz's daughter, said she was ready to do more with her living space. "It is literally four white walls and you have a 10 by 10 square foot room to work with, to make your own," she said.
While Daphne said she was simply too busy to spend a lot of time decorating, Nate Berkus says it's important for students to feel at home. "I think that when you spend that much time in a space, it really is worth it to take a little time and figure out what you can do that is inspirational to you and what is peaceful to you," he says. "I think that is what is missing in dorm rooms."
You don't have to be a design major to tackle Nate's dorm decorating tips. These easy improvements can maximize a small space...with minimal effort.
Find your style: Determine what colors you like and what inspires you. Daphne said she likes cool colors—blues and greens—and was inspired by her father's home country, Turkey. "I definitely have the Mediterranean influences from going to Turkey, and I always bring back artifacts from that area of the world to decorate with," she said.
Multifunctional furniture: Every piece of furniture in a small space should do double duty. Look for an ottoman with built-in storage or a daybed that can work as a couch. In addition to supplying extra seating, daybeds are elegant alternatives to futons.
Declutter your dorm: Get rid of items you don't need or don't love so you can focus on the things you do love. Organize your space so you fit in 90 percent of everything and have 10 percent open. If you have openness, the world will bring more to you!
Bring items from home: Instead of buying new stuff for your dorm, bring items from home that will make you feel comfortable. Nate says he brought a lamp, a framed picture and chest of drawers to college. Daphne said she brought her bed from home. "I brought my own bed to college—that was crucial, it really changed everything," she said.
Maximize storage space: Designate a place for every belonging. Also, don't display lotions and creams on your dresser. If you need to store something, keep it in an attractive box or basket.
Stylize your shelves: Break up books on your bookshelf with interesting items: travel souvenirs, mismatched picture frames or a collection of something you love.
Little touches: Buy fresh flowers from the supermarket or use a beautiful container to store your toothbrush—little touches can make a big difference, Nate says. "It is a present that you give yourself every day, and I think it is a really good thing," he says.