It is that time again—back to school. Around the country, college students are moving into their dorm rooms in preparation for the school year. And yes, while the college experience is once-in-a-lifetime, for a lot of students, dorm room living is something that they would rather forget. Alexa Hampton (pictured below), a HSN designer for her own namesake interiors brand Alexa Hampton Home, along with head of interior design firm Mark Hampton, founded by her late father, recalled her own dorm experience at Brown University sharing: “Ah, dorm life. It was so fun and so awful, all at once. Who could ever forget it? I remember my dorm room very well, even though I am appalled to tell you that it was 20 years ago.” Now, of course, Hampton is an interior design guru, named one of Architectural Digest’s AD100 top interior designers every year and renowned for her classic Park Avenue style (with eclectic and modern twists). We could think of no one better to ask to share tips on how to give a dorm room the luxe touch.
1. Think Soft. “Looking back on my own room and my dorm life experience and adding what I now know from my life as a designer, I would have to say that adding softness, with any soft material, is the one and only way to combat the dorm doldrums,” Hampton shared. “Think of it—when you walk in a dorm room, it is all hard surfaces—floors, bed frame, shelves, dresser, doors. Anything soft is so useful, so remember to work it in. Throw rugs, fun bedding, decorative pillows, curtains, blankets, anything upholstered. Even an upholstered cork board. All soft items convey comfort.”
2. Go For Personality. “The best way for bedding to convey luxury is to have a point of view,” Hampton shared. “Safe white sheets are a hedge. They telegraph anonymity in a dorm room where there are no other decorative flourishes. So, go for personality and the personal. Have sheets with a color and a pattern. Choose things that are your (or your favorite coed’s) specific, individual taste. Don’t shy away from making it look your own. If you do that, you make it luxurious. And of course, it should all feel good to touch.”
3. Bring Your Own Lighting. “Bring task lighting and lamps,” Hampton stressed. “The fluorescent that was installed over my dresser was great for applying make-up and interrogating prisoners, and nothing else. Overhead light on its own is a sad experience, too. Bring a lamp, or a task light for the desk. A standing lamp can also be great to put next to your bed, whether your lying on it studying, or curled up in it reading before bed. To inject some decorative value to the exercise, get a colored shade. They are fun and stylish.”
4. Stay Organized. “The only way to save space is to be ruthlessly organized,” Hampton shared. “Everything should have its particular spot. Only then will it get put away. Definitely have under-bed storage, so make sure you bring a dust ruffle to cover that space, so everything looks great day to day. Also, huggable hangers are the best hangers there are.”
5. Splurge On Items You’ll Have For the Long Haul. “Just like in an apartment you are buying versus one you are renting, you want to invest in things that will go from this place to the next place and still delight you,” Hampton shared. “Buy delicious towels. You will have them forever. Frame a couple pieces nicely, and you can reuse the frames as time goes buy. Frames aren’t cheap but they make a world of difference.”
Catch Alexa Hampton on HSN next on August 28th at 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. and on August 29th at 3 a.m. and 9 a.m.