The dorm life

Published 8:11 pm Saturday, June 11, 2016

Square footage comes at a premium in most college dorm rooms, with some barely having enough space to hold two beds and two desks. And with today’s teens, many who have their own bedroom and bathroom, moving into cramped living quarters will be one of the transitions they will face when leaving home.


But thanks to interior designers and websites, college students can now easily find ideas and tips to help make dorm rooms feel like their home away from home.

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“The most important thing is the space needs to be comfortable,” After Five Designs owner Dawn Thomas said, and the room needs to reflect the student, not the mother.

“It doesn’t need to be what their mom wants. It needs to be what the children want,” she said.

Local resident Lauren Bussey, who owns Lauren B. Designs also helps parents and college students with dorm room décor and agrees with Thomas. She too, feels it is important that a dorm room feels like home and the student should have input in its design.

“I like to sit down with my clients and find out what they like so I can design something the student is going to love,” Bussey said, and for college freshman, designing their dorm rooms can also represent the start of them stepping out on their own.

“It is the beginning for them picking out who they are and kind of that first step of independence,” she said.

Many college students have elected to enhance their dorm room on some level, but Bussey said dorm room décor has “snowballed” in the last few years.

“I think it became the trendy thing to do when dorm rooms showed up in magazines,” Bussey said.

Thomas, a Jackson-based designer, knows first-hand about dorm rooms and magazines. Her designs have been featured on the Town and Country magazine blog.

On Tuesday, Frances Lacefield, of Atlanta and owner of Room 422, which is a business specializing in dorm room bedding was in Jackson at Bliss Gift and Home, located in Banner Hall.

She had traveled to Mississippi for a special showing of her latest collections, and both moms and daughters were in attendance.

As a hospitality major from the University of Alabama, the 24-year-old said becoming owner of Room 422 evolved shortly after she graduated from college.

“My mom did my bedding when I went off to school, and every summer after that she just continued to do it. When I graduated from college, I told her she should continue, but she said she did not have time, but said ‘you should do it.’”

In addition to bedding, Lacefield, whose designs can be viewed at, said she has now even started designing some of her own fabrics, which are featured on the headboards she customs makes for dorm rooms.

Though most of the rooms Thomas, Bussey and Lacefield have helped design are for female clients, Thomas said she has designed some dorm rooms for boys, and discovered they are not interested in matching bedding, it is all about the electronics.

“All a boy needs is a rug, sheets, a comforter and a large TV for games,” she said.

And for those parents, who would love to skip the hassle of move-in day, Thomas said she can totally move a student in and even do all the necessary shopping, which includes picking up all the electrical plugs, buying all of the storage containers, hangers and anything needed for a dorm room.

From shower shoes to futons, living in a dorm can offer fun and lifetime friendships, but Thomas offered a few tips on the Town and Country website to remember in creating your “home away from home.”

1. Organization is key. Girls have a tendency to bring all of their belongings with them to college. Don’t do this.

2. Keep bedding simple — busy rooms cause anxiety. I usually choose neutral bedding when decorating dorm rooms because plain colors help open up the room.

3. Don’t buy things you think you need that will clutter the room (that juicer you think you’ll use every day….).

4. Hang drapes as high as possible to add height and drama to the space.

5. Decorate those dull concrete walls with large canvases. This will help give the space a larger feel.

6. When it comes to the mattress pad, you can’t go wrong with doubling up. Layer a featherbed on top of a memory foam mattress pad to create the most comfortable bed.

7. It doesn’t matter how the dorm is decorated if you don’t get along with your roommate. Establish rules so both feel at home.

8. Raise beds as high as possible and store everything underneath the bed.

9. Enjoy — it’s the best years of your life!

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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