Dorm Rooms Inspired by My Favorite TV Characters

Hello, World.

I remember when I first moved in the dorms my freshman year of college pretty vividly. I felt like I totally over packed ( I did). I felt nervous that my belongings wouldn’t fit (some didn’t). I worried that once I got my room all set up it wouldn’t look as good or as home-y as I wanted (it did). Today, I am sharing designs for dorm rooms based on my three favorite TV characters – Aria Montgomery, Spencer Hastings, and Rory Gilmore. As much as I love my room in Virginia, I love decorating new spaces, so picking out pieces for each room’s mood board was fun!

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First up, Aria Montgomery. Aria is from Pretty Little Liars, which recently had its series finale. She’s artsy, bookish, funky, and, foremost, eclectic. The thing I always liked about Aria’s style is the unique look she has, featuring unconventional pattern pairs, lots of random animals, soft but noticeable accessories. I tried to create a dorm that resembles the room she has during the show’s high school years but also wanted to make it feel more like a college freshman as opposed to a high school student.

I chose a lot of natural, warm elements because such elements, to me, are most reminiscent of Aria. I also wanted to include a lot of pillows because Aria’s spaces are all warm and comfortable, which to me means pillows and lots of them. I tried to mix patterns and texture with the pillows since a bed is the focal point of a dorm (it serves as a bed, a couch, a hangout area, etc.). Aria also seems like a person who would have a throw blanket for cold dorm nights. I also imagined that Aria would want photos on display, so put a cork board above the bed that has a world map on it. Additionally, I thought the letter board felt retro and uniquely Aria, a trend she would probably have adopted before it was cool ( a nod to all the hipster spirits in the room).

For bedding, I picked a gray tone with a slightly girly detail. I love the tables, which I imagine Aria will leave stacks of books and old coffee cups on while she runs to and from class. A faux wooden trash bin also seemed to fit Aria’s room design. I pulled warm gold tones and neutral storage boxes to complement the natural, but the warm vibe I wanted to encompass. Music is important to the TV show and Aria (B-26, anyone?), so I wanted to pull a pair of headphones I could see Aria wearing around campus. Finally, her shower caddy wouldn’t look like any old shower caddy, so I picked a cute pattern from PB Teen.

I love Aria Montgomery, and her style was definitely informative for my own. Designing a dorm room for her was so fun, and I hope it brings a little inspiration to those of you living in a dorm this year or a smaller apartment!

Pillows: Kitty | Fringe | Moon | Namastay in Bed | Pattern | Velvet

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Second, we have Spencer Hastings, the embodiment of a stylish academic. Preppy and feminine, I wanted Spencer’s room to have an elegant feel but remain young. I also wanted the decorations to reflect Spencer’s ambition and drive. Spoiler alert: you get a glimpse of Spencer’s dorm in a flashback, and it was way too bland to be real.  Anyway, I started with a velvet duvet in a soft gray tone (a nice shade that’s more durable than white but still light and neutral). Similar to Aria, I imagine Spencer would have a decent amount of pillows. However, I wanted to mix her preppy upbringing with the more laid-back feel her style takes on by the final high school season of the show. I mixed crisp blue and white pillows with cream and floral patterns for the pillows. For wall art, I chose pieces that are most appropriate for her: Latin to reflect the time spent studying, a horse art piece to show appreciation for her equestrian background, and the spines of “books” with great qualities topped with glasses to illuminate her studious attitude.

For a pinboard, I liked the gold scalloping and burlap texture. I also imagine Spencer takes organization and school supplies rather seriously, so chose a clean, clear paper organizer and a preppier print for the storage boxes. I also included a pencil cup from Kate Spade. I imagine Spencer is a “go go go” kind of college student, so included a travel cup for her coffee so she can always have some with her. Finally, I feel like shower caddies are SO important but an oft forgot item, so I chose a pink, practical caddy from PB Teen for Spencer.

Pillows: Bow | & Symbol | Grecian Print | Rise & Shine | Whales | Shag

I personally believe I am a mixture of Aria and Spencer in how I decorate! screen-shot-2017-08-08-at-1-50-57-pm.png

Finally, we have the one and only Rory Gilmore. To clarify, her “dorm” at Yale was unrealistically large. I mean, maybe Yale gives nice rooms to first-year students, but her suites always felt more like apartments. Still, for my version of Rory’s room, I chose to focus on the things that she couldn’t live without, which are coffee and her academics (books, laptop, killer book bag). I think Rory would definitely have a coffee maker, which today would be a Keurig. Additionally, to have coffee she would need some great mugs. A simple navy and white mug, a ruled paper print mug, and a “coffee before talkie” mug all seem to fit the bill.

I also chose a marble hard top case for Rory’s laptop, as its stylish but also protects her computer. I also believe the Mark & Graham travel tote would function as a great book bag. A few wall hangings I picked for Rory’s design highlight her love of books, coffee, and becoming the next Christiane Amanpour. To pay homage to her Harvard turned Yale dream board in her childhood bedroom, I also included a Yale pennant. Rory seemed practical and not “frilly,” if you will, with her decorations so I chose a practical caddy. For bedding, I stayed simple with few pillows (1, 2) as I think Rory’s decorating style is far more simple than most.

Which design is your favorite?


Callie leigh


Dorm Room Decorating Tips

Hello, World.

One of things I miss most about college is decorating a dorm room. While I absolutely love my house in Virginia and wouldn’t change how I decorated my room, I treated dorm rooms like blank slates. I loved that you could change a few simple details and feel like you had a whole new room. So, today I am here with my best advice for making a home in your dorm room! There are many things that can transform the often small space that is a dorm room into a cozy home that you will enjoy returning to at the end of a long study day.

Making your dorm room

Photo by Priscilla du Preez via Unsplash 

One || Less is more. I think the only thing that didn’t work for me in a dorm room was the space…obviously. On-campus housing typically offers pretty tight quarters, unless you live in an apartment style room (and even still there are space issues). The best thing you can do to feel at home without feeling claustrophobic is maximizing space. How do you do this? Well, you pick what you are willing to sacrifice space for, and then save space everywhere else. Saving space means maximizing space. In order to maximize space, you should try to figure out ways to create dual-functionality. I used to have desk in my room that was a desk for most of the day, and a makeup /get ready table in the morning and evening. However, I fought clutter by storing my “get ready” materials (hair brushes, curling irons, blow dryer, makeup, etc.) under my bed or in my bottom desk drawer.

Two || Make it your own with the largest items. If you’re unsure how to bring your personality out or make yourself more comfortable, I advocate choosing pieces that speak to you and that will be clearly displayed. For example, spend a little extra time finding bedding that resembles your personality. If you are happy and cheerful, pick a vibrant duvet that you won’t get sick of in a few months. Or, if you are more simple and understated, a classic white eyelet may be a better choice. I think there a a few spaces you can bring your personality out: the bed and the desk. Let’s be honest, the bed and the desk are basically most of the dorm room. You may have other spaces, but the bed and the desk are the main areas. Create a collage or gallery wall above your bed (while conforming to all wall hanging rules). Add a vase of flowers to your bookshelf!

Three || Shop the sale. A lot of popular stores have back to school specials, and I definitely recommend taking advantage of the sales. PB Teen always has great bedding bundles. While the price may seem a little steep, they are built to last you four years, so it’s well worth it! Follow the stores you like who sell dorm furnishings or accessories, and try to track when they offer sales! Another pro tip: many places discount their items after peak move-in season, so if there is something you like, but don’t need immediately, wait and by the middle of September, it’ll probably be on sale.

Four || Consult your roommate. There may be decoration ideas that you think are brilliant, but your roommate may think are not brilliant. For example, I wanted to buy a rug for my dorm room my sophomore year. I thought it’d be a chic, grown-up addition to the room. I asked my roommate, however, before I made a purchase. I knew there was a possibility that my rug would go into her space, and I didn’t know if she’d be okay with a rug. She gave me the green light, so I ordered a rug. However, we quickly learned part of the reason it was so cheap is because it shed… everywhere. I ended up removing the rug at Christmas because we were both sick of our stuff being covered in tan colors shavings (it was one of those neutral  knot rugs). The point here is make sure your roommate is okay with your design choices, especially when they may affect her space!

I plan to do a “get dorm room ready with me” post soon where I will style a few dorm rooms. In the meantime, what are your favorite places to shop? If you’re beginning college, what kind of decorations are you hoping to do?

Callie leigh

Decorating a Dorm Room into a Home

Hello, World.

With the rustle of back to school sales, and the horrific realization that the sun is going down earlier beginning already, it’s time to talk about those of you going back to college or beginning college for the first time! My favorite and least favorite part of college was dorm living. I hated the small rooms, the feeling of being cramped and having limited ability to decorate exactly how I wanted, but I also loved picking out the items I wanted to use to decorate my space. I loved having a small nook that I could change up every once and a while. Decorating a dorm room is fairly simple in the sense that you have a small space, and can make it totally your own! However, sometimes finding where to begin, or figuring out how to decorate a small space is problematic! Today, I want to share a couple of looks that I found through Havenly that I think are great for dorm spaces. Havenly has a new dorm service, where you can shop their designs for $1000 or $500, and go from there. You can also tweak the rooms to make them your own if you want. I think it’s a great option for those of you who want a great room, but don’t know where to begin.


Shop this look with Havenly

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Making a dorm room home is based in making it feel like home. If your room doesn’t feel like home, it won’t be a home, it’ll just be a dorm room. Replicating feelings of home come from having a photo or two of those people who make your life complete, and having little prints that make you feel at ease, it’s also about having a bed that is extremely comfortable and makes you feel excited to go back to your room! You want your space to feel like somewhere that you created, that you can be productive in, and where you feel immediately comfortable as you turn your key, and enter the space. Even though you’re away from your home, you can create a new home where you’re at school. Even if you don’t necessarily like your school, or are having a rough patch, I believe that a cozy dorm room can make you feel at ease and at home. I recommend thinking about aspects of your home life that make you feel most comfortable and most at home, and start building a dorm design around that!


Shop this look with Havenly 

I love a good dorm design! One of my favorite dorm room designs is Samantha’s of Preptista. I think her room is just so cute! I love the use of gold, navy, and pink! Even though I’m moving into a townhouse this fall, I think a pretty dorm room is super fun to design! I do recommend buying the most important and most likely to use items first, and add throughout the year in order to keep your room uncluttered! 

What kind of dorm room do you want?

Callie leigh

Senior Year Room Inspiration

Hello, World.

Since I’m a Resident Assistant, I will live on campus all four years of undergrad. While this is great, I also feel like I’m super ready to have an apartment of my own. I’m a point in my life that I feel an apartment would be amazing, especially since I have friends who live in an apartment. However, I still live in a dorm. This year, I want my room to feel super grown up, and as close to an apartment as possible. I wanted to share my current inspiration for my room.
senior year dorm inspo
Bedding | Headboard (custom, DIY on its way) | Twinkle Lights | Print 1 | Print 2 | Print 3 | Chair | Gold and Blue Saying Pillow (temporarily on sale) | Gold Arrow Pillow | Sheets | Gold Frame

I want my room to be feminine, with clean lines, and touches of warm character. I love ruffles, and I love gold. Can you tell my color scheme is influenced by blog? I’m obsessed with blush, blue, and gold! I’m excited to see how my room comes together. I’m also super excited to decorate my whole hall, which is a coffee house theme!

Callie leigh

Dorm Inspiration: Bedside

Hello, World.

I know it’s still July, and I know you probably want to tear up any magazine that mentions the dirty phrase ‘back to school,’ but I’m here to tell you that if you’re heading to college this fall, back to school doesn’t have to be negative! Actually, going to college for the first time can be super exciting. Especially since you get to decorate a dorm room! I go crazy over decorating. I try to make my dorm room better and more unique every single year! I absolutely love decorating a dorm room because not only do I get to pick a bunch of cute stuff, but I also have the opportunity to turn a rather bland, boring room into something spectacular.

Each year, I make a sort of peg board through Pinterest to brainstorm ideas of the bed storage solutions, the best bedding places, and the best deals for college stuff! I keep a lot of the same stuff I’ve already used or had, but I also incorporate a lot of new pieces. This year, I was torn between trying to prep up my dorm room or just add more bohemian pieces. When you move into a dorm room, you’ll realize that your bedding is crucial. Most beds become couches during the day and only beds by night. You bedding should be the item that the rest of your room is styled around because it’s typically the largest item in the room! I’m planning a series of posts about dorm room decorating, and this installment is regarding how to decorate your bed and around your bed. Unless you have a window above your bed, I’d suggest hanging artwork to act as a headboard.

Here are some preppy dorm rooms I feel are super cute:
While these are absolutely adorable, I feel like my personal taste shies away from the really loud bright colors. I prefer muted color schemes with pops of brightness. But, if you do want a totally preppy, loud and cheery room, this is how I would style it:
Bright bedding // Gold Monogram of First Initial // clean, typical college lamp // phone case and ID combo wristlet to hang on bedpost so you remember it // a cute key chain // a fun bulletin board to hang on the wall above the length of your bed to hold photos of family and friends // a lilly pulitzer agenda that should basically live near your bed other than when you sleep // a bright laundry bag to be stored under the bed // plain under the bed storage to maximize floor space in the rest of the room.

Now, if you prefer a more bohemian style dorm room, or one that is a little more eclectic and not so girly, here are some bohemian rooms I like:
These two rooms have so many cute elements, but I feel like I still like some really feminine, preppy touches in my room. I do LOVE the record player and bookshelf, though, in the bottom photo. Seriously so adorable. Here is how I put together my ideal bohemian room:
In this room I leaned more toward a bright but still muted and calm bedspread, natural wood touches for under bed storage, a canvas laundry bag, stacks of books under the bed, a small journal to keep a running account of your first year in college, earplugs to keep under your pillow (if your roommate ends up being loud at odd times, these will save your life), and headphones to listen to music while you work on homework on your bed turned couch. Also, The cute sitting pillow thing is GREAT for doing homework on your bed because it cushions you from leaning against a wall for hours. As for above your head, I love the classic printed artwork of the silhouette and sunglasses.

Some of you, like me, may be more inclined to find a common ground between the two above looks. There are a few ways to mix preppy and bohemian in home decor, and I thought I’d share two adorable rooms that I feel accomplish this!
This room remains on the preppier side of things, but isn’t SO preppy that it’s in your face.
This room is also on the preppier side of the line, but if you switched the pattern on the ottomans to something a little more like the bedspread in my model bohemian room, and changed the color scheme a bit, I think it’d be a great compromise. Here is how I would mix the two styles:
In this look, I kept the monogram of the initial because a monogram immediately adds some prep, a clean but accented lamp, a silhouette of the world is boho, but the Vogue artwork is classic enough to be preppy, and you can supplement the two pieces with a bulletin board mixing photos and Vineyard Vines stickers. A personalized laundry bag that is canvas is perfect for mixing boho and prep. Wooden under bed storage is perfectly classy but also adds a bit of natural elements to soften the room. I picked this bedspread because I felt it was super classic, but also had an urban feel to it. As for accent pillows, an eccentric orange pillow with gold detailing is great, accompanied by a monogram and a sitting pillow. I would also add in the earplugs and journal from my model boho room, and the wristlet and key ring from the preppy model room.

What’re your ideas for dorm room decorating this year?

Callie leigh

P.S. You can see my sophomore year dorm room here, though I’m SO excited to move into my junior room. :)

P.P.S. The photos of the dorm rooms in this post are from Pinterest, not my own!