Buying new bedding? Think about buying biodegradable sheets and bed liners! Made from linen and other natural fibers, your student will sleep in breathable comfort and be contributing to a healthier environment.
For the windows, keep the treatments simple to MAXIMIZE natural sunlight. Your student can help save electricity and reap the health and learning benefits of natural daylight like elevated mood and increased productivity.
Send your co-ed off with biodegradable laundry products such as Soap Sheets or Soap Nuts. Not only easier on the environment, easier to use: just throw 2 or 3 in with the laundry: no messy measuring needed.
Let's talk electricity:
Stock up on power strips! Dorm rooms are notoriously stingy with outlets and power strips are energy savers.
Utilize compact fluorescent, energy-saving lamps (CFL bulbs). The bulbs are available in warm, natural light hues.
Invest in a small fan. It will help to keep air circulated in your student's room and is more energy efficient than those big old box fans we had. Just remind your co-ed: TURN OFF EVERYTHING WHEN NOT IN USE.
Many dorms come furnished, but if you need extra items such as a chest or chair: browse through thrift stores and vintage shops. Want to spruce up that old item with a coat of paint? Check out No-VOC paints (volatile organic compounds). Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams both carry paints in their eco-lines that won't break your budget.
I found this chest at Goodwill and painted it for my son's room. We used low-VOC black paint, and jazzed it up with new knobs....he loves it
Think COLOR. Remember, the dorm room is going to have white or off-white walls. So going with color on the furniture and bedding is a great idea!
Color trends for 2010
If the furniture is being provided, and has that "well-worn" look....try putting a personal spin on it with a favorite or vintage scarf.
The design on the left leans toward the more traditional. The design on the right is more modern with a bold scarf and modern lamp. Be sure the accessories go together: if you are going modern, stay modern! If you want traditional: stay traditional!
TRAYS! I love trays! I use them in my bathrooms....I don't know about you, but I need my items out in front of me. Trays can cleverly camouflage tabletop scratched, gouges and stains.
On the right is vintage tray in my bathroom. On the left is of a basket tray trimmed in leather in the boys' bathroom. This works great in dorm rooms where counter space is at a premium.
Dorm rooms never have enough storage. Utilize the space under the bed. You can raise the bed several inches with bed lifts and slip some roomy storage containers underneath. To stay sustainable, try to look for plastic bins with a NO. 5: these are recyclable.
Hatboxes make great storage spaces, and stacked up, they become charming side tables. Great for stashing books and school supplies.
If you have some more great ideas for dorm living...let me know!