When I headed off for college, (back in the dark ages) I had a hand-me-down-comforter, bed sheets from the bottom of the linen closet, some plastic storage cubes and a half a dozen free posters given out at a local promotion. There wasn’t even such a thing as dorm room decorating budget. You moved in, you made do, and you moved on. Today, the pendulum has swung far in the other direction. Moving in days at colleges not only include eager freshman and tearful parents, but not uncommonly, a decorator. For a dorm room.
According to The National Retail Federation, students—well, really parents—are spending about $900 to decorate a dorm room. There are now registries at stores for students to post wish list items. Forget about paying for college. How about that Laura Ashley bedspread? Pinterest has boards with ideas for decorating, which is great, but the newfound industry with products created just for dorm rooms has become a $50 billion a year boon.
I get that kids want to be creative and make their own space in a dorm. In my opinion, part of the process of college is making do in smaller spaces. Part of higher education is learning how to study without 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets or high tech modular shelving. I suppose it’s a shock for millennials to leave their well-stocked and decorated nest and move into what looks like a cell block by comparison. Over the years, the retail industry has had us carve out castles and race car bedrooms for our kids, so a plain, extra long twin is going to look pretty drab. Sure it’s cute, but have we caused a problem in the process? Parents need to take a good hard look and make sure we haven’t taken the decorative touch over the top. Should or could this level be maintained? By making a bedroom too comfy for our kids, are we putting them at a disadvantage? Would you hire a decorator for a dorm? How much did you spend to decorate in college? With college so costly, are you also planning (or saving) for decorating? At least ask yourself this; why would you spend good money on a fancy rug when most of the time it will just be covered in dirty clothes?