Tamara Stephenson Interior Design; root cellar designs, LLC

Tamara Stephenson Interior Design; root cellar designs, LLC
reach out to our team for an interior design consultation or to see our collection of wallpaper and fabric sold to the designer trade, rootcellardesigns@gmail.com

Monday, August 26

A Dorm Decorating Round-Up, Part 1: send your kid off to college with a comfortable, layered bed

Cornell University
the Cathedral at Cornell University
 dropping Gabby for Freshman Orientation
(brother & sister)

Harry Potter library at Cornell
it's happening...
my lil' girl is heading off to college. 
Here's my off-to-college pity party rant...
 I don't usually drone on about motherhood over here on Nest but it's interesting to note that when you make the biggest decision of your life to become a parent, nobody hands you a manual or outlines all the details of what will be expected of you. As soon as that baby is born and thrust into your arms, you are on a fast-moving train, and no matter your career, education, looks, finances or ambitions, parenthood defines you in a way that is all-encompassing.  You spend much of the first years trying to juggle, keep your head above water and relish every moment.  At the same time, doing the "right thing" becomes an obsession for many as we read every manual and participate in as many baby classes we can.   Parenthood is not easy, but it certainly is rewarding.  Already in my thirties when I had my first child, I had lived a full life, traveled and was ready.  It made the experience even easier because Gabby was and is one of the most delightful people -- happy, loving, effervescent, smart and witty.  Even during stressful times, I did not wish the early years away, and then the day arrives when your little one is standing by the door impatiently waiting to hop in the car to leave for college.  All your friends and family tell you to keep the texting, phone calls and communications to a minimum and give them their space.  This is true, and it is time to take a step back and keep your finger's crossed that all the lectures  and leading by example have settled in, and now your child will do the "right thing" when on their own.  It really is hard to turn all the "mothering" off in one day, but that's just one more tall order of being a good parent.  They leave, that's what kids do and now I will forever understand that pained look in my mom's eyes every time we hugged goodbye.

What's a mom to do?
Since I am an interior designer and design blogger, 
focus on decorating the dorm, of course. 
Set the room up, and walk away moms...just walk away!
They will come home, 
they love you!  

Today, we packed the car to the brim and drove Gabby to Ithaca to Cornell University.  I did lots of research for the dorm essentials, and over the next couple of weeks I will share them with you in my dorm decorating series.  Check back through September for regular Dorm Room Round Ups (like this first one on bedding) focusing on one aspect of the dorm's plan with sources and review of products.  
Dorm Decorating 
Round Up
Part 1: Bedding
with 20 other bedding sources
for more sources, check out
Here is my article in 
Dan's Papers magazine East End Nest column 
in the Hamptons
about decorating a dormitory utilizing local resources
How to layer a comfortable dorm bed.  
Since most college dormitory rooms are small and quite basic,
the main focus for Gabby was to create a layered, comfy bed. 
Firstly, we picked up a chunky textured foam pad to go underneath the mattress cover (at Bed, Bath & Beyond) to make that potentially lumpy, hard twin-size bed a little bit more cozy.  Add a set of sheets on top of that, then two cotton blankets on top of the sheets (one ecru, the other lavender, because it is darn cold in Ithaca).  I like to put a matelasse or coverlet on top of the cotton blankets, then a folded comforter (down or down-like) at the end of the bed.  The key to a comfortable dorm bed is layering to create a soothing "nest".
this was our color palette, 
and I love this House Beautiful paintbox app
top blanket in lavender from Garnet Hill
ecru cotton bottom blanket from Target

we found a pretty duvet cover with a custom monogram option on sale at
Pottery Barn Dorm.
This simple cover in white with a chocolate brown edging and lavender monogram worked with our plan
 we began our decorating project by choosing a pair of these green pillows (above).  I found the pillows by Ralph Lauren at TJ Maxx.  Gabby loved the design, the color and the little skull added some edge.  These two pillows became the design inspiration for the room, then Gabby chose the colors lavender, chocolate brown, grey, white and ecru to work with the green.  The two muted pastel colors offset the neutrals and add soothing color (good for studying). She did not want it too busy in order to work with her roommate's patterns and colors. 

we found these pretty tan and white floral sheets at TJ Maxx by Cynthia Rowley

Our bedding check list:  
egg crate bed pillow top (for comfort)
mattress pad
two or three sets of sheets in extra long size Twin 
top bed coverlet
lighter cotton blanket
 duvet and duvet cover
1 European pillow.  
2 20" square pillows
2 kingsize bed pillows
18" tailored bed skirt 
(Gabby's bed was set high to allow storage under the bed, 
therefore the 18" bed skirt was needed for length)
optional:  a bolster pillow or smaller square or rectangle shaped pillow for decoration
For pillows, I like one European sized pillow
(perfect size for propping up in bed to do homework).
How fortuitous when HomeGoods invited me to be part of an exclusive shared blogger Pinterest board where 10 designers pin HomeGood finds shown in our interiors.  I have admired HomeGoods for quite some time, and now with their $250 gift certificate I get to sample the goods, incorporate some of their products into my interiors.  I will outline some of my HomeGoods products during this series, so look for them or on our 

 Let's start with why we chose these colors: 
College dorms can be a tad dreary, and I am all for neutral interiors but maybe not all neutral for a dorm.  On the flip side, so many of what shows up in catalogs for dorm decorating is bright and overly loud.  There are often roommates to contend with, so keeping a soothing palette with bits of color seems to be the best choice.  My first instinct was to look for her favorite colors in muted tones.  
 she bought this brown cashmere throw while on a class trip to Peru, so we worked brown into the plan.  The lovely neutral silvery-ecru snakeskin-esque throw pillow  adds a little sparkle  (Homegoods)
Gabby has many design style options when making her bed, with three different sets of sheets, two blankets and lots of pillows she can change it up weekly.  
Now that her bedding is complete,
check back next week for sources and ideas 
on curtains, furniture, lighting, 
accessories and essentials for dorm decorating
plus, here are 20 other dorm bedding options
we pondered... 
at Neiman Marcus
I like the design of the Imogen Duvet from
2. Anthropologie
 I enjoyed the variety of chunky, cotton blankets in many colors from
3.  Serena & Lily

4. Garnett Hill 
coverlets are textured and chunky as well
5. Roberta Freymann's Roller Rabbit 
colorful bedding would brighten up a dull dorm.
These blue and orange combinations are some of our favorites.  
*note:  limited for some dorms since there are no XL Twin options  

6. Pottery Barn Dorm
has lots of duvet covers and we loved this lavender one but we went with the chocolate brown one they had on sale instead, then paired it with a lavender monogram and a lavender blanket.
7. Target
has inexpensive bedding with good colors choices
8. Lily & Serena's 
throw pillows and duvet covers offer mix and match options
Aviary Coverlet by 
9. Anthropologie is a youthful pattern 
I love this vintage looking 
Floral Scarf Duvet Cover from
10. Urban Outfitters 
11. IKEA
I love Ikea's white linens, curtains and throw pillows.  I like this graphic black and white illustration-like pillow for a dorm bed
these cool Eastern Elephant pillows bring good luck
12. Urban Outfitters
13. Kate Spade's 
bed linens are bright and fresh
sold at TJ MAXX and Bed, Bath & Beyond
if navy is what you're after, I like this set from
14. Crate & Barrel
Love this tie dye looking blue and white bedcover from
15. West Elm

I almost picked this white and navy pillow from 
16. etsy.com

nosegay sheets from
17. Urban Outfitters 
offers a colorful, yet sophisticated pattern
*please note they do not offer XL Twin for most dorm beds

we like these letter pillows too
18. Jonathan Adler

we did buy this soft, chunky throw from 
19. HomeGoods by Cynthia Rowley 
and it makes for a soft, inexpensive extra blanket for a dorm room. 
(stop back next week to see how we creatively used it
in Gabby's room) 

for a neutral, soothing palette 
I liked the colors and designs from
20. Nautica at Bed, Bath & Design
Happy Nesting 
XO Tamara