It’s Time to DORMIFY Your Space

As CollegeFashionistas your wardrobe isn't the only thing to consider when back-to-school shopping. Equally important is how to decorate your dorm room so that your style aesthetic is translated into every part of your life. Dorm room living is tough enough as it is but putting focus on your interior design can take a small space and make it instantly better.

Dormify is a brand founded on the concept of inspiring fashion enthusiasts to take their love for fashion into their college bedroom. CEO and Chief Creative Officer, Karen Zuckerman, saw a need for savvy decor for the college demographic and kept price a key factor in mind. We teamed up with Amanda Zuckerman, Karen's 20-year old daughter, to chat about tips for decorating your dorm room and how she "dormifies" her own space.

Also, check our Carolyn Amurao, New York Style Guru, Lindsay Hudson, University of Washington Style Guru, and Megan O'Boyle, SCAD Style Guru, and how they dormify their college rooms.

CollegeFashionista: As a Washington University student what is your number one priority when picking out décor for your dorm room? Do you look at color first? Pattern? What inspires you?

Amanda Zuckerman: The whole point of “dormifying” my room is to create a comfortable space that reflects my personality and style and reminds me of home, instead of the tiny, stark college dorm room I actually live in. My priorities are in keeping up with the latest trends and making sure my room looks chic and sophisticated, but also using space efficiently. I love combining pillows with different textures and patterns to create a more eclectic look on my bed. Color is important, but the color palette in my room seems to change every year. Freshman year it was neutral gray, tan, and black with a pop of green. Sophomore year was charcoal, orange, and green. This year is going to be gray, white, yellow, and I just decided to add a pop of pink (Because I really want the Indie Cred pillow!). I like to keep it interesting.

Some of my inspiration stems from fashion: I love combat boots at any season, long necklaces with inanimate objects, and loose Wildfox T-shirts. As you can see, I have an eclectic style when it comes to my personal style and dorm décor. But more importantly, my mom inspires me everyday. Watching her grow her branding and interactive firm, HZDG, my entire life, and now working together to grow Dormify, we have the same taste and I hope to follow in her footsteps. She is the busiest, possibly most insane, yet coolest and most successful working mom I’ve ever seen (not to mention, the best shopping buddy). For example, she sends me frequent emails at 4 AM with the subject #seriously or #omg and no other text. And, I never would’ve thought to add the pink Indie Cred pillow to my gray and yellow color scheme, but my mom always shows me how to make things work!

CF: Do you find it difficult to maintain a budget when trying to create a fashion forward dorm room? 

AZ: Not at all, it’s easy to express your style without breaking the bank. Just like in fashion, you can mix old and new pieces to make a look or room look like a million bucks. You can create a luxurious look with one or two designer pieces combined with less expensive, but fun pieces from Forever 21 or H&M and a little bit of creativity and style. The same thing goes when decorating your room. Last year, I bought an inexpensive patent leather snakeskin mirror from Home Goods and an array of photo frames from Target to make an interesting wall display next to my designer West Elm bedding and CB2 pillows.

This year, Dormify products will be the focus of my dorm room, but there are so many more products that I need, which usually come from Target, The Container Store, and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Wall decals can also add luxury to your room—it’s pretty cool to have a fancy chandelier in your room without the hefty price tag. (see below)

CF: What tricks can you share with readers about making a dorm room space look larger then it actually is?

AZ: My favorite space enhancing products are wall decals. I put a wall chandelier decal in my room every year and it creates a sense of space so easily, while adding character and charm to your room. We also just designed headboard wall decals that look like actual headboards and make your room look a lot less like a dorm room. Another personal favorite is the lamppost decal. In addition, mirrors create a lot of space, so I would suggest having a full-length mirror and a smaller one on the wall for a closer look. (also see advice question)

CF: What Dormify products are you lusting after this back-to-school season?

AZ: I am absolutely obsessed with our new brand of decorative pillows: the #justsayin pillow, Shut Eye pillow, and Indie Cred pillow. They are so cute and instantly add personality to your room. I’m trying to somehow integrate all three pillows into my room/apartment this fall. And the “Call Your Mother Pillow’ is a classic—one of my first Dormify products. Also in love with the Believe You Can Fly/Pinwheel of Fortune Reversible Duvet, which is my current bedding.

CF: Do you think bedroom décor is just as significant as your wardrobe collection? Is there a crossover between styling yourself and styling your dorm room?

AZ: There is 100% a crossover. Anyone who cares about styling oneself definitely cares about styling their room. Both your bedroom décor and your wardrobe can say a lot about the type of person you are and your personality—so both are significant. Just like you wouldn’t want to go out in an ugly outfit, I wouldn’t want people to spend time in my dull dorm room.

CF: Do you get to personally design any of Dormify’s collection?

AZ: I am working on designs for our incoming sorority line as well as the creative for upcoming marketing promotions. Additionally, all of Dormify’s products are run by me, since I am part of the target audience. At school, I am always on my phone answering emails to approve designs on bedding patterns, poster designs, and decals or asking for feedback on new product ideas. I spent an abnormal amount of my summer in New York answering emails about Dormify. I’m pretty much the go-to person if anyone is questioning a design or wondering if college kids will like something. It’s cool that most of the time I am not even in the office, but all of my comments and feedback are taken seriously and I can be a part of the Dormify team no matter where I am. Also, I came up with one of our new concepts to create a line of Twitter hashtag pillows. We are currently selling a #justsayin pillow, and will be rolling out a few more designs, including #seriously, #sororitygirlproblems, and #sorryimnotsorry to name a few.

CF: Any last minute advice for freshmen heading back to school unsure of how to decorate their dorm rooms?

AZ: One of my favorite pieces in my room is the ClosetMaid Cubeicals 9 Cube Organizer from Target with colorful fabric drawers and metal bins. This is a must have in your dorm room because it holds more stuff than you can imagine, it’s sleek and stylish, incredibly affordable, doesn’t take up much space, and works as a great bedside table as well! Also, another way to save space is to raise your bed as high as it goes, put your dresser underneath and buy about six large plastic drawers from Bed, Bath & Beyond to put underneath to hold a lot of your clothes.

My final piece of advice is to make your room your own. Living in a comfortable space is so important. I hate going to the library because I love being in my room. Also, coordinating with your roommate is fun. You don’t have to have matching bedding, but having a similar color scheme with different patterns or textures definitely works and will make your space look that much better. 

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