If you’re staying in a dorm room, chances are there are fire regulations you need to follow. One of those regulations probably prohibits covering your walls in loose-leaf. The only place I’m allowed to put up paper are on my cork boards, generously provided in every room by housing. Last year I had one ginormous one, but this year I’ve got two decent-sized ones. I’ve come up with different ways to use each one to best suit my needs.
In last year’s dorm, I achieved functionality by having calendars and flyers on the bottom corner nearest to my door, where I could grab any of them before going out. My study sheets and character charts were in the bottom corner where I could reach them from my desk.
For everything to come together without anything looking weird, I took the biggest piece, my Audrey Hepburn poster, and put it in the middle. Because it was black and white, it didn’t immediately overwhelm the look and instead kept things balanced when I added such bright colours all around it. Then I put up the normal sized pages, and filled in any gaps with smaller pictures, fitting them all like a jigsaw. For me, this achieved a balanced maximalist look which was exactly what I was going for. The rest of my room was very plain, so I tried to make things a little more interesting.
For most of the pictures, I got free magazines and catalogues and took out the pictures I liked the most. I got the Audrey poster at the school poster fair. Most universities will have a poster fair. I recall going to one at University of Calgary back home a couple of years back. Over time, I personalized the board by filling it with pictures I drew, train tickets, a map from trips to London, a postcard from Stonehenge, and even a keychain from a show I volunteered at in Southampton. All of this added a nice personal touch.
Because this board was right above my bed, I didn’t want it too busy. I wanted it to be calming and I didn’t want anything to fall on me. My room this year is a lot smaller and more concentrated than last year, so to counter that I went for a simple look and colour scheme.
I found the lights at Primark half-off for £3 ($5.70 CAD). They run on battery, which is what I wanted because the only outlets in my room are on my desk (Great planning, university architects!). I put them up so I could reach the switch from bed, and I don’t use them often, but they look nice whether I use them or not.
The Alice in Wonderland poster I got at the poster fair. It was also half-off. Tip: Don’t buy posters the first time around. The fair always comes back and then everything’s on sale.
I made the map in my Fiction For Children class, and I needed it somewhere where I wouldn’t lose it or forget about it. I can easily refer to it from my desk when I’m writing. The three smaller pictures are watercolours I did of some characters from my Scriptwriting For Mainstream Television class.
The board still has colour, but nothing too attention-grabbing. I kept the lower third bare in case I bumped it from bed in the dark. I didn’t want pushpins on my blankets.
I am a student. I expect by this time next year I will have perfected the utilitarian look. Who needs to worry about attractiveness when it’s just so much easier so use the board for what you need? I have a pin for my keys, a takeout menu for food, some paper with writing stuff on it, some flyers, and a Christmas card just because. I’ve still got room for anything else I might add to it in the future, and I really couldn’t care less about it. Highly recommended for busy students and other efficient people.