Dorm Design 101

At first glance, an empty college dorm room might have as much appeal as a shoe box, yet there’s no reason a student can’t give his or her small living space a design makeover. Smartphones and tablets provide access to a number of resources that can help transform dull dorms into fun, functional places to live and study.

Before the big move to campus, students can start planning with sites like Design Your Dorm, a Web-based tool that allows users to browse and purchase decor and furniture for their rooms. With more than 140 dorm-room models from actual universities, students can get accurate representations of their future homes-away-from-home and have any items they choose shipped directly there.

After arriving on campus, students can measure the exact dimensions of their rooms and head out to shop for furniture that will fit. With the My Measures and Dimensions app, they can store measurements simply by taking pictures and entering the dimensions, and then, thanks to 4G LTE speeds, access all the information while at the store.

One of the challenges with limited space, however, is finding ways to incorporate personality alongside functionality and practicality. To add personal touches to their rooms, students can look to sites like Dormify, which includes a quiz – one they may actually enjoy – to get suggestions based on their preferences and personalities.

Once the masterpiece is complete, students can share photos and videos with family members back home through outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or give live, virtual tours with apps like Skype. At the same time, dorm design can continue all semester long. With apps like Garage Sale Rover, students can pinpoint local garage and yard sales for bargain buys until their very last final exam.