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For a full list of rules and regulations governing CU's residence halls, visit housing.colorado.edu/policies-procedures/residence-hall-handbook .

Decorating your new dorm digs as an incoming freshman is one of your first "adult" privileges in life -- and it's hard to do without knowing where to shop, what your essentials are and, of course, what is and is not allowed in the University of Colorado's dorms.

When it comes to shopping, there are a few good spots to hit in Boulder for your dorm-décor needs, including:

1.Target (2800 Pearl St.): This outlet has long been the center of Boulder's college-living needs, with an annual back-to-school display and some sales on college-esque items.

2. Walmart: Although the closest ones are either in Lafayette or out by FlatIrons Crossing mall, the chain has some pretty sweet deals on stuff for back to school.

3. Bed, Bath and Beyond (1741 28th St.): This store is just amazing, and while its prices may not be as good as Walmart or Target, they'll have any random gadget your heart desires.


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Kelci Newlin and Maggi Steury were roommates their freshman year at CU and lived in Kitteridge West on campus. They said they shopped at Anthropologie at Twenty Ninth Street because, "It's more vibrant and creative than other places."

The girls also went to Target for a few items, but "everyone has stuff from there," Newlin said.

A good idea before buying any large piece of furniture or even a lamp is to price compare online between Target and Walmart.

Breanna Miller, left, a high school senior from Castle Rock, takes a tour of the dorms at the University of Colorado in March. If you haven t been planning
Breanna Miller, left, a high school senior from Castle Rock, takes a tour of the dorms at the University of Colorado in March. If you haven t been planning your dorm décor since March, don t worry we ve got a quick and dirty guide for you. ( MARTY CAIVANO )

"We try to stay pretty close," Heidi Palmer, manager of the Lafayette Walmart, said abut price comparisons between the rival stores.

According to Kelly Olson, the executive team leader in charge of guest experience at Target, the Boulder store is the No. 1 "Back to School" store in the company. That's not much of a surprise, given how the centrally located store has many discounted essential items and uses basically the entire store space to advertise them during the back-to-school weeks.

"We always know where our competitors are at," Olson said. "We check out prices at other local stores."

Must-have items

These five things are highly recommended for any incoming freshman:

1. Alarm clock: Do NOT trust yourself to get up for those early morning classes on a "brain timer." The atmosphere is different in college (I'm not talking about altitude), and sleeping in is almost involuntary. I'm not kidding, it's like the words "8 a.m. freshman math class" initiate an inter-cranial sleeping pill or something.

2. Good sturdy backpack: You're no longer in high school, where Hello Kitty or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles backpacks were OK, so get yourself a good bag. There are so many different choices it's ridiculous. Hiking bags, snowboarding backpacks, classic Jansport backpacks and those Chrome bicycle bags are just a few of the choices for keeping your books and your back in check for those long treks across campus.

3. Some sort of music playing device: I'm not recommending you go out and blow your money on a brand-new iPod Touch or anything. But having some sort of distraction from the hustle and bustle of campus life while actually on campus is a good idea. It's also a great way to keep your roommates' video game sound effects out of your head while you're studying for that physics test the next day. We all know that some people do still have those Discmans from when we were kids, so break 'em out.

4. Light: I know it sounds corny, but having effective light so you can study during those "dark hours" is great. And studying in low light can totally strain your eyes and lead to headaches -- and giving up on said studying. So pick up one of those brightly colored desk lamps and don't trust the glow of the newest season of "Jersey Shore" to light your environmental studies book.

5. Message board: Either dry erase or chalkboard. It's a good idea for reminders or random inappropriate messages from your roommate. If you're one of those really forgetful people, get a couple of them and just put them everywhere around your room. Or instead of a blank board, get one of the calendar dry erase boards. You may be surprised at how much you use it. Plan out those parties, remember when your next huge test is or just at least remember what day of the week it is.

Rules for decorating

Moving into a CU dorm? Well there are some rules that apply for decorating your new space. Emily Pfleghaar is the assistant director of student conduct and residence life at CU, and said the most important thing to do is recognize and be conscious of fire regulations.

Tapestries, flags and cloth hangings have to be within 3 feet by 3 feet, and cannot be connected to one another or hanging from the ceiling.

In fact, according to Pfleghaar, nothing can be hanging from the ceiling or obstructing any smoke alarms in any way. These are the two rules she sees most often broken.

To learn more about the rules from Housing and Dining Services and to get a basic move-in guide, visit housing.colorado.edu/policies-procedures/residence-hall-handbook.

Some other things you may not know are or aren't allowed in CU's residence halls:

Lovesacs are OK, beanbags are not.

You can have up to a 10-gallon tank for fish or underwater turtles.

Incense is not allowed, even candles for decoration are not technically permitted.

You can buy twin XL sheets from the Residence Hall Linen Program if needed.

Posters are totally all right, just check with roommate before filling up the wall.

You don't have a landline in your room, so forget bringing that football-shaped phone.

You must leave up the curtains or blinds provided to you by the dorms.

You must keep all furniture in the room that was there when you moved in. (No swapping.)

Bringing your own rug or piece of carpet is allowed, as long as it fits.

Heaters, halogen lamps and heat lamps are not permitted because of fire hazards.

Command strips or Poster Puddy are recommended for wall hangings; no holes are allowed.

"We also recommend students go into their new living space before buying any more stuff for their room," Pfleghaar said.