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  • Laura Moss / Associated Press

    Don't be afraid to go bold with the larger accents in your dorm. Color and pattern will add some big character to your small space.

  • Laura Moss / Associated Press

    It's a design dream and a challenge: how to outfit a small, nondescript college dorm room.

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Three must-have items for organization

Command hooks : I have a command hook for my lanyard, and one for my shower towels. My roommate last year also used them to hang up necklaces because desk space is scarce. Just make sure you get the right ones for the weight you want to hold up, and apply them according to the instructions so they don’t keep falling down.

Storage bins: Last year I had a closet so I didn’t really need these, but this year I’m in an older residence hall and I only have a small wardrobe. I stack three pull-out bins on top of each other and keep them under my bed to store my clothes. They can be used for anything.

Hanging shoe organizer: There’s not a lot of floor space, and you don’t want to be tripping over your shoes left on the ground. I have a hanging shoe organizer with 10 cubby holds and 4 slots for flip flops on the sides. This way I don’t have to leave some of my favorite shoes at home.

Source: Cady Gorhum, former CU Residence Hall Association director

Size matters.

So when it comes to dorms, maximizing space is essential.

College students, renters and interior designers across the country have come up with some smart and sexy ideas for merging function and fun in small quarters.

Bring some personality to your pad with these tips.

Utilize every corner

No corners can be ignored when you’re sharing a small space with a roomie or three.

Search low and high and everywhere in between for extra storage space.

Cady Gorhum, former director of the Residence Hall Association, said getting organized can simplify life in your minimal space, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.

Gorhum suggests raising your bed using bed lifts, which can increase storage space or even provide a large enough space to add a desk or extra seating.

“I’ve never had my bed lofted, but I do lift my bed up to the highest pegs so I can fit storage bins and my clothes hamper underneath it,” she said.

The cantaloupe rule

Reduce clutter using the cantaloupe rule.

Use accents that are at least as big as a cantaloupe.

Smaller items will make your dorm look cluttered so look for medium to large vases, chunky trinkets and bulky oddities to use sparingly in the space.

The rule will help you reduce the amount of knickknacks in your space and allow the larger pieces to shine instead of fighting with a cluster of pieces.

Don’t be afraid to go bold with the larger accents. Color and pattern will add some big character to your small space.

Double duty

Make your decor work for you by buying funky pieces that are also functional.

Instead of a love seat, find a funky futon with colorful sheets or striped fabric over the cushion that will add a pop to the space and provide a space for friends to crash.

Nothing is more functional than moveable furniture. Pick up a Raskog rolling cart from Ikea or spray paint a thrift store bar cart on wheels. These handy carts can provide a perfect display space for books or decor that can be rolled out of the way. Or, move the cart into the middle of the room and use the top shelf as an eating space, desk, game table or work space.

Lighten the load

Lighten up your dorm by maximizing natural and artificial light while making your space feel larger.

Layer shear curtains over your windows to allow natural light in without giving up the privacy you need from nearby neighbors.

Add a floor and desk lamps for increased light after the sun goes down. And use battery-operated lights to brighten up dark corners like closets or as art lights to draw attention to your favorite items in the room.

Mirrors also help brighten up small spaces by reflecting light. Use odd shapes, varying sizes and gold tints, like Ikea’s HÖNEFOSS mirror, to add color and interest.

A personal pop

Make your room a fun place to be by adding some personal touches like pictures or posters.

Plaster silly selfies with friends on the wall or use a cork board to tack up cut-outs from magazines, quotes, posters and tickets that can be changed easily and often.

“I have a lot of pictures and posters on my wall that just make me happy to be in my room,” Gorhum said.

First, check with your RA about rules for hanging items on the wall. But don’t let restrictions get you down. Pinterest is full of creative ideas for hanging personal items.

Try stringing twine from one bed post to the other and using safety pins to secure photos, sketches or handwritten notes from home.

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