How To Make The Most Of A Small Dorm Room

It’s that time of year again. Students are back in school, high school graduates are headed to college and college grads are moving into their first (likely, small) places. It’s been a few years since anyone on the Glitter Guide team has entered one of these stages of life, so we’ve enlisted two experts to give us the scoop on what you need to decorate your space.

Fran Lacefield started her dorm room bedding company, Room 422, shortly after graduating from college in 2014. She recognized a need for uniquely designed dorm décor that also would work perfectly for first apartments and small spaces. She and her coworker, Pierce Persons, have been helping college girls decorate their dorm rooms for a little while now, so they definitely know the ins and outs of moving into one of those spaces.

We’re all about women entrepreneurs over here at Glitter Guide, so we really love that you took the initiative to start your own business! What’s the best advice you’d give to someone wanting to start their own business?

One piece of advice I would give to someone who is looking into starting her own business would be to have the mindset that anything is possible! With enough determination and belief in yourself, you can achieve your dream. Were there a lot of late nights, early mornings and stressful days when I started Room 422? Absolutely. Are there still long days, three years later? Yes. But, there is nothing better than having a dream and working to turn it into a reality. And, it is the best feeling in the world seeing my customers happy. There is nothing better than seeing pictures of these girls, all moved into their dorms on their first day of college. I love seeing that my products, and all that I have worked so hard for, can truly make someone else happy! That is what Room 422 is all about.

Name five things that everyone should have in their dorm room.

  1. A sound machine—I can’t live without mine! Living in a dorm with hundreds of other students, you will want all the help you can get to drown out some noise when you are trying to sleep (or study)! I recommend the Marpac Dohm-DS.
  2. A storage cube—what a life-saver! Not only does it serve as storage, but you can use it as a stepping stool and an extra seat when friends come to visit. We now offer them at Room 422!
  3. A towel wrap (you will live in it while walking to and from the bathroom)
  4. A mattress pad. Trust me, you are going to need some extra cushion on that dorm room mattress.
  5. A fan to keep by your bed.

What’s one surprising thing you took with you to college?

A steamer! Such a simple answer, but there’s nothing better! My steamer was especially useful because I was on a budget and didn’t have time or the funds for the dry cleaner. Whether it was steaming a top before going out or steaming a dress before a football game on Saturday, I could not have lived without it!

We’re obsessed with your headboards and totally want them in our own bedrooms! Tell us more about them.

Thanks! The foam headboards (they Velcro to the wall) have been and continue to be an absolute hit! I made the first foam headboard when I moved into my freshman dorm. It was made to give the look of a headboard, while simultaneously following the dorm regulations (no drilling or hammering). In addition, while studying or watching TV, it served as a comfortable cushion to rest against instead of cinder block or concrete walls. It has been amazing to see customers use them for the dorm room and come back later to order larger sizes as they move out of their dorm rooms and into apartments and homes. We actually started making the headboards in full, queen and king sizes so everyone could enjoy them, no matter what stage of life they are in. These headboards are light and easy to transport, so they are perfect for dorm rooms and beyond.

What’s your best advice for a college freshman?

Embrace the change. I can remember the excitement of college quickly fading to anxiety as my parents left me in the Tutwiler Dorm at the University of Alabama. A new city, school, friends, schedule, routine and lifestyle…it was a lot of change at one time, but I’d give anything to go back to that moment. This actually is another reason why Room 422 is so important to me. I enjoy helping these girls create and design a “home away from home,” so they can feel comfortable and enjoy an oasis during a time in life that can be intimidating. You are about to embark on such an exciting journey, and you will learn so much about yourself during the transition into college. If you can keep a positive attitude and roll with the punches, get ready for some of the best years ever.

More Dorm and Small-Space Inspiration…


Add a rug and (small) coffee table to make your space feel more like home! (via Darling Mag)

Add personal touches to the walls with photo boards and tapestries. (via Domino Magazine)

Mix and match patterns, appliques and monograms to coordinate with your roommate without having identical bedding. (via Room 422)

Bring in some life with plants that don’t need much light, or even try an artificial one! (via Urban Outfitters)

Create the feeling of separate areas by hanging curtains throughout the room. (via Domino Magazine)

Add string lights for a dreamy feeling that those fluorescent lights just don’t offer! (via @woodlandspirits)

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Author: Annie Reeves

Annie lives in Nashville, Tennessee. You can find her chatting all things style, beauty, entertaining, and home decor on her lifestyle and photography blog Annie Reeves and on Instagram at @anniereeves!