The first real test for most college students isn't in the classroom. It's figuring out how to turn those cramped dorm rooms into something they can call home.
Sure, schools throw in a couple of desks and bunk beds, but students are left to their own devices to create a stylish and comfortable haven for sleeping, studying and socializing.
Mona Williams, senior merchandise director for the Container Store, says there are six basic areas to keep in mind when tackling the dorm: bath, desk, closet, laundry, storage, and walls and doors. "You want things organized but easily accessible," Williams says. "Items that are multifunctional are key."
When it comes to storage, think vertical. "You want to maximize your space and build up," says Anne Evans, a spokeswoman for Linens 'n Things. "If you don't have something vertical, you're kind of drowning."
Given all the dual-purpose items to pick from this year, students may find they want to show off their space-savers rather than tuck them away.
"It used to be that storage was meant for hiding and putting away," Evans says. "Now, storage is really out in the open, so it needs to be both stylish and functional."
Collapsible items are high on the list of must-haves, and now it seems most anything can be broken down with ease - tables, hampers and Ottomans, just to name a few.
Adding splashes of color to the room will be no problem, as everything from bath to storage products is beaming in summer's hottest hues, including pink, lime and purple.
"We're seeing more and more color," Williams says. "It allows students to customize their room's look to really suit their personality."
FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM (MCT)