College Dorm Makeover with Apartment Therapy Founder Maxwell Ryan ’89

College Dorm Makeover with Apartment Therapy Founder Maxwell Ryan ’89


Hey I’m Maxwell Ryan I’m the founder of Apartment
Therapy, an Oberlin graduate from 1989 and I’m back on campus doing what I loved to do
back then, which is redo my dorm room. Come take a look, I’m over at Barrows. All right here I am here in Barrows and this
is what I’ve got to work with: I’ve my desk and chair, I’ve got my plastic covered twin
bed, and I’ve got some shelves and closets on that wall and a little book case over here. More importantly this is what I cannot do. I cannot cover this wall with more than twenty
percent of fabric, I cannot put any window dressing or window treatments around those
windows, I cannot have an electric grill, I cannot put anything into this wall, and
more importantly I cannot have any water-filled furniture. It’s gonna be tough: Let’s see what happens. So now we’re down town and I’m going to get
a few things from Watsons. And now I need to go to Ben Franklin. Come on in we’re all done. Ta-da! So it only took a few hours but let me just
walk you through the five big tips behind this room that will help you in a small space
or a dorm room. One: Add textures – add textiles. Here I’ve put a rug on the floor, which is
soft and cozy that you want to just be on it and sit on it. I’ve added these two poofs and as you can
see behind the bed I went to the five-and-dime and I bought bolts of fabric and made a headboard. Number Two: Add lights. You don’t want to use the light on the ceiling
– you want to use lights low down that are warm, that you can turn on and off. So you’ve got a desk lamp, string lights right
around the room, we’ve even got a “good vibe” light over there and another light beside
the bed. Three points of light in the room below eye-level
that you can control. Number three: the bed – the bed is actually
the main attraction of your dorm room or any small space so make it big! Make it as cozy as you want pull all the pillows
you want on it, all the comfy bedding you want on it, and then make a headboard around
it. I made one out of fabric and then went further
and I put temporary wallpaper on the wall to make it look even bigger. It’s sort of a big, cozy, place to land. Number Four: Add plants. Plants are literally alive – they will enliven
your space. You take care of them and they take care of
you: plants are essential. Number Five: last but not least you want to
have something personal. You want to have something that expresses
your spiritual self, your highest self. It can be a photograph of your family – I
put a photograph from my travels. It can be your altar, it can be literally
a religious altar. It can be a piece of art that’s really dear
to you – that one thing in your room that does that and your room is complete. Oh, wait! One more thing – wash the windows. If you have dirty windows it’s going to kill
the room so make sure you wash the windows if the college hasn’t yet. So there you go! Now you know how to make your dorm room fabulous. And this one is so fabulous I don’t want to
leave so I’ll see you later – I’m going to lay down and take a nap.


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