Dorm Room Dilemmas

By Mary Smith

Hey, seniors. I’m in the same spot that you are in the moment: I can’t decide what style dorm room I want to live in. There are so many different choices, including suite-style, community-style, and even variations on how many roommates you have. There are pros and cons based on the college and room style that you choose. I’m here to make your choice just a little bit easier (and more informed). I’ll also include a section at the end to discuss ideas for dorm room decoration, because I know some of my friends are glued to Pinterest trying to find some inspiration.

(Some colleges have different names for their dorm styles. This article is based on the average names and layouts.)


First, let’s talk about suite-style rooms. For those of you that don’t know what this is, a suite-style room is a dorm room with its own bathroom. This means that instead of sharing one or two big bathrooms with every girl on your floor, you’re only sharing with another student (or three other students). Sometimes you clean your separate bathroom, sometimes the custodial staff cleans it– this just depends on the college. Suite-style rooms can also include a small common area, with extra furniture for socializing or relaxing. A suite-style dorm room may also be more expensive.corner-residence-life







My sister, Eliza Smith, is currently a senior at Missouri State University. She has lived for two years in a suite-style dorm room with three other girls. When I asked her about her experiences with a suite, she said, “I liked my own bathroom and having a full sized fridge. What I didn’t prefer was the seclusion and expense. It was usually pretty quiet, so people who want a more social setting should think about community-style dorms.”


A community-style dorm room is the usually the kind of room you see in college movies. Everyone on your floor shares one or two bathrooms, so you lose quite a bit of privacy. At the same time, this forces you out of your room and you make friends simply from passing them in the hallway every day.  Custodial staff or students will clean the bathrooms…usually, the staff. Community-style dorms are also less expensive at most universities. bathroom










Parker Owens, MCHS graduate, is a freshman at Mizzou. The students on his floor share a bathroom. He recommends this style of dorm. “I think that it helps people make new friends that they’ll see throughout college. I know that there are at least 20 people on my floor that are in organizations or classes with me. It’s also nice because there’s a higher chance of someone finding an activity that’s interesting to them due to the message boards in the common areas. It’s definitely the way to start college,” Parker advises.

As for me, at the moment, I am leaning towards community-style. If you want to have the full college experience, you’ll have to lose a bit of privacy…but you’ll make so many new friends.

Dorm Room Ideas

Theme is key here. If you don’t have a theme, your dorm room won’t be as put together as you may want it to be. At the same time, color isn’t everything. Stick with an idea rather than two different colors for your room. This can apply to guys and girls. See the difference below:


Your bed will probably be the most crucial part of decoration, because it will likely take up the most space in your room. Find some fun pillows or a neat duvet cover and you’ll be all set. Take a look at these ideas from Pinterest here.

For all of you guys out there, you can still make your room look super rad with minimal effort.


Hang up your favorite team’s posters or pendants, or maybe use some cool old license plates as wall decoration. Different patterns like plaid or stripes can blend using the same color palette. Don’t be afraid to get rugs and fuzzy blankets; everyone likes to be comfortable. Even adding a few quirky pillows to your bed can make things look more polished.

For girls, you don’t have to stick to the pink and girly theme. Check out this simple and easy dorm room.


Mix colors and patterns to create a lively environment. You want to be relaxed, not perfectly matched. Keep this in mind. You also don’t have to stick to Target and Bed, Bath, and Beyond for all of your dorm room needs. You can DIY a lot of dorm room stuff. Click here for Seventeen’s dorm room DIYs. I love the magnetic makeup board.

Again, dorm rooms are important. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, even if it’s just for sleep. What style you choose and how you decorate could make it the best-or worst- kind of experience. Good luck!




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