29 May 2010

Dandy Dormitory Décor

As promised, we've finally compiled our article on Dandy Dormitory Décor for all our readers at University. As any student will tell you, turning a bland, sterile-looking cell of a dormitory room into a refined and elegant home without spending more than you are on tuition is a next-to-impossible feat. Have no fear; we've come to the rescue! After visiting a private Catholic institution we discovered two suitable rooms to help prompt your creative energies; one that of a first-year student, the other that of a graduating fourth year student. Between the two of them you will see how to start and where to finish.

For incoming University students, you have a clean slate with which to work. To prevent bankruptcy, most first year students will begin on a small scale, improving their rooms over time rather than all at once. At the institution we visited all students were given standard furnishings which they were obliged to keep in their rooms. One must have the flexibility to work with these conditions. Our first room is that of first year student, Monsieur C. T. of room 114.

Upon entering we find a very small, shared room (first year students are obliged to keep roommates) which has been made a quiant, functional home. The boring blinds are put to disuse and replaced by curtains and a hand-stitched quilt graces one of the beds. At the window is a potted ivy plant. Live plants are splendid devices for making hospital-like rooms more homey. Note the portraits of Tsar Nicholas II (right) and Queen Elizabeth II (left).

Another bed is dressed in red with gold silk cushions. When not utilised for dormancy, the beds are used as settees for entertaining guests. On the walls about the bed we can see a map of London, the Union Jack (our host is a notable Anglophile), and a portrait of the late George III among various religious icons. On the far right we can just see a gilt-framed mirror, a fine example of Victorian taste. It looks as if Monsieur is expecting for tea; the china has been set out.

Here we can see Monsieur's desk. One of those aforementioned 'standard furnishings' Monsieur has transformed an average desk into a conversation piece. Upon closer inspection one will note that the vase perched on top matches the lamp on the desk. The multitude of books on every level give a scholarly and gentlemanly look. Old photographs can be seen on the desk, including a family portrait of the late Tsar. The Imperial Russian Cossack hat next to the crystal dish on the top right is especially interesting, though our favourites are the old-fashioned gent's barbershop powder, shaving brush, and straight-edge razor on the top left.

This room shows that attention to detail is key. Even the smallest curio or objet d'art will prove an interesting piece for one's room. In fact, a room full of little but extraordinary and uncommon trinkets keeps recurring guests intrigued. On our way out we saw a fine Latin motto over the door, Virtus Invicta Gloriosa, and a font for holy water. And while most residents require company to knock first, Monsieur has a doorbell (available wireless so no modifications necessary).Down the hall we came upon the room of Mister Joseph C. Stewart V, fourth-year student. Mister Stewart, who reminded us that his room started much like that of Monsieur C. T., presented us with a lavish room that was nearly unrecognisable as a dormitory room. Mister Stewart was fortunate enough to reside in a double suite (2 rooms, +1 private W.C.) without a roommate.
Mister Stewart uses his front room to entertain guests. The sofa is covered with cushions and a throw blanket which help to tie together the colours in the room. Floor lamps and table-top lamps replace the harsh, florescent lighting fixture on the ceiling which is never used. Plants are utilised again here, making the room all the more pleasant. The cushioned foot-stool and the trunk beneath the window are a nice touch.

Mister Stewart was very creative in bringing in an old fireplace mantle, which we think ties the whole room together. Several fine, leather-bound books are placed between bookends amongst a collection of owls, candles, and curios while Mister Stewart cleverly hides the television underneath. Behind the veiled door, which features an unusual clown-shaped heurtoir, we found Mister Stewart's chambers.

This photograph highlights several interesting features of this room, including a collection of watches and, just barely visable to the left, a chess set. Our favourite piece is the fez-sporting bust on top of the desk.
This final photograph shows us an elegant, leather-topped table displaying various curios beneath a painting of an owl. Mister Stewart's second desk is just visable in the lower right-hand corner.

As these tasteful dwellings exhibit, even budgeted students with limited space and materials can transform their environments with the proper skills and creativity. Try similar decorating in your own dormitory and send photographs to us at Swell & Dandy (swell.and.dandy@gmail.com) and maybe we will feature your room too.

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