Pomona Junior Michelle Kretsch’s dorm talks to her. No, she’s not crazy, though she does imagine things.
“Stand at your door and think,” Kretsch said. “Conceptualize.” During this process of conceptualization, Kretsch gives her room a voice.
“If you have a poster, if you have a blanket, if you have anything, you have to define to what degree it says something,” Kretsch said. “If you put a lot into decorating, you want it to say something. I’m a really extroverted, talkative person.”
Several pieces in her room make a special statement. Kretsch’s suite has a short staircase leading up to its entrance that has a red carpet over it, which she says people “get a kick out of.” Kretsch also has massive collages of photos from her sophomore year across several of her walls, a tedious process which took her approximately seven hours to complete.
“Pictures are really important to me,” Kretsch said. “That’s really where the feel of my room comes from… I wouldn’t have as many pictures as I’ve put up if I didn’t love my friends, so I feel like you come in this room and it is a lot of who I am in terms of what I offer… People love coming in here to go through them.”
Hanna McGinnis PO ’15 also took a unique spin to decorating her room with photos and other memorabilia.
“I just thought it would be more fun to look at if [the decorations] meant something to you, if someone could be like ‘What’s that?’ and you could explain,” McGinnis said. “I like having photos of people that I care about on the walls.”
McGinnis and some friends back home in Texas made collages together throughout the summer “as a way to have pictures of each other up in the room and make it homey.” In addition to photos of each other, the collages include things that McGinnis is passionate about, such as animals, magazine clippings, and old artwork she printed from the Internet.
Beyond collages, McGinnis decorated her room with knickknacks like a tie-dye cloth she made and postcards she’s collected from her travels. “I didn’t want to cut them up. One of my friends suggested clipping them onto ribbon,” she said.
Despite having finished most of her decorations at home, McGinnis waited a few days before decorating her dorm. “I wanted to see how I felt in the room before I put everything up to know where it should go,” McGinnis said. Even now, she is confident that the decorations will evolve, likely including the removal of a monkey poster she put up to creep out the people in her sponsor group, which she says “worked very well.”
Kretsch, on the other hand, doubts her decorations will change, since she meticulously planned them out. “You create little cut-outs for each of your furniture pieces and then you have a drawing board,” Kretsch said. “Once you’ve created what your room looks like in terms of furniture, furniture allows for decorations.”
Kretsch also sticks to a theme each year, going with a “slick and clean” red and silver theme for this year. “Because of all the pictures in the room and the collages, you don’t want to be overwhelming. Slick and clean gives it the homey feeling the pictures give it without being overwhelming and chaotic… it’s really about manipulation of the room.”
Kretsch feels color scheme plays a vital role in this manipulation. She had originally planned out a geometric theme for her room this year, but upon arriving and finding her walls were gray instead of white she started planning again from scratch. Her theme last year was busier to go with her bigger room (she had a double to herself last semester), and so she utilized teal and bright pink.
“I’ve always liked thinking about decorating and I was one of those people who made my friends move posters in their room because it looked awkward,” Kretsch said. “You want to flow.”
McGinnis focused less on design than she did on making her dorm “give her that sense of security” of home. “I think everyone’s room’s different. It’s not like everybody needs to have their room decorated to feel at home, but for me that’s a big part of making it feel like my room,” McGinnis said.
McGinnis also said that anything on a piece of paper can become decoration.
“You can always put it up on the wall and people will comment on it,” McGinnis said. “It’s worth the work.”