Decked-Out Dorm Rooms

Trap doors. Videos projected onto walls and ceilings. Doors operated by remote control. It sounds like something out of a spy movie, but all of this can be found on the 5Cs, in the dorm rooms of the super-innovative.Let’s take a step back. Band posters, photographs, bulletin boards, printed artwork, and throw rugs are the staples of your ordinary, humble dorm room. It’s likely that you own several of these items from Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. You probably feel creative about your Christmas lights and hanging tapestries and think your couch-under-lofted-bed setup is pretty unique. Not to make our rooms seem meager, but compared to the rest of us, some students at the 5Cs have taken their rooms to a whole new level. Here is a look at some of the most decked-out dorm rooms on campus. In order to respect students privacy, all names and dorm locations in this article have been changed.Paul, resides in a room—no, jungle gym—of interlaced, multi-level bed frames and mattresses. Two beds, standing a bed-width apart, are lofted. Between them stretches a third, super-lofted bed. Beneath the trio of lofted beds are two office spaces for Paul and his roommate, divided by a mini fridge. The fourth bed, which is also lofted, continues lengthwise off the end of one of the lofted beds. Paul and his roommate win for low-budget innovation.At one end of a hall, students Laura and Sarah have triple-stacked their beds (OK, where are all these extra bed frames coming from?) They’ve also created a walk-in closet out of two ordinary closets pushed against a wall and turned to face each other. Their inner doors, the ones closer to the wall, have been unhinged, while their outer doors remain permanently open to form the new entryway. Two orange chintz armchairs and a bearskin rug add to the character of the room.At the other end of the hall, pirate-inspired students Ron and Adam have built a wooden loft over their beds and makeshift walk-in closet. Nearly all the furniture is pushed to one side of the room, so you have to crawl through the space between the bunked beds to get to the closets and drawers. The ladder that would normally be used to reach the top bunk leads instead to a trap door which swings open to a carpeted loft. The wooden loft, supported by four beams at each corner, covers a third of the room from wall to wall and hosts a colored disco ball and massive pirate flag.If the 5Cs qualify as having “dorm rooms like palaces,” then the Taj Mahal of rooms belongs to Charles. Charles has built not a loft, but an entire second story. On the bottom level, Charles has three computer screens at his desk, as well as a TV upstairs connected to his computer, lots of couch space, and paint-speckled blue records covering the entire back wall. On the left, his mini-fridge camouflages into the attic ladder leading up to the second floor. The second floor divides his walk-in closet, creating a cushioned den above and a space for his clothing below. The den, dubbed the “cubby hole,” projects movies and light shows on the walls and ceiling of what used to be Charles’ closet. The entire second floor, which is carpeted, is “construction grade, like how you build decks,” explains Charles. It’s supported by wooden posts and metal brackets and spans about half the room from wall-to-wall. The work took six sleepless days, 630 dollars, and 10 trips to Home Depot.To gear the space up for parties, the edge is made accident-proof with a Plexiglas railing, and rough corners are cushioned by swimming pool noodles. The door can be locked and unlocked by remote control, and a projector above the door throws a visualizer onto a screen made of shower curtains, which can be lowered by an automated pulley-system to just the perfect angle for visibility from both floors. He plans to present the administration with the option of preserving the room for future years.Hopefully, innovative dorm rooms such as these will inspire creativity and resourcefulness in the rest of us, the modestly housed. As we’ve seen, innovation doesn’t require a hefty budget; duct tape, pool noodles, and carpet scraps are low-cost materials. Even ordinary dorm furniture can be rearranged to a creative end.Clickto see first- and second-story floor plans for Charles’ room.

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