Decorating The College Dorm Room: Guys Vs. Girls

September 5, 2017 in Parenting,Teenagers

Like many other parents of college-aged kids, I recently moved my oldest son into his college dorm room. Since he spent the past two years in boarding school, I considered myself a seasoned pro at purchasing all needed room supplies and took great pride in the fact that I could set up his dorm room in record time.

As a mom to three sons, I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have a daughter when it comes to certain milestones, such as the hormonal ride through puberty, friendship and/or boyfriend drama and the emotional transition to college. It’s not a longing, but more a curiosity — is it really that different to guide your kids through these life events whether you have sons versus daughters?

When you frame that question in the context of college dorm room shopping and setting up their rooms, I’ve discovered (through my scientific observational research, ie., Facebook and Instagram) that the answer is an absolute YES.

To be honest, this was the first time in my many years as a mom to three boys that I felt utter relief that I did not have a daughter.

Have you seen what girls’ dorm rooms look like nowadays?!!

O.M.G. with a Capital OH.

I know with great certainty that we gals did not decorate our dorm rooms like this in the 1980s. Our rooms looked quite similar to the guys’ rooms, with the exception of more feminine-looking comforters and perhaps some girly posters. Other than that, same stuff, same set-up.


Holy Pinterest on steroids!

Bed skirts, headboards, curtains, string lights, oh my! The roommates even coordinate to have everything all matchy-matchy. What if they decide to switch rooms because they can’t stand each other? Their whole room will fall apart!

I’m not kidding when I say some of these girls’ dorm rooms are decorated nicer than any bedroom I ever had, anywhere. Check this one out here:


Gorgeous, right?

Honestly, I don’t think I could stand the pressure to make the room so pretty. Of course, to help you and your soon-to-be college student decorate, there are entire websites and online merchants now dedicated to offering the latest dorm decor for girls: Dormify, DormCo, Dorm Delicious…

No thanks.

My son and I were perfectly content to stroll into Bed, Bath & Beyond and pick up his blue and gray comforter set in a bag, a few extra throw pillows and a small rug and he was good to go. This is what his room looks like:


Perfectly adequate and comfortable, right? What you can’t see in this picture is he’s got his TV and Xbox set up behind his desk, on top of his closet so that he can lie in bed and have a great view of his entertainment “system.” This was way more important to him than any comforter or pillows.

I’ll admit that if my husband wasn’t there to set up all the HDMI, coaxial cables (what even is that?), Ethernet and Internet connections, I’d have been in trouble. I suppose parents to girls don’t need to worry about whether they packed extra batteries for the Xbox remotes (okay, so that was the ONE thing I forgot!). Still, I’ll take the pressure to bring the “right” electronics over the dorm decorating, all day long.

Yes, I am gratefully a boy mom…


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristi Campbell September 5, 2017 at 8:44 pm

OMG I can’t believe the girls’ room stuff! I had the minimalist set-up. My parents didn’t even come with me to help decorate. I just took it all on the plane. Didn’t fit? Didn’t come with me! Also LOL because I have no clue what a coaxial cable is. Truly. Tux is in trouble unless my husband learns this before that time!
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ohboymom September 6, 2017 at 4:47 pm

Haha and the funny thing is, at first my husband couldn’t find the coaxial cable or where to connect it, so I stuck my head out in to the dorm hallway and another dad was walking by with a box full of wires, etc and I asked if he knew where to connect it and he was like, “do you need a coaxial cable? I have some extras!” I just pretended I knew what he was talking about! And yeah, I distinctly remember my parents dropping me off at the curb in front of my dorm — I do believe they helped me unload, but after that, they were all “see ya soon!”


Janine Huldie September 5, 2017 at 9:29 pm

I do love to decorate but still god help me for when my girls turns comes here as I just hope as much as I love it that I am up for the challenge. Because that room above definitely is going to be s hard one to top 😉
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ohboymom September 6, 2017 at 4:44 pm

I’m glad you see my point Janine — it’s definitely a challenge when you see rooms that look so nice! Maybe by the time your girls go to college, the trend will be retro — and very minimalist. :)


Laura September 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

I’m kinda lucky – the first one to go will be my boy and then in three more years, I’ll have to do it with my daughter. I’ll have plenty of break to make sure my energy is up for that day. :) Daughters are WAY different and in my case, a bit more high maintenance, for sure. But I wouldn’t give her up for nothin.


ohboymom September 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Ha – yeah, if I had a daughter, I’m sure I’d succumb to the dorm decorating craze, but I’d consider outsourcing that task — it’s just not my thing!


Christine Carter September 6, 2017 at 11:48 pm

OMG with an OH!! This is hilarious!! And you are SO RIGHT. I keep seeing all these pics of dorm rooms and I’m wondering what on EARTH will it be like in four more years? My gosh, our home isn’t even decorated that nicely!!

Girl, you ARE so lucky you have all boys! This is AWESOME.

I’m hoping the decor fashion cycles back down by the time Cass goes to college. I’m planning on that comforter set and a few pics to put on her walls and we’ll call it a day.



ohboymom September 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

And if the decorating craze is still hot in four years, I bet by then there will be dorm room services that can do it for the intimidated (ie, lazy) moms like me.:)


Matt @ Pickleball November 20, 2017 at 1:35 pm

wow, dorm rooms have changed since I was in college. my son is getting ready to go away next year…oh how times of changed.
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