When I left home for my freshman year of college, I threw some boxes in my car and watched in the rearview mirror as my mother waved goodbye from the driveway.

I was not packing a monogrammed upholstered headboard for my dorm room.

Also, there was only one pillow on my bed. The one I slept on.

To all the girls who have just moved into college dorm rooms, I would like to say: Y’all do realize you have to pack all this stuff out again in nine months?

My daughter just started her freshman year of college, which is how I was introduced to the brave new world of dorm decor.

There are thousands — thousands! — of dorm decorating ideas on Pinterest. Research reveals that 100 percent of these are for girls’ rooms.

Pottery Barn, the high-end furniture store, is marketing specifically to college students. One of the company’s “dorm inspiration” photos features two beds with matching headboards, coordinated black-and-white bedding (including five pillows per bed), three area rugs and a $269 desk chair — but only one desk.

To decorate my dorm room walls, I just stuck up a couple of posters. I had to use special poster putty. No tape allowed on dorm room walls. That’s still the rule. At least some things never change.

Dorm decorating trends this year include:

• Mandala tapestries, either as wall hangings or “hippie bedding.”

• String lights. (These are apparently mandatory dorm decor, which would explain why Target is sold out of Command hooks.)

• Faux fur rugs. (I found that industrial-strength linoleum was much more practical in a college dorm room.)

• Big-screen TVs. (And miss the unforgettable ambiance of the dorm common room?)

• Coordinated bedspreads. (I can’t even remember if I took a bedspread to college. I only remember washing my sheets twice in four years.)

• Clear acrylic desk chairs. (If your college doesn’t provide chairs … )

• Futons. (HGTV praised the futon as the perfect example of space-saving, multifunctional dorm furniture. “By day it can be used as a sofa, but by night it can instantly turn into a full bed.” Oh, that’s just what every nervous first-time college parent wants to hear.)

To her credit, my daughter kept her room decor very simple.

Because really, you can dress up a dorm room all you want, but underneath, we’re all just sleeping on the same rock-hard mattress covered in blue plastic.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.