It’s ‘Back to College’ time and while I loved my experience the first time around, I was psyched when Target asked me to create some dorm room content for them using the new Room Essential line. But of course a few cute vignettes with product wouldn’t do, we like to go all out here and really tell a story with any sponsored post. So welcome to my college bedroom, if I were at school in 2017 … in New York. My college experience was a typical Pac-10 (U of O) situation and I sadly never lived in the dorms. My fantasy was (obviously) Felicity, yes the early aughts show set in New York. So Brady, who was helping me with my dorm design was tasked to watch all 5 seasons as research to really ‘get me’. He failed at that task, but nonetheless created the coolest dorm room with Target’s new line, for me (and my best friend, Felicity.)
It’s cool, creative and affordable. If this is “me” then I want to be me so bad.
We were moving offices the week we shot this but our new one was PERFECT as the set, so we scrambled to shoot this here. It is very industrial, urban loft – like the one Ben and Sean shared together, where their rent would have been $6k.
Let’s start with the bigger moments – that mood board and inspiration wall which we pulled together after we found some inspiration from this beautiful wall. While of course we had to buy some magazines to make it happen, most of what you see up there came from clippings we already had. That larger cactus was printed from Jenny’s Print Shop (as well as a few other images you see up there).
We started in the middle and built it out, layering anything that felt edgy but with some femininity. We added polaroids, quotes, flyers, postcards, photo strips, anything that made us smile in some way. It’s affordable, so easy and such high impact.
The bed is a super inexpensive DIY that we think is more interesting than a basic bed plus it has added function. While nobody was psyched to carry 16 cinder blocks up the stairs (thank you Erik!!) they created a very cheap solid base, with inexpensive pine planks as the frame. A twin bed is typically 39″ wide, so we cut the planks to have 12″ on both side, with the overage to be used as nightstands. The planks were about $10 each and we used 7 of them, and then the cinder blocks were $1 each and we used 18 of them. We sourced both from our local hardware store.
Hilariously I pulled out all my books from college (they were at a friend’s for 5 years and I recently picked them up) so there is a lot of Dostoevsky, Paul Auster, Delillo and Nietzche. I used to be super smart, folks. The internet has essentially ruined my need for good literature and I now mostly read whatever huge blockbuster type that I can’t put down, and that ain’t Pynchon.
The headboard is an adorable/genius concoction that Brady (my dorm designer, duh) came up with. It’s a body pillow and two leather straps with knobs.
He bought the two 50″ leather straps online from Amazon and punched a hole through both ends to allow the bolt to feed through it, the body pillow from Target and then screwed them into the wall using two Brass Cabinet Knobs from Target. Full disclosure that they are far more secure going into drywall than brick, but since this was a temporary set it worked for us without anchoring it. If you have a brick wall then Brady tells me you could pre-drill some plastic anchors into the wall and then screw your knobs into those. I also learned from this project that you can turn any cabinet knob into a wall hook by using what Brady called a “hanger bolt“. The hanger bolt screws into the back of the knob and then allows the knob to screw into the wall (or brick wall in our case). Let us know if you want a full DIY of the bed and headboard combo and if enough of you request it then we could pull together all the steps into one post for you. Now back to the rest of the tour.
Let’s check out the other side of my rad pad. You know what cool-girl post-millennial Emily would never say? ‘Rad Pad’. Heck, even Xennial Emily has never uttered those words. It’s up there with “She-Shed”.
Here’s the other side of my room:
I have my little butterfly chair reading nook, wardrobe and desk. The only things in the room that aren’t target are the DIY bed and that fur throw. The cement floor was looking pretty cold and this is in Birdie’s room so we went and added it to help with the shots. The rug underneath is from Target but not out til fall and it’s soooooo good.
I love that wardrobe and have kept it in my office for fashion shoots. It’s simple and super functional. Post-millenial Emily wears a lot of color and is super into tiny purses (round one from Ban.do).
These little modern shelves are the perfect make-shift vanity for a small room. Remember that when you don’t have a lot of real estate in a room, you can always utilize your walls for storage. These hanging shelves are perfect for jewelry and makeup.
Lastly let’s talk bedding, as these throw pillows are impossibly cute.
The big one with huge black pom poms is ridiculous, the pink/gray with tassels is so cute and the hi/bye one adds that typographic touch. We used simple bedding like that pink quilt and yellow striped throw and a small patterned sheet set to make it feel layered, but not too busy with the wall.
There I am, listening to Death Cab For Cutie and journaling (I literally have no idea what a cool 18 year old is listening to so I inserted my favorite band at the time). I had a pretty darn great college experience but my room was never as cool as this. Granted the brick wall, cement floor and black casement windows and doors are certainly helping the look, everything in this room can be done on a budget, with some DIY and a lot of Target.
Eighteen year old Emily looks at home here and definitely ready to do a lot of creative expression. I obviously dressed young for this shoot and while I probably wouldn’t typically wear that bright of a sweatshirt I have to say that dressing like I was 18 was super fun and I indeed did look and feel so much younger.
Which got me to thinking, why don’t I at least try to dress a little more youthful? I actually loved my hair in the half top knot (Brian was VERY confused, and literally asked ‘what is that?’ when I got home). Wearing a bright lip and choker did make me feel fun and trendy. I’m trying to schedule a shoot this week where I style out 4 different ‘Millenial Emily” budget outfits- what I would really buy/wear if I was going back to college, could dress trendier and had a small budget. It was honestly so fun to be a younger version of myself. I’m also binging the show Younger right now so dressing a little more youthful is certainly on the brain. Let me know if that sounds like a fun post or a little try-hard?
If you are into the look here is everything in the room that we used although 99% of it is from Target’s “Back to College” collection. Let us know if you have any questions on the room in the comments, and how you feel about “My Back to College” room.
1. Oversized Pom Throw Pillow | 2. Pink Colorblock Square Pillow | 3. Hi/Bye Pillow | 4. Table Lamp | 5. Metal Mesh Globe Light Set | 6. Gold Knob | 7. Leather Straps | 8. Body Pillow | 9. Clock | 10. Artificial Round Cactus | 11. Sheet Set | 12. Throw Blanket | 13. Pink Quilt | 14. Blue Rug (similar, Target rug available in Fall)| 15. Sheepskin Rug | 16. Abstract Art | 17. Butterfly Chair | 18. Shaggy Pouf | 19. Globe Table Lamp | 20. DYI Letter Light Box | 21. Orange Tassel Necklace | 22. Three Leaf Cactus Artificial Plant | 23. Cactus Print | 24. Geode | 25. Round Wall Hanging | 26. Clip Frame | 27. Headphones | 28. Record Player | 29. Desk | 30. Chair | 31. Coffee Mug | 32. Peace Hand Bookend | 33. Desk Lamp Organizer | 34. Notebook | 35. Square Metal Decorative Wall Mirror | 36. Square Wall Shelf | 37. Single Rod Garment Rack | 38. Pom Pom Purse | 39. Sunglasses | 40. Bootie | 41. Gold Tassel Necklace | 42. Blue Tassel Necklace | 43. Backpack | 44. Sandal | 45. Large Wood Frame Planter | 46. Medium Wood Frame Planter | 47. Artificial Plant in White Pot
In case you missed my recent advice for college students click through HERE, and in the meantime here is a little how to video of how the space came together.