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Dorm room decorating tips

  • Story Highlights
  • Designer Nate Berkus: Students should make dorm rooms "inspirational"
  • Furniture in small space should be multifunctional
  • Bring items from home to make you feel more comfortable
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Oprah

(OPRAH.com) -- College is a time for tremendous learning and personal growth. A time to make your own decisions and mistakes. Feel at home even when you're away. Nate Berkus shows you how to personalize and organize your dorm room -- without missing class!

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Designer Nate Berkus and Daphne Oz.

After three years of studying in a dorm room that resembles a white box, Daphne Oz, a senior at Princeton University and Dr. Oz's daughter, says she's ready to do more with her living space.

"It is literally four white walls and you have a 10 by 10 square foot room to work with, to make your own," she says.

While Daphne says she's simply too busy to spend a lot of time decorating, Nate Berkus says it's important for students to feel at home. "I think that when you spend that much time in a space, it really is worth it to take a little time and figure out what you can do that is inspirational to you and what is peaceful to you," he says. "I think that is what is missing in dorm rooms."

You don't have to be a design major to tackle Nate's dorm decorating tips. These easy improvements can maximize a small space& with minimal effort.

Find your style: Determine what colors you like and what inspires you. Daphne says she likes cool colors -- blues and greens -- and is inspired by her father's home country, Turkey. "I definitely have the Mediterranean influences from going to Turkey, and I always bring back artifacts from that area of the world to decorate with," she says.

Multifunctional furniture: Every piece of furniture in a small space should do double duty. Look for an ottoman with built-in storage or a daybed that can work as a couch. In addition to supplying extra seating, daybeds are elegant alternatives to futons.

Declutter your dorm: Get rid of items you don't need or don't love so you can focus on the things you do love. Organize your space so you fit in 90 percent of everything and have 10 percent open. If you have openness, the world will bring more to you!

Bring items from home: Instead of buying new stuff for your dorm, bring items from home that will make you feel comfortable. Nate says he brought a lamp, a framed picture and chest of drawers to college. Daphne says she brought her bed from home. "I brought my own bed to college -- that was crucial, it really changed everything," she says.

Maximize storage space: Designate a place for every belonging. Also, don't display lotions and creams on your dresser. If you need to store something, keep it in an attractive box or basket.

Stylize your shelves: Break up books on your bookshelf with interesting items: travel souvenirs, mismatched picture frames or a collection of something you love.

Little touches: Buy fresh flowers from the supermarket or use a beautiful container to store your toothbrush -- little touches can make a big difference, Nate says. "It is a present that you give yourself every day, and I think it is a really good thing," he says. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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