Each Friday Simplifying Fabulous! presents Fab Fridays, an up-close-and-personal look at how one of our community members simplifies fabulous in their own life. Is there someone you’d like to see featured? Email your submission to email@example.com.
Simplifying Fabulous! with Rachel deLacy, Robin Baron Design Intern
ABOUT Rachel deLacy was our fabulous summer marketing intern here at Robin Baron Design! She is a senior at Fordham University and will be graduating with a major in psychology and double minors in economics and business administration. (WOW, right?!) Moving from dorm room to dorm room has made this city girl a master of transition and an expert in fitting all of one’s belongings into a dorm room…in style!
Robin Baron: How you Simplify Fabulous at college?
Rachel deLacy: My room from home stayed the same from when I was young until I went away to college. Although Barbies were replaced with sports equipment, books, and other “teenage” things, I never really personalized my room. At college I could start fresh and infuse my room with me; I could simplify fabulous! Although I had always enjoyed the sponge-painted green walls, never feeling the need to cover it with pictures and posters, at college, the stark white walls screamed for decoration! I was terrified to leave home and my friends, so I printed every picture I ever took and posted it on my walls. By adding pictures, posters, and frames to the room, I then added other special touches that make the room me–little knick knacks make it more complete.
RB: Describe how your living situation has changed over your college years?
RD: Freshman year I lived in this unbelievably spacious dorm room with three other girls. We each had a desk, closet and set of drawers. I only needed to bring a few underbed bins to hold the random cleaning supplies and other odds and ends.
A smaller room sophomore year meant more time and creativity was needed to “get the look.” When my roommate and I first moved in, all of our stuff overflowed into the hallway until we were able to start tucking things away. Command hooks, storage bins, shoe racks, and grated cubes saved my life…and my space!
My junior year I moved into brand new apartment-style residences on-campus. The apartment boasted three double rooms, a living room, kitchen, and two bathrooms. I was in heaven. Second semester, I set off for a semester in London with two bags of luggage and a carry-on, bringing nothing more to decorate with than a stack of pictures.
Finally, for my senior year (I still don’t want to accept it), I have moved off-campus into a two-story unfurnished apartment my roommates and I have outfitted almost entirely with hand-me-down wares. My brother donated a TV stand, dresser, and shelving unit from his old apartment. I gathered items that were collecting dust in my basement. My mom and dad asked friends if they were looking to get rid of anything. The result: Dad sanded, painted, and finished more than one about-to-be-thrown away table; Mom managed to score an amazing recliner and a great chair and ottoman set. And for my room, I’ve carefully edited down all of the “stuff” I had collected over my college years.
RB: As you’ve gone from a freshman to a senior, how has your interior design sensibility changed?
RD: Freshman year moved in with loads of pictures of my friends and brought with me every article of clothing I owned, from summer tanks to winter sweaters. After realizing that the room I was afforded freshman year was not to be my fate sophomore year, I had to cut back on what I brought and get more creative on how I stored things. I put my bed on risers and bought plastic drawers to store a lot of my clothing items. I found out that command hooks were my best friends and window ledges are great. Every inch of space was used!
Moving around junior year left me feeling helpless when it came decorating. My design motto in London was, “Souvenirs!” Maps that I no longer needed to find my way around went up on the walls and all of the ticket stubs and brochures I collected were tacked on the bulletin board that came with the room; A peacock feather from a street vendor was taped to my window; A cactus from a street market found its way to my window ledge. All of the cards sent from home went on the shelves along with a myriad of other finds and buys.
Senior year has finally brought me the ultimate freedom with the ability to PAINT MY ROOM! Since I have been working for Robin, I have been inspired to really go forth and live in a home that I truly love. My focus is no longer on just covering the wall in pictures, but to really express myself. My roommate and I bought two simple black shelving units from Target that fill an awkward little corner in our room. I hung up drawings I have done, brought things from home that I absolutely love, and plan on doing a frame wall. I have a ton of beautiful postcards from abroad that I want to put in black frames and put on the walls in my bedroom. My roommate and I want to do a little arts and crafts project with jars, yarn, and paint that I found on one of the design blogs I read, Mark Montano. One summer working for an interior design firm has completely changed the way I want to arrange my room. I have so many creative ideas to use–I’m not afraid to step out of the box or try something new.
RB: What are your go-to resources for dorm room/apartment decorating?
RD: My top go-to resources are Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohls, The Christmas Tree Shop, and Michaels. Target is great for organizational items. Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohls always have great back-to-school deals on comforter, sheet, and towel sets. For college students, I highly recommend a “husband” pillow, which is great to just lean back and relax on. Michaels is great for posters and random decorative items. The Christmas Tree Shop, which has nothing to do with Christmas in the least, is one of my favorites. They have EVERYTHING at prices that you cannot beat. Anything from towels to frames to artwork to glasses to food to jewelry to rugs, they have it.
RB: Do you have any special organizational tips/tricks for college students?
RD: Use every space you can possibly find and be creative. Command hooks are life-savers. Freshman year I hung all of my purses on them, and every year I hang necklaces on the inside door of my closet from them…they’re also a great thing to put your keys on so you don’t lose them! A hanging shoe rack is a great over the closet door. It can hold a ton of shoes or other stuff, it is a great space saver. If you have a lot of clothes, like me, then hangers that either hang from one another or can fold down are great to fit those last few shirts or dresses you just cannot leave at home into the closet. I always love to get an over-the-door mirror as well as a towel/coat rack. Hanging a wet towel is something a lot of college students often forget about… The buildable grated cubes are fantastic because they are flexible and can be used anywhere. I have used them on top of my dresser, under my bed, and in my closet. The fabric storage bins you see everywhere are a must because they fit right into the cubes and hold a ton of stuff, especially things that might fall through the grates. Lastly, SPACE BAGS! I’m sure you have seen them on infomercials and think there is no way a bag can fit that much, BUT THEY CAN! Space bags are great if you are traveling far or for storing out-of-season clothing. My last tip: Don’t bring everything you own! So many people told me that my freshman year, but it was not until I went abroad that I realized I could survive without everything I owned with me.
RB: What do you love most about your space and why? What personal elements have you infused in your space?
RD: I love my painted walls. Paint was a luxury I did not have in dorm life and it has really made the difference for a white-wall-phobe like me. With that said, I really love everything about my apartment this year. The other weekend I went home and raided my room and brought back everything I loved. I brought a big wine glass that my friend bedazzled for my 21st birthday and placed it on my desk along with a penny-ball that was my Grandfather’s. I put all of my abroad souvenirs on display and I hung a shelf full of them. This is the first year that I have really expanded my horizons and concentrated more on decorating and making the room something I love rather than focusing on using most of my space for clothes and the million desk items I never touched. I still have pictures and posters on the wall, but I am looking to put some special ones on frames and hang them up too. After a summer at Robin Baron Design I have quite a few projects in mind to improve the apartment.
RB: What is some design advice that you’d give to incoming freshman?
RD: First and foremost, you won’t use everything you bring! Bring things that you wear the most, use the most, and want the most. As a freshman, I cannot possibly blame you for bringing too much. I did and most do. It is a brand new experience and it takes time to figure out what it is you need and what you don’t, especially if you are coming from further away. Take advantage of all the organizational tools out there. Stock up on command hooks, tacks, tape, and sticky tack. Pick up storage containers (underbed bins, the grated cubes, ottomans, standing drawers) that will fit your space the best. It is not a bad idea to get to the dorm, put as much stuff away and see what you need. Each year I have changed which storage container I used based on my room. Talk to your roommates and split up the stuff your bringing so you don’t end up with two TVs or little fridges. Bring posters and pictures! Get a Magic Eraser so at the end of the year you can clean up any smudges you have in the room (These are magic. Believe me). Most importantly, have fun! Go crazy! Be you! This is where you are going to live for a whole year, make it a place where you want to live, sleep and study.