Freshman freshening: What to do with your college-bound kid’s room

Posted on June 27, 2017

Let’s get this out of the way right from the start: After dropping off your college student at their new dorm room, don’t speed home to begin renovating their bedroom! While emptying out a childhood room wouldn’t make for a great Thanksgiving homecoming, you don’t have to “erase” anyone to make optimal use of the space. Instead, take advantage of a now-less used room with one of these strategies.

Don’t erase your college student from their room but create a new balance and new found usable space.

Home a lot?

If you anticipate your son or daughter returning home regularly – more than one weekend a month, and over the summer – there’s only so much that can be done. In this scenario, focus on reclaiming storage space. Your kid probably took most of their clothes to their dorm, so start by organizing and packing up the remains of their closet and dressers. Use the freed-up square footage for storing linens and other items that don’t have a place.

Home a little?

If your college kid is planning on staying near campus or working as an intern over the summers, you can begin colonizing the room. Consider repainting the room in a calm neutral like putty gray. Swap out posters and pin boards for more widely-appealing artwork like nature photography or abstract watercolor paintings. Keep the bed, but refashion it as a daybed with some large throw pillows. Create a workspace with a larger desk and office storage – if you’re working from a laptop, folding it up and taking it to the kitchen will be a minor inconvenience with your son or daughter comes home to visit.

Just visits?

If you don’t anticipate your kid coming back regularly, it’s time to rethink how their old room is being used. If you have a younger child with their eye on the “big room,” now’s the time to move them up. If you’re working from home more often and don’t have a dedicated office space, the bedroom will be a great starting point. If you regularly host visitors – including your kid – then transforming the room to a more general-purpose guest room would be wise. In any of these cases, it’s time to play with color and design, whether giving your younger child a fun space, creating an energizing work environment, or providing your houseguests with a memorable room.


  • Tags:
  • interior painting
  • kids' bedroom
  • teenager