One of the many things I discovered when we moved recently is that I still have a black plastic milk-crate-type container that I bought for my first dorm room way back in the...well, I don’t want to date myself too much.
It has held up for more than two decades and now houses part of my vinyl collection (yes, another blast from the past).
Ah, the dorm room - a 12-by-14 cell - that you had to share with another person.
The rooms featured two twin beds, and identical desk/shelving units, large metal closets, and dresser/mirror combo - all drilled in place into the floors, walls and ceiling to deter any rearranging or monkeying about.
The semi-retractable beds helped a little bit, creating more floor space when you weren’t snoozing, but still, there wasn’t much wiggle room in those cinder block-and-steel domiciles.
But I remember making the most of it, and not trying to bring everything I owned with me - even though I had a pretty big CD collection even back then, and a couple of guitars, an amp and recording gear.
Yet I didn’t even have a TV...or the unthinkable these days - a computer.
Some of the older students who’d lived in the only male dorm on campus for a couple of years decked their rooms out in various styles, as I remember a hammock in one room (against the regulations), others making use of tapestries and hanging beads, and the lyrics to R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” taking up an entire wall.
My freshman year, I remember going for function over style when outfitting my room - although this changed a little bit over time as I added stereo components, some fraternity gear and finally a TV.
And by my sophomore year, the administration loosened the residence hall regulations a bit, and allowed dorm dwellers to unbolt and stack their beds if they cared to, so several of us made loft-style beds, and moved in couches and other furniture.
But in three years of dorm living, I hauled the same basic set-up from room to room.
And I still have the milk-crate to show for it (and many of the CDs have survived, too).
Since my dorm daze (pun intended), our society as a whole has undergone an interior design revolution spurred on by the rise of design-oriented shows on HGTV and other networks and supported by the do-it-yourself boom of retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot.
There’s really no excuse for living out your college career in a drab, tin-can of a room anymore.
With new and returning students moving into the residence halls at Coastal Carolina University in Conway this week, we dispatched our Gotta Have It correspondent/retail therapist Rebecca Robertson to draft a GHI-style guide to decking out dorm rooms in style - without breaking the bank, and the university rules, too, of course. Her report is this week’s cover story - and she’s even rounded up some tips for guys who want to make their rooms female-friendly without being frou-frou.
Also, Robertson rounded up some new attractions and shopping opportunities for local college students that weren’t around when Spring semester let out.
In addition to this week’s cover story, of particular interest to incoming and returning local collage students, our bi-weekly column An Open & Shut Case by Becky Billingsley gives a run-down of new eateries in the Conway/CCU/HGTC corridor that have opened in the last few months.
Also, for something a little bit different, we’ve got an analysis of the new BIGD theater which replaced the IMAX Theatre at Broadway at the Beach recently.
Consider yourself schooled...
Kent Kimes, Editor