Zebra Tales
Trey '21

Decorating a Dorm Room 101

When I first arrived at Groton in the Fourth Form, I had no clue how to organize my dorm room. Besides an Alaskan flag and a framed family photo, I hadn’t brought anything else to campus except the necessities–bedding, a lamp, clothes, etc.–so as time went on, I became more interested in filling up the blank space on my walls.
At boarding school, every dorm tells a story. Each student has a chance to showcase their individuality by hanging up images that mean something to them, and in doing so, they get to share a little part of their identity with those around them. It’s a fun and exciting opportunity.
Below, I’ve included a list of ten things to consider when decorating your future room. Here are a few trends that I’ve noticed in my three years here.
  • Movie Posters
    • Currently, The Breakfast Club and Stepbrothers grace our space. Pulp FictionThe Usual Suspects, Marvel movies, and 80s cult films also seem to be popular choices.
  • Pictures
    • A great way to shout out friends and family, pictures are a mainstay in dorm decoration.
  • Geographic Flags
    • I have four on my side of the room, which might be a little much now that I think about it (Alaska, Texas, Kentucky, and USA). Andrew, my roommate, displays the Union Jack above his bed. Friendly USA vs. UK banter will occasionally sneak its way into our nightly conversations.
  • Furniture
    • COVID prevented us from having furniture in our room this year, but in storage, there’s a black futon from IKEA that I miss very much. It folds down into a bed, which my brother slept on when he visited campus last year.
  • Sports Teams
    • The Dallas Stars. The Houston Astros. The San Antonio Spurs. My entire family lives in Texas, so naturally I support teams from the Lone Star State. A fabric pennant from each program has been draped from the ceiling. A lot of people enjoy hanging jerseys up too.
  • Albums
    • Andrew loves records; Pink Floyd, The Killers, Journey, and Fleetwood Mac each make an appearance on his wall. Other residents in our dorm have images of Kanye, The Grateful Dead, and Linkin Park on theirs. Our cumulative musical taste is exceptionally diverse.
  • Instruments
    • Andrew is also a talented guitarist. After a long day of calculus, squash, and other Groton things, he’ll take his Gibson off the wall to play a few riffs from The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • LED Lights
    • What a way to mirror the mood. After a good day, we’ll change the color of our lighting strip to green, yellow, or something mellow. When we have a busier week, the LEDs might be red or orange instead.
  • Various Prints
    • College flags. Tapestries. Souvenirs from Vacations. Works of Art. The possibilities are endless. In my room, my favorite print is from Alaska, where I lived for thirteen years. I purchased it at the Anchorage Museum, and it reads, “Normal is Not In Our Nature.”
  • Completely Random Items that Make Absolutely No Sense
    • A putting green, disco ball, or weight-lifting set could make an interesting addition to a room. We have a glowing Zebra Lamp, a Salvador Dali melting clock, a Magic 8-Ball (that can actually tell the future, no joke) and a chessboard. Wacky and weird items can turn a dorm from ordinary into extraordinary.