Let’s all admit it, some of the best years of our lives are spent away from home at college. I remember that first day that my parents drop me off on campus. That day was exciting and terrifying at the same time. Would I make friends? How would I find my classes? How would l carry my huge art portfolio up all those stairs! And what about decorating my sorority room?
Back In The Old Days
There were no cell phones or internet in 1985 so socializing meant hanging out in the lounge or dining hall. My roommate spent 6 out of 7 nights with her boyfriend. Sophomore year I decided to rush a sorority hoping to make more friends. But little did I know I would be making friends for a lifetime.
Two years later I was elected chapter president. It was a fun responsibility until two terrible events rocked the house. A car crash resulting in the death of a sister over Thanksgiving break and then the horrific bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland killing 35 SU students. Two sisters gone within months and a total of 7 friends lost. How was I supposed to sort thru the emotions and tackle my studies? Suddenly being the President wasn’t so cushy after all. I was playing grown-up when in reality I was still a kid. It was all about sisterhood.
Fast forward thirty-something years later it was time to give back to the house that took care if me. I turned to my friends at Raymour & Flanigan. Raymour & Flanigan is such a wonderful company that is so involved with helping others. Their community program is really unlike any other company. I proposed the idea of a college dorm room makeover. They jumped right on board.
I contacted Sue W., the Kappa house mother and told her my thoughts of donating a sorority room makeover. She mentioned that the President’s room needed a little ” love.” This just didn’t happen to be coincidental I thought. So I drove the hour and 15 minutes from Rochester to the Kappa Kappa Gamma house to see what the President’s room looked like. The room was big in size but lacked in any kind of personality. A big white box with white tired furniture and a bed. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this blank canvas and give the incoming President, Danielle a sorority room that she could be proud of.
The Big Reveal
I spoke to Danielle right after visiting her sorority room for the first time. She wasn’t quite sure what to expect and couldn’t believe that she was going to be having this room all to herself. My vision was to create a beautiful fun and function space for her. A retreat to study, meet with sisters and at the end of the day an oasis to sleep off the worries of spearheading an active sorority house.
My Color Design Ratio
Layers of navy, blue, white and pops of orange are speckled throughout the sorority room. When picking out a color pallete and using color I use the 60:30:10 ratio. In this room, 60% blues, 30% whites, and 10 % of the orange.
BEFORE: Bland, Boring, and Basic
This sorority oom was a great size but sterile! There was so much light coming in but no soft window treatments and nothing on the floor. A tall white armoire was in the corner and a bed propped up on risers and an off-white creamy color on the walls. That ALL would change.
AFTER: Cozy, Comfortable and Chic
Layers of my signature pattern, soft white sheers, tone on tone striped walls, brand new furniture and accessories bring this sorority room to life.
The 7-Day Transformation
It was a no brainer to have her room painted Kappa blue and blue. I started by having the walls painted Respite by Sherwin-Williams SW 6514. I then taped off 12-inch stripes and painted a lighter blue Take Five Sherwin Williams SW6513. It was a hot day and the paint dried fast. The stripes were done in just under four hours. My Raymour & Flanigan furniture was scheduled to be delivered the next day so I set out shopping for the special touches.
Once all the furniture arrived the fun began with setting up and accessorizing. I gave Danielle a bright white writing desk. I love the sleek lines and the unfussy elegance of this desk. It was such a versatile piece and wasn’t bulky as soon as she walked into the room. I hung a white upholstered bulletin board above her desk with silver nailhead detailed trim that matched the upholstered Jasmina chair. The soft curved lines of this comfortable chair compliments the angular corners of the desk.
A navy blue framed picture of Danielle and her boyfriend, vintage orange candy dish with oranges, an owl (the KKG mascot) waste paper basket and ceramic figurine, note pads, calendars, and the cutest desk plaque HEAD HONCHO finish out this chic work space.
DREAM, BELIEVE, ACHIEVE
I knew that Danielle would be spending a lot of time at her desk so I made sure that space with extra comfortable. On top of the Jasmina accent chair I placed the Nadia pillow. These bolstered sized embroidered pillows came in a set and the other was used on the bed. Anchoring the entire room is the Safavieh navy and cream Moroccan Geometric Hudson Rug which just so happens to be the reverse pattern of the chair. This playful 8′ by 10′ carpet brightens up the hardwood floors and is so soft with its long pile threads and quatrefoil pattern.
Pillows For All
I’m a firm believer that you can never have too many accent pillows! We layered pattern, size, and shape on Danielle’s bed giving her plenty of pillows when her sorority sisters come in and all hang out on the bed. I purchased a set each of Soliel and Nadia throw pillows from Raymour & Flanigan. Believe it or not both sets are pillows are suitable for indoor and outdoor making these washable and durable all while having style.
We all know that real estate is valuable in a sorority room. The previous nightstand in this room was very tiny, had no storage and could barely fit a small table lamp! For more bedside storage, I gave Danielle the Juliet Accent Table. She now has ample room on her nightstand for an alarm clock, books, her cell phone and additional storage on the two bottom shelves. I love the clover shape and slightly weathered finish of this sturdy table.
Working in my pattern play I gave Danielle a large bedside lamp. I choose the Davis lamp with it’s traditional ginger jar shape, whimsical navy & white stripes and large white drum shade.
When mixing stripes keep in mind scale, color, size, and direction. The tone on tone large striped walls create a subtle pattern giving the bold high contrast stripes of the lamp center stage. The thin navy and cream checks in the bedding direct your eyes up to the focal point headboard.
Fit For A President
How many college students have a king size bed? Not many. This is actually a dream-come-true not just for a college student but for any adult. Anchoring the whole room is the king size Plumley Headboard, a luxurious navy blue velvet tufted headboard with romantic arched frame. This upholstered headboard is tall, sturdy and comfortable for when Danielle sits up and studies in bed. We layered the bed with 3 down filled orange euro sized pillows, matching pillow shams, a pair of Soleil embroidered pillows and the needle point Nadia blue pillow. While out shopping, I found the perfect cream, blue and navy striped bedding and gave her a cozy orange graphic fringed throw blanket for those cold Syracuse nights. Centered above the bed, I hung one large and two small metal oversized flowers in an arc pattern.
No Space Unused
Looking back towards the door there was a little nook that I couldn’t ignore. The Chatham accent chest fit to a “T”. This three drawer cabinet was a stylish solution to a file cabinet. It would be the perfect place for Danielle to file away all her paperwork, drop her keys, and store items before she heads in and out for the day.
There’s so much to love about this accent chest, the shape, color, and versatility. This would make a fantastic night stand or hall table. The possibilities are endless and I love the detailed drop handles and it’s soft navy blue glaze that sets this apart from any ordinary painted chest. To add light in the corner I bought a pair of brushed silver Teepa table lamps. I placed one on the accent chest and the other on her tall dresser.
I framed a picture of Danielle’s new puppy and gave her candy jar filled with orange and blue gumballs to satisfy any sweet tooth.
A large white framed mirror reflects light and matches the white molding of this classic 1915 sorority house.
The Key That Binds
I knew I wanted to give this sorority room a painting of my own. While researching Kappa facts and ideals I came across a quote that would be the perfect canvas painting for Danielle to look every day and remind her of all her hard work. I proudly hung the quote above her new 5-drawer Retreat Tall Dresser and added more Kappa owls and an additional Teepa table lamp. I was amazed by all the storage that we had given Danielle. The columns on the dresser reminded me of the large white columns on the side porch and front of the Kappa House.
Right next to the Retreat dresser I gave Danielle additional seating because I had a feeling that her new room would be a spot that everyone would want to hang out in. Between the graphic blue and white pattern and the nailhead trim, and lift top storage, the Satori Ottoman was a no-brainer for this room. It fit in between the radiator and her dresser perfectly. I love it’s gentle slope side which sets it apart from any ordinary square ottoman.
Leaving A Legacy
The Reveal day was nothing short of magical for me. It fills my heart to be able to give back to these girls and it was all made possible buy my friends at Raymour & Flanigan. I hope I have created a room that Danielle, future Kappa President’s and all of the Kappa sisters will love for years to come. Danielle was so gracious and told me that she had never had all new furniture and her own room. I have no doubt she’s going to make the fantastic President! She is bright, beautiful and has a talented future ahead of her. Best of luck Danielle and enjoy this special time making memories and gaining sisters for life.
Thanks again for taking this walk down memory lane with me. If you’d like to shop any of these Raymour & Flanigan decor items that I’ve used in Danielle’s room click on the links below and DO NOT FORGET to see how I decorated my daughter Chloe’s Freshman dorm room. It was s total transformation!
Jasmina Accent Chair | Teepa Table Lamps | Plumley Headboard | Nadia Throw Pillows | Soleil Throw Pillows | Davis Striped Table Lamp | Retreat Bedroom Chest | Satori Storage Ottoman | Emmerson Rug | Juliette Accent Table |Chatham Accent Chest | Jordan Writing Desk
Kappa Blue and True
Here’s Danielle with her Kappa sister Erica and Beta Tau KKG House Board Member Rockette. A special thanks to Sue W. the Kappa house mom who gave me this opportunity to leave my design and artistic mark on the President’s room.
Big Hair, Don’t Care
*I have received products from Raymour & Flanigan in exchange for this post. All expressed opinions are 100% mine.