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The Dorm Room Makeover

Well, it’s finally happened. My oldest daughter has gone off to college this past weekend. Am I really old enough for this to happen? Obviously, yes. It’s truly a bittersweet time for us left at home, but we are excited for her.
A couple of months ago we bought her bedding: a super cute Martha Stewart line called Whim! It’s a dark grey with gold, black, and light grey dots. She wasn’t interested in decorating her dorm, so I backed off and left it alone. Then, a week ago when I saw her spray painting stuff for her desk and wall, I realized that she really did want some cute things for her room. So, I got right to work on a chair (of course) and some art to hang above her dorm room desk. I just so happened to have this small French chair ready for a makeover.
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I knew she liked gold since she was going crazy with the gold spray paint.  I knew the frame of the chair would be gold. I used fabric that would tie to the bedding but also give it a lift with some color. I wanted to bring out the blush pink, yellow, and navy as well as highlight the grey.
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I love this look and was pleasantly surprised at how awesome it looked with the gold frame.
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Next up, a pallet sign! I found a guy selling a load of dissembled pallet wood for $20 on Craigslist and made a run for it along with a friend and my younger daughter. Funny story…he went on and on about how much he helped me out by taking the pallets apart while at the same time not lifting a finger to help us load it in the back of my truck. Anyway, once I got the stash home, I played with several different layouts until I got the look I wanted. I had my husband nail them together and trim off a couple of pieces on one end. I left the top as is with uneven pieces to make it a little more interesting.
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My daughter told me she wanted “Be Bold, Be Brave” stenciled on it, so I took out my stencils and blush pink paint. Trust me, if you’ve never done this, it’s the easiest thing you will ever do and it only takes a few minutes. Just dab a sponge in the paint and fill in the stencil.
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I then decided to use our dog’s paws to make a flower. Nike has a clean paw print, but Zeus’ paw is so furry! Oh well, they are distinct from one another and I felt that it would be a sweet way for my daughter to remember her dogs while she’s away. It’s like they are rooting her on, saying “Be Bold and Be Brave, Raegan! You go girl!”
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I found some battery operated amber lights at Pier 1 as well as some gold clips at Hobby Lobby that I screwed into the pallet. These are perfect for hanging pictures, sayings, or notes. A fun rug in a dark yellow finishes off the look and brings some cheer to the room.
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And here’s the finished product.
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Her “new home” is an expression of her, just like our living spaces are expressions of us. It really only takes a few tweaks to customize these boring spaces. And hopefully, these small pieces—made especially for her—will bring comfort as she begins this new stage in her life.

Wendy Conklin

I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

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