Fun Dorm Room Art

College dorm rooms are so boring and few students take the time to create imaginative environments. The typical room looks like this: one or two twin beds with makeshift quilts borrowed from the guest room at home. Of course, they don’t match. Then there is a cotton handmade rug graciously donated by grandma freshman year. It does it work throughout the room’s usage. Two rough wood desks are crammed against the wall and there is barely enough room to walk around them. In between is a small bookshelf made of bricks and pieces of lumber. As many books as you can imagine are piled high. On every vacant wall (there are three while the other is a window) are unframed posters of rock groups or political figures. Some are dog-eared with torn edges. The window has a sheer curtain that is simply held up by an expandable rod. It doesn’t do much for privacy or even block out the morning light. I dare you to tell me that your dorm room is more glamorous and has a designer quilt and matching throw that lies comfortably between a stack of comfy pillows. We should all be so lucky. Maybe some affluent young women will go this far for her room, but most of us make do with what we have gathered.

One weekend, we decided to have a “let’s make our rooms look cool” weekend so we got out all the black light paint (called glow in the dark) we could find. We didn’t want to just paint a few walls in bright colors. We wanted magical murals that would be revealed by a black light flashlight. We knew we would not be damaging school property as students were always allowed to paint their rooms. There must be dozens of coats of paint in every one. Those of us who were participating considered it as a kind of contest. We prepared one or two walls with primer paint and then proceeded to apply our design. We wouldn’t show anyone in advance as there was going to be a big reveal at the end of the weekend.

We had never done a black light effect before and this was sure to be the most unique decorating the dorm manager had ever seen. Some people did undersea displays of creepy crawly eels and multi-colored iridescent fish. The bright green sea plants swayed in the imaginary depths. Others did spooky Halloween scenes where evil faces were sure to keep away intruders. Then there were circus scenes and over-the-top fairy lands with wildly colored denizens. It was hard to pick a winner, but we did. The lucky student artist had a coupon for a free dinner for four at a local restaurant. Also of interest, was the appearance of the local press complete with black light flashlights in hand. They loved the concept and said they hoped that these would be permanent decorations. For year to come, students would fight over which rooms they could secure for a semester or year.