Magazine article USA TODAY

Doing the Dorm. (What's New?)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Doing the Dorm. (What's New?)

Article excerpt

Yes, we know. It seems like just yesterday that you took your last final exam and were finally freed from the chains of early-morning classes. Another long, lazy summer was about to begin. Time sure flies when there's no school. But your seemingly all-too-short break from the rigors of academia are already history--and it's time to head to campus and get set up in the dorm. Whether a first-timer away from home or a grizzled college veteran (just how long are you going to remain a sophomore?), the proper supplies can mean the difference between a cozy oasis for studying and relaxing and a hellhole that is sure to bring down your grades as well as your head.

A good place to start is All Dorm, Inc., Santa Clara, Calif., where the Scrawlwall Dry Erase Board ($14.99), Adventure Armchair ($19.99), Sterlite Stackable Drawers (set of four, $49.99), and Crouton ($99), a cousin to the futon, not for your salad, will get the ball rolling.

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Every dorm room needs a message board, but they're usually too small. Not the Scrawlwall, which covers a full-size door using nothing but static electricity. The Adventure Armchair, meanwhile, has a cup holder, large rear mesh pocket, and is constructed of steel frames and durable nylon with double-stitched seams.

To get organized, nothing beats stackable, pull-out drawers that save space and hold plenty of stuff, unless it's a comfortable, ergonomically-correct couch with a lift-up seat section that conceals a huge storage basket. Check out www.alldorm.com to order these and other student-related products.

As long as you're online, jump over to target.com to see the "Todd Oldham Dorm Room" collection, the chain's first designer selection for students to decorate dorm rooms and off-campus apartments. True to form, Oldham has created product with pattern, reinterpreting camouflage, playing with multicolor stripes, putting a funky spin on stars, and bringing vintage varsity letters into the 21st century. Some items are multifunctional, while others are strictly a study in whimsy and fun. We especially liked the castered Laundry Basket ($20); Star Trash Can ($10); Star Ottoman ($25); Peg Accent Lamp ($15), in which the removable pegs make for endless design possibilities; Pole Lamp ($20, with lampshades of blue, green, and red, and a tension pole that extends from 7.5' to 8.5'); and Jersey Knit Bed Set (twin, $50, full/queen, $60). The latter includes a fully elastic-fitted sheet, reversible oversized flat sheet, reversible oversized comforter, and two reversible pillowcases, so one set can create many different looks.

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If you're looking for something to use the Bed Set on, go no further than the Pillowtop Aerobed by Aero Products International, Inc., Wauconda, III available through the company's website (www.thinkaero.com) and the Sharper Image (San Francisco, Calif.) catalogue (phone: 1-800-344-4444; website: sharperimage.com).

Inflating in just one minute thanks to the built-in electric pump, the Pillowtop, with its custom one-touch comfort-control, allows users to fine-tune the inflation--while lying in bed--to exactly the level of support desired. Each of the Aerobed models--twin ($129.95), full ($169.95), and queen ($199.95)--accommodates standard fitted sheets and deflates quickly to roll up conveniently into a duffel for storage or travel. There's also the Aero Sleep Away Bed for children ($79.95)--50" x 25", and recessed 4" for safety--made of heavy gauge PVC with electronically welded seams that can support up to 150 pounds and comes with a washable mattress cover. …

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