Creative Dorm Decorating Ideas for a Hip College Hangout

Creative dorm decorating ideas (including colorful bedding) from interior stylist Lesley Myrick

I’ve done the dorm life thing (albeit over a decade ago). Living in a cinderblock box doesn’t have to suck! I’ve got some creative dorm decorating ideas that can transform even the most bland room into a hip college hangout. Check out my tips on KWTX:


(Can’t see the embedded video? Click here.)

Here’s the big takeaway: focus on what you can change, not what you can’t. You may not be able to put nail holes in the wall or paint over the hideous bland walls, but you can introduce color, pattern and texture through bedding and area rugs; find temporary solutions for boring walls with removable wallpaper; arrange your books in a stylish and intentional way; and express your aesthetic through accessories and accent furniture. (Or if you’re a little rebellious like me, you can also sneak a colorful pet fish into your space despite the “no pets” rule. But that’s a story for another day.)

A cool dorm room is totally do-able. And if designing it isn’t your jam, I’ve got local and virtual design packages to get you set with a kickass space this school year:

Book a design consultation with interior stylist Lesley Myrick

A Colorful and Cozy Boston Living Room

A colorful and cozy Boston, MA living room designed by Lesley Myrick Art + Design

Boston. Home of clam chowder, Fenway Park, and this colorful and cozy living room for a rad music-loving couple. Their Colonial Revival home built in 1910 is seriously East Coast cute – but seriously lacking storage. And that just will not do! Plus, a gorgeous black grand piano was a must-have in this space, so I had my creative challenges ahead of me.

Above is a peek at the moodboard with the design plan created during our consultation. Because the piano takes up nearly half of the room – and the couple has their their first baby on the way – I chose a set of ocean blue leather storage ottomans in lieu of a traditional coffee table. The ottomans can float in front of the sofa to create a coffee table; separate to act as extra seating; or push against the window wall to create an open playspace for their forthcoming wee one. (There’s also hidden storage in the hammered metal drum accent table. I love when a room has its fun little storage secrets.)

A plush, deep-tufted sofa was a must – duh, I’m obsessed – as was a perfectly worn-in leather accent chair. I love the pairing of cool deep cobalt blue with warm cognac leather, and the bold colors in the rugs and artwork bring a freshness to this traditional pairing. And can we talk about that rug? Electric orange and hot pink together are totally mind-blowing.

Practical and pulled-together, but colorful and not-so-serious. That’s a winning combo for a livable, delightful, and unexpected home.

Book a design consultation with interior stylist Lesley Myrick

Home Work

As the home columnist for Wacoan magazine, I’m psyched to share my insights and ideas about interior design and home decor each month. Here’s an excerpt from my current column, “Home Work: Harmonizing Opposing Styles in a Shared Home Office”. Read the full article (for free, woot!) at Wacoan.com, and check out the full article archive here.

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office

Opposing design styles don’t have to live in opposition. Great interiors are all about the mix, and my strength is curating eclectic elements and arranging them from a unique design perspective so the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. It’s a given that you and your significant other are not going to see eye to eye on every individual design choice. It’s about knowing your own unique, dynamic preferences and making them work together as a whole. And thankfully, Nate’s a pretty great partner to share an office with, even if he is the one responsible for the floating deer head that appears to be watching over my shoulder while I work…

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Best Waco Home Decor Stores

Lesley Myrick, Waco interior designer shopping at The Findery

I’ve lived in Waco for a full year now, and have been all about seeking out the best home decor stores in the city for my clients. While I often visit the Dallas design district for trade-only shopping, I love being able to support local businesses and build relationships here in town.

Since bajillions of design-loving tourists are visiting Waco due to a certain HGTV show called Fixer Upper (like you haven’t heard of it!) I wanted to share some of my favorite places to shop in Waco. Sure, go to the Magnolia Silos while you’re here. It’s a great place to soak in the show’s vibe and enjoy a coffee and cupcake on their gorgeous lawn. Once you’ve grabbed your #Shiplap t-shirt check out some of these other fab design resources I love.

Wacos best home decor shopping - Honey's Home + Style
Waco's best home decor and furniture - The Findery
Waco's best home decor and furniture - Interior Glow

Honey’s Home + Style, 1700 Austin Ave – You want gorgeous, high-end furniture, lighting, and decor? Honey’s is your place. You’ll find stunning casegoods, colorful abstract art, and the most plush and inviting velvet accent pillows. They’re old-school – don’t expect to be able to take photos to share on Instagram – but have a great eye for luxe design finds.

The Findery, 501 S 8th St – Love love LOVE this place. (I’m hanging out in their light-filled upper level in the top photo.) Not only do they have rad furniture and decor with many of the tables and benches available to customize, they’ve also got great clothing, jewelry, and accessories. I always find something I love here. Located in Waco’s historic Percy Medicine Building, I happen to have insider knowledge that there’s a prohibition-era secret room in the basement. So rad.

Interior Glow, 601 Franklin Ave – Brand new to Waco, Interior Glow opened about a month ago. They’ve got a unique design perspective that I haven’t seen elsewhere in Waco. You’ll find a mix of gorgeous basics (like tufted linen sofas) and unique accent pieces (like the teak root, glass, and brushed steel coffee table in the photo above that I actually just purchased for a client).

Best Waco home decor and furniture shopping - Wildland Supply Co
Waco's best home decor shopping - Spice Village
Waco's best home decor and furniture shopping - Cameron Trading Co

Wildland Supply Co., 721 Washington Ave – Currently in the process of moving to a larger space on Washington Ave, Wildland Supply Co is temporarily closed. But it’ll be worth the wait, because Wildland’s curated collection of clothing, decor, and furniture makes you feel like you’re in the pages of a hip magazine. Plus, adorable owner Kate knows how to rock an Instagram feed.

Spice Village, 2nd St at Franklin Ave – A collection of shops, Spice has dozens of vendors selling everything from clothing to candles to decor. While you won’t find large furniture pieces here, it’s a great place to shop tabletop items, party decor, and gifts.

Cameron Trading Co., 618 Austin Ave –  36,000 sq. ft. of random antique goodness. As with any antique mall, it’s hit-or-miss. But you’ll find little gems like handcrafted accent furniture made from raw wood or hair-on-hide; refinished antique furniture; and weird little odds and ends that just make a room freakin’ fabulous.

If you’re a Wacoan – or just a devoted Fixer Upper fan obsessed with this city – I’d love to hear your go-to Waco home and decor stores. Pop over to the Lesley Myrick Art + Design Facebook page (and “like” us while you’re there) to let me know your favorite shopping sources.

Book a design consultation with interior stylist Lesley Myrick

Lesley’s Picks: 10 Best Area Rugs

The cheesy, slightly cliched phrase is true; area rugs really are “art for the fifth wall.” If you’re neglecting your floors when decorating, you’re missing a major opportunity to introduce pattern, texture, color and warmth to really make a space feel finished.

A vibrant rug can completely transform a neutral room, and a graphic black and white rug totally makes everything feel pulled together. Here are the 10 best area rugs rocking my world, from the super affordable and ubiquitous IKEA Stockholm rug, to the stunningly unique rug of my dreams by Marc Phillips, Splash #4.

Interior Stylist Lesley Myrick's favorite area rugs
  1. 1. IKEA Stockholm | 2. RugsUSA Zebra Cowhide | 3. Surya Zeus | 4. Surya Skyline | 5. Anthropologie Whipstitch, Dark Turquoise | 6. Safavieh Monaco Multi |  7. West Elm Kite Wool Kilim, Horizon | 8. Madeline Weinrib Bellini Silk Gemma | 9. Maryam Montague Moroccan Azilal | 10. Marc Phillips Splash #4

“Lesley’s Picks: 10 Best” are roundups of my favorite home products in a range of prices. Check out the complete “10 Best” archives here, and find more furniture, home decor, and lighting I love on Pinterest.

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Lesley’s Picks: 10 Best Contemporary Artists

Stating that these are the “10 best contemporary artists” is pretty bold – but these are definitely my favorites as of late. If you’ve been looking for some uh-ma-zing colorful art to adorn your walls, check out these talented peeps who are currently rocking the art world. I’ve selected a piece I love from each abstract painter, mixed media artist, and collage artist to give you a taste of what they’re all about.

Clearly, I’m into modern abstract art right now – large swathes of hot pink and teal and mustard yellow. Yum. Whether an oversize original, framed and matted paper print, or gallery-wrap canvas print, this is the kind of wall decor that brings all the feels. I’m drawn to art that elicits a certain feeling or emotion, even if I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Also, don’t these just make you want to grab a paintbrush and smear some paint around? #weekendgoals

Interior stylist Lesley Myrick's 10 favorite contemporary artists | Abstract art, collage art, and mixed media for home decor1. Lola Donoghue | 2. Michelle Armas | 3. Martina Furlong | 4. Britt Bass Turner | 5. Mary Wangerin |  6. Jennifer Flannigan | 7. Marcelo Monreal (you may remember his work from my foyer) | 8. Christina Baker | 9. Alexis Walter | 10. Belinda Marshall

“Lesley’s Picks: 10 Best” are roundups of my favorite home products in a range of prices. Check out the complete “10 Best” archives here, and find more furniture, home decor, and lighting I love on Pinterest.

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The Great Outdoors, Indoors

As the home columnist for Wacoan magazine, I’m psyched to share my insights and ideas about interior design and home decor each month. Here’s an excerpt from my current column, “The Great Outdoors, Indoors: Natural Elements Help a Home Feel Complete”. Read the full article (for free, woot!) at Wacoan.com, and check out the full article archive here.

Lesley Myrick's Ideal Home column for Wacoan magazine, July 2016

I’ve always been drawn to indoor spaces that feature an impressive potted tree or collection of lush ferns or perfectly imperfect floral trimmings set in a gorgeous vessel. Even in college I was sure to include some sort of greenery in my residential design projects. In fact, my family still teases me about a tree I included in the living room of a loft design. I was a bit generous when adding this feature to my scaled floor plan, and what I had intended to be a modest indoor fiddle-leaf fig tree would have needed an epic custom support system to handle its massive roots and soaring height. I accidentally drew it far too large on the plan, and since this was the era of using permanent ink on Mylar, there was no turning back. Whoops.

I’m happy to say that my sense of scale and my knowledge of computer-assisted drafting programs allowing the editing of poorly scaled potted trees has improved greatly since the early 2000s…

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DIY Bookshelf Built-In

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office

Boy meets girl. Boy marries girl. Boy is a devastatingly handsome rockstar academic with, like, a million books. Girl is a clever designer who creates a DIY bookshelf built-in spanning an entire 14′ wall to house her handsome hubby’s ever-growing library. Boy and girl live happily ever after with their plethora of color-coded bookshelves.

It’s like a modern fairy tale, isn’t it? I’m delighted that we got to the ‘happily ever after’ because our book situation could seriously be a thorn in the roses. But with some creativity, resourcefulness, and help from our friends at Metrie, there’s some magic happening here.

You may remember what our office looked like before:

Interior designer Lesley Myrick's home office makeover - before

Great blank canvas. Pretty boring. No storage.

And here’s where we’re at now:

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office

Ahhhh. So good! And way more practical for a couple who both primarily work from home. While time consuming, it was actually pretty simple to create this built-in look. We started by piecing together the individual elements needed. The IKEA Micke desk and the three tall Billy bookshelves on the left were existing from our former home; the two tall bookshelves on the right and the half-height shelf for my printer were purchased new for this project. Also needed: a 3/8″ thick cork roll from Manton Cork for the wall behind my desk; a chic Nate Berkus fabric to cover the corkboard; and moldings from Metrie to create the built-in look. We used this 2 11/16″ crown molding for the top of the built-in, a 3 1/4″ baseboard for the bottom, and 1/2″ quarter round to finish off the inside corners of the corkboard. (We also beefed up the crown molding at the ceiling to 4 1/4″ to keep everything in proportion.)

DIY Billy bookcase built in with Metrie trim, by interior stylist Lesley Myrick

The basics of how this faux built-in is assembled is pretty simple: arrange all the pieces, mark off where the corkboard needs to be and attach, then anchor everything to the wall and finish off with molding. The custom corkboard ended up being the hardest part! I used a heavy-duty floor grade adhesive as recommended by the cork manufacturer, but it really didn’t stick. Several nails were needed to hold the cork in place as it’s quite heavy. Covering it with a patterned fabric was not only an aesthetic choice but a practical one to hide several large nailheads underneath.

DIY Billy bookcase built in with Metrie trim, by interior stylist Lesley Myrick DIY Billy bookcase built in with Metrie trim, by interior stylist Lesley Myrick

You may have noticed that the inside back panels of the bookshelves are wallpapered. It’s a delightfully eclectic mix of vintage-inspired black and white patterns, as we’ve collected the bookshelves over the years and had to mix in new patterns as we ran out of wallpaper. The two damask patterned papers aren’t still available, but the awesome Gibson Girls-inspired wallpaper is.

Can we take a moment to appreciate these sexy mitered corners on the crown and baseboard? As if my husband weren’t awesome enough, he knows his way around a miter saw. #truelove

DIY Billy bookcase built in with Metrie trim, by interior stylist Lesley Myrick DIY Billy bookcase built in with Metrie trim, by interior stylist Lesley MyrickDIY Billy bookcase built in with Metrie trim, by interior stylist Lesley Myrick

Once the moldings were painted and installed, we patched up the nail holes and touched up the paint. The color we found was the closest match to the IKEA Billy series was Valspar Dove White, thanks to a recommendation found here (along with a more detailed DIY bookcase built-in tutorial).

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office

Boom. There she is. Well worth the effort to transform standard bookshelves into a custom DIY bookshelf built-in for our shared office.

If you’d like to see more of my home you can check out my living room, foyer, and entire home office here.

Book a design consultation with interior stylist Lesley Myrick

My Home Office Makeover – After

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home OfficeSometimes you’ve just gotta wait for the perfect piece to complete a space.

For my home office that I share with my PhD student husband, that piece was a mounted deer head. His name is Hector, he sits above my husband’s desk, and this room is definitely more interesting with a stoic deer face greeting me every time I turn around in my chair.

Anyway. Now that Hector has finally made his appearance (after a 22-hour car trek from Minnesota, no less!), on with the tour of my home office makeover. You may remember what the space looked like before. We transformed what was the home’s formal dining room into a dual (triple, if you count the little desk area we included for my toddler) workspace with a wall of built-in bookcases. It’s a dynamic mix of masculine and feminine, pattern and solids, neutrals and color.

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home OfficeIt’s subtle, but the painted ceiling is one of my favorite parts of the room. With white walls and neutral curtains, we needed a little pop to keep the space from falling flat. The ceiling color is Sherwin Williams Rainwashed, a pretty blue-green with a lot of grey in it. It’s just a whisper of color, the perfect amount for a room with 8′ ceilings. If the ceilings were higher, I would’ve gone bolder and more jewel-toned – but for this space, a softer ceiling color allowed the room to stay bright and airy. The beadboard walls are painted in Sherwin Williams Downy, a creamy white that contrasts nicely with the crisp white trim and bookshelves.

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office

The Lesley Myrick Art + Design half of the office is all about making space for creativity. The white built-ins, desk, filing cabinet, and pedestal table allows me a blank canvas for the colorful books, fabric swatches, and tear sheets that are always layered on top and within the shelves. There’s a ton of pattern making an appearance, but keeping it all in a neutral palette makes it chic, not crazy.

I designed the giant floor-to-ceiling bulletin board behind my desk to tack up swatches and inspiration for client projects. The space is always transforming depending on what I’m working on, and it’s nice to be able to clear everything off and give my senses a rest in between design sessions.

And OMG I’m totally psyched about the DIY built-ins. Gorgeous moldings from Metrie transformed stock bookshelves into something super custom. (I’ll be sharing a how-to post next week if you’re curious about how to do it.) You’ll notice my bookshelf styling is pretty relaxed – when you’re married to an academic, books come and go frequently, so it’s best not to get attached to a rigid book arrangement. Everyone’s got their own opinion about how to style shelves, but for me, it’s ALWAYS BOOKS BY COLOR.

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office

Nate’s half of the office definitely has an industrial vibe with a masculine edge, which I dig. I love the contrast between our two halves of this shared space.

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office

Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home Office Waco interior designer Lesley Myrick's Home OfficeAnd of course, we had to make a workspace for our kiddo in the office too. He’s got his own desk, a surface for alphabet magnets, and a custom corkboard for displaying daycare arts and crafts. (How cute is that crooked little Texas flag he made? I die.)

Thanks for checking out my rad new home office. I’m grateful to create design awesomeness for my clients in here every day. If you’d like to see more of my home, check it out here.

Work with Lesley Myrick | Waco Interior Design and Styling

Summer 2016 Home Decor Picks

Summer 2016 home decor trends - picks from interior stylist @lesleymyrick

“Yay! Summer’s here!” – said nobody in Texas ever

It’s crazy hot here this time of year, so basically it’s time to crank the AC, stay indoors, and have a little fun with home decor. I mean, if it’s well over 100 degrees and you’re stuck inside, it might as well be an awesome space to be stuck in, right?

Aqua, peacock blue, fuchsia, and brass have totally been calling my name this season. It’s a fresh summer vibe that has staying power from season to season when layered with the right pieces.

Here are my favorite summer 2016 home decor picks:

Mimira Canape Plate | LOVE Wall Decor |  Tourmaline Latte Bowls | Booze Decanter | DENY Watercolor Throw Pillow | Rudi Double Loop Pendant | Metal Woven Chindi Chair | Woman in a Boat Painting

Want to see more of my favorite pieces – stuff I would actually buy for myself and for my clients? Browse the interior styling archives for oodles of design goodness.

Also – get my FREE e-book, 5 Tips to Design a Clean and Colorful Living Room That Totally Kicks Ass, as well as exclusive weekly content by email right here.