Holiday decorating with minimal space


As the holidays approach, many students want to personalize their space with decorations. But with minimal space, a student needs to make use of the area they already have.

On campus, there are some experts on interior design, but there is a lot more to it than most people know. 

Students may not realize there is a difference between interior design and interior decorating. 

Interior design can also be known as interior architecture, Angela Boersma, a lecturer of interior design said, because designers do more than find materials, that is something they hardly touch on.

Interior designers work on the details of lighting, workspaces, how to select furnishings and finishing’s that meet code requirements, accessibility, safety of people and health of interior environments, Boersma said.

In a dorm or apartment, a student needs to be flexible about the use of space, Boersma said, because the place where a student eats becomes the place where the student sits and then becomes the place where they study.

“The way that interior designers design small, temporary spaces, are with things you can manipulate or transform to become different things,” Boersma said.

As a culture, humans tend to think they need more things than what are necessary, Boersma said, so to make use of space and to live well in that space, get rid of the things not needed. Furnishings in particular are not always necessary because they take up a lot of space.

“Unless something serves multiple functions, you probably do not need it,” Boersma said. “The more uses an object has, the better.”

While decorating and making use of a space can be fun and creative, students also need to be aware of the rules on campus.

According to the SDSU Housing and Residential Life Residential Handbook 2014-2015, students are allowed to decorate their rooms. These rules are in places so that nothing causes health or fire hazards or cause damage. No permanent alterations to student rooms are permitted, this includes painting or construction.

Nothing may be permanently affixed to any surface and residents are not permitted to use nails, screws or duct tape to attach or hang items.

Residents are allowed to have artificial trees but not formerly living trees or garland. When choosing which lights to use, students must have Underwriter Laboratory approved lights, and all lights must be shut off if no one is in the room.

If a student chooses to decorate their door, only 20 percent of the door may be covered. No cords are allowed to extend through or under door openings. 

These rules don’t hold back many students from decorating. Kristen Arends, a sophomore pre-nursing major, finds that this time of year allows students to add their own personal touch of Christmas spirit to their dorms or apartments.

“Last year my roommate and I put up lights and had a tiny plastic tree that we set up in our dorm,” Arends said. “This year my roommates and I got a three-foot artificial tree and decorated it with lights and blue and gold ornaments for South Dakota State University with a star on top of the tree. We also have multi-colored lighted hanging up in our room.”

To make decorations for her room last year, Arends went to the Pinterest night that was held in The Union last year. She made different kinds of ornaments, a snow globe and a snowflake out of popsicle sticks.

Arends finds that decorating in the dorm makes the room seem more like home. She and her family put up decorations each year, so putting up lights and other decor makes her room feel like she’s back with her family.

“Unfortunately there is not a lot of space in the dorms to decorate,” Arends said. “But I try to make use of the space that I have.”