August 30, 2011

Dorm decor 1950s style

Day 242 of Vintage 365


Having never lived on campus in a dorm, I can't say as though I have any personal experience when it comes to decorating one, but I've certainly visited other peoples' and seen my fair share of these (usually) pocket-sized colligate dwellings before.

As with nearly all abodes, the decor in dorm rooms can run the gamut from painfully Spartan to glamorously gorgeous. Most fall squarely in between, veering towards the practical side of life - chocked full of items like a desk, comfy chair, bed (usually twin size), computer and printer, dresser, and bookcase.

Tiny spaces intended to hold the most basic creature comforts of life, while allowing students to productively plug away at their studies, dorms have been a way of collage life for millions of students over the years.

As the the new school year kicking off right about now, I thought it would be fun to share a cute I image I found recently of a 1950s dorm room with you.

{Charming vintage dorm room photo via Vassarcollegearchives on Flickr.}


In this shot of two 1950s Vassar College students pouring over their books we see a room that is both similar and different from many dorms today. It strikes me as being more reserved and homelike, with it's spindle back chairs, double curtain windows, and pair of rugs. It's not luxurious in the slightest, yet it seems inviting and comfortable.

The walls are free of posters, photos, bulletin boards, and mirrors, a small lone piece of artwork the only thing adoring their pale hued paint. I like that girls have added a few feminine touches in the form of things like the floral print bedspreads and cute plush dogs.

Three lamps ensure they needn't strain their eyes as they read chapter after chapter; what looks like folding chairs propped against the right wall are likely for when company stops by, and (slightly beat-up) shelving near the door gives the ladies a place to house their shoes and handbags.

Like so many rooms of the decade, this college dorm is both sweet and utilitarian. It speaks to the necessary frugality most students face, yet really looks like the kind of spot you could feel instantly at home in.

Were I headed off to a dorm of my own this fall, I'd definitely be looking at vintage photographs like this for inspiration on how to dress up my college digs! Smile


  1. I was describing this photo to my sister and mentioned I was surprised by the stuffed animals. My sister replied, "didnt YOU have a stuffed animal named Larry in college?". Busted. I had totally forgotten! LOL!

    I found this photo fascinating because of the lack of stuff in the room- no computers, no sound system, no tv, dvd player, etc. In addition I bet the ladies only have maybe 12 outfits as opposed to the hundreds girls have now. And finally, I thought the fold-up beach chairs at the end of the bed at the right were interesting.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

  2. Love the college dorm room. It is quite different from the dorms today. I wish I would have had a room like these girls when I was in school!

    Best Wishes,

  3. When I first became a professor in the early 90s, the upscale dorm building boom was just starting. I must confess that I started losing my tolerance for students complaining about their dorm rooms when I discovered that some of the suites were bigger and nicer than my first apartment!

    My dorm room at the state college back in the dark ages had cinder block walls. We put up a couple of posters to spiff it up and went wild by having a phone installed in the room.

    The best thing about my dorm? A really great guy roomed down the hall and we liked hanging out together...still do...31 years later :)

    PS: My roommate ended up marrying his roommate, too!

  4. This is a wonderful photo - especially juxtaposed with the recent articles about what kids are lugging to college nowadays. Give me a room like this any day.

    I have to say that your blog is absolutely delicious. I stumbled upon it and am eagerly looking forward to having the time to scroll through your archives. Every post I've seen is great fun.