Dorm Tours

Preppy Meets Boho in This Barbie-Inspired Dorm Suite

published Oct 3, 2023
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Home Type
Dorm (suite)
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, Virginia
Square feet
Sq ft
A bed with a pink head board and decorative ivy hangs down.
Credit: Nyjah Harris

Old Dominion University junior Nyjah Harris combined elements of preppy, boho, and disco aesthetics to turn her dorm bedroom, shared bathroom, and common living area into a Barbie Dream Dorm.

Credit: Nyjah Harris
Bar cart, $100, at Amazon; Funky mirror disco ball 6in, $5, at Five Below (gifted)

Nyjah’s Space

How did you end up in this suite? This space was provided to me by my university through a random housing assignment. 

What was your first impression? The living room and bathroom were really nice, spacious areas! I loved the window lighting in the living room, and the shape of it allowed a lot of freedom for decorating and adding additional furniture. When I looked at my bedroom, though, I was a little hesitant because of how small it was. However, I learned tricks to maximize my space. 

What’s your space best known for? It’s the hangout space! We always have movie nights, sleepovers, “family” dinners, and more. A lot of my friends call our dorm the “safe space,” as we’re always helping people out and providing an inclusive environment for everyone.

Credit: Nyjah Harris
Marble Wallpaper, $9.99, at Amazon; Jerry & Maggie Desktop Organizer, $25.99, at Amazon; NEUWEABY Vanity Mirror with Lights, $31.99, at Amazon

Nyjah’s Style

Define your personal home style: My personal style is preppy. I found most of my interior design inspiration from Barbie, as I love everything pink. There are also bohemian and minimalistic aspects incorporated into my room.

What’s your favorite part of your room? My gold bar cart, because it’s the perfect place to make my morning tea. I also love my disco ball because it gives me a boost of serotonin when the sunlight hits it in the morning.

Proudest DIY project? I found a waterproof, marble-design wallpaper on Amazon and added it to my sink’s countertop. It elevated my bathroom so much and made it feel much cozier. (I used the leftover paper to cover my desk.) Additionally, I changed out my showerhead to a filtered rainwater shower that I also purchased on Amazon.

Credit: Nyjah Harris
Whaline 9Pcs Preppy Travel Wall Art Prints, $13.99, at Amazon (gifted); vanity tray at Target

Nyjah’s Budget

In an effort to remove the stigma associated with talking about money in college, we’re asking students to share how they plan and budget for their space.

How much does your housing cost per semester? $4,697.

Do you have anyone helping to fund your housing? Yes, my mom.

Do you have anyone helping to fund your decor? Yes, some brands sent me products to decorate my room with.

What was your biggest splurge? My bar cart, $100.

Best budget find? My standing mirror, $10.

Credit: Nyjah Harris
APICIZON Round Side Table, $38.99, at Amazon; mirror, $10, at Target

Nyjah’s Advice

What was your biggest challenge in this space? The size. Originally, when I viewed the floor plan on my university’s website, it looked much bigger than what it actually was. My unit is on a corner, so it’s not as big as the other units. I wasn’t aware of this initially, so I had a bunch of stuff when I moved in and was nervous I wouldn’t be able to fit everything.

Credit: Old Dominion University

How did you maximize your space? I was prepared with a bunch of under-bed storage and organizers to fit everything. Adding a tiered cart to your bathroom is the perfect storage addition, as you can use it to hold cleaning supplies or any extra bathroom or hygiene items. This has provided more space underneath the sink and ultimately made our bathroom look more put-together. 

Credit: Nyjah Harris
Better Homes & Garden 17"x 58" Modern Arch Aluminum Floor Easel Mirror, $65, at Walmart (gifted); LED Globe String Lights, $10, at Target; galaxy projector at Target

Another helpful space-maximizing tip is to get a standing mirror for your bedroom or living room. Although this doesn’t necessarily provide additional storage, it creates the illusion of a bigger room. 

Lastly, investing in a storage ottoman will be a lifesaver for your miscellaneous items like extra towels, bedding, and more.

This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

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Nyjah Harris


Nyjah is a lover of sunsets, blueberry muffins, and shopping trips. If you can’t find her in the romance section of the bookstore, check your nearest Starbucks. Alongside writing and content creation, Nyjah is also a violinist who’s a little bit too obsessed with the composer Felix Mendelssohn.

Follow Nyjah
SchoolOld Dominion University '25
FavesStarbucks’ pink drink, romance novels, sunsets, orchestra
Get to know Nyjah Harris
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