College bedroom inspiration with wallpaper and simple bedding via @thouswellblog(via Lonny)

My older sister, Julia is moving off campus from a dorm to a bedroom is a house she’s renting with a group of friends. I was super excited when she turned to me for help decorating her new space, since she now has hardwood floors and room for a queen bed and dresser! I immediately got to work honing-in on an affordable bedroom design that was space and cost efficient, without sacrificing on style. I knew Julia would prefer a neutral color palette that leaned towards cool colors, so I chose a wallpaper pattern I could mount on hollow-core doors behind the bed for a removable pop of color that would be easy to install and remove. I found stylish smaller pieces from west elm that my sister could take with her to her next place, and hacked the dresser for a design solution that didn’t break the budget on the larger pieces in the room.

P.S. Save 30% off all bedding and get free shipping at west elm with code STAYINBED!


My sister’s in a dual-degree program with Tufts University and School of the Museum of Fine Arts and is an incredible fine artist, but just decided to go pre-med this year. I loved this wallpaper pattern in the first place, but it’s especially appropriate because it’s inspired by the shape of amoeba cells! The pattern has a smaller scale than my design board shows – you can see it in a room on the Walls Republic website. I’m excited to bring such a big statement to the room in a temporary way! I’m mounting the wallpaper on 80×34 inch hollow-core doors so that they are wider than the bed once on the wall.

Dressers can get expensive, so we found an easy design solution that takes a lackluster IKEA dresser (just a simple Nordli dresser) and adds a bespoke touch and a pop of blue with these fun legs from PrettyPegs. You may remember my DIY desk project with them, and I just love how the simple addition of unique legs can transform a piece.

I’ll be up in Boston to install my sister’s room and share a walk-through of the space on the west elm snapchat at the end of the month, so stay tuned to their account (and mine as well for behind-the-scenes) and for the official reveal on their blog Front+Main soon!

Kevin O'Gara signature on Thou Swell

Product for this project is provided by Minted, Pretty Pegs, Walls Republic, and west elm. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep Thou Swell running!

Leave a Comment


  1. I love this, Kevin! That’s going to be such a beautiful space. And have so much fun while you’re here in Boston! ?

    Posted 7.25.16 Reply
  2. Alfredo Ciano wrote:

    Excellent Style , Ok !!!

    Posted 7.23.16 Reply
  3. I’m moving off campus and sharing a large one-bedroom apartment with a friend this coming school year! Ahh this is getting me even more psyched -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    Posted 7.21.16 Reply
  4. That side table and chair are perfect! Love the whole look!

    Posted 7.21.16 Reply
  5. Love your design, Kevin! Can’t wait to see it come together. My favorite detail are those pale blue legs for the dresser. You are so clever!

    Posted 7.21.16 Reply
    • I love how a little addition like that can completely change how the dresser will look! Thanks Stevie!

      Posted 7.22.16 Reply

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