SARAH LUPTON, a 21-year-old English major at Duke University, had a simple approach to dorm living: move out. But when her off-campus living arrangement fell through this summer, she found herself locked into yet another “grungy and beige” campus residence for her senior year.
Her solution was intense color. She painted her bedroom walls green and covered the ceiling with fabric she got on sale at Hancock Fabrics in Durham, N.C., for about $5 a yard. (The fabric was tacked or nailed on.)
The bedspread, curtain, Tibetan prayer flags and altar artifacts came from India, where she traveled last summer. She estimates their cost at about $50. The ceiling fixture is a $7 paper lantern from World Market, where Ms. Lupton also found a string of small boxed lights for $15.
The rich colors in Ms. Lupton’s room were so appealing that she and her roommate, Carolyn McDaniel, a 20-year-old theater studies major, decided to extend them throughout their two-bedroom suite.
They painted the living room bright red, and their kitchen and Ms. McDaniel’s room bright yellow. Then, Ms. Lupton says, they “kind of Jackson Pollocked” her roommate’s bedroom, splattering the leftover red paint on the yellow walls.
The result has been a great success.
“Now, we have people over for dinner all the time,” Ms. Lupton says. “It’s a really nice space, everyone likes it. You spend so much time in your place, you want to make it really nice.”
At the end of the school year, she says, she and Ms. McDaniel will be required to return the apartment to its original beige, but to them it’s worth it.