Lawrenceville’s Best-Decorated Dorm Rooms

BETTINA AND HAZEL:

In the Reynolds House, Bettina Tapiero ’20 and Hazel Schaus ’20 designed their room around pop art aesthetic using the color pink––Tapiero’s favorite color––to create an uplifting atmosphere. Living in a “quad,” comprised of three interconnecting rooms for four people in Reynolds, the two decided to share a room for the third year in a row. For decorations, Tapiero and Schaus chose to reuse some of their decorations from previous years but changed some of the centerpieces of the room. This year, the centerpieces are two neon pink signs, one being a heart with an arrow through it, and the other being a lightning bolt, which Tapiero said was “something they coordinated as a room.” “We didn’t want the entire quad to have the exact same decor, but we wanted a connection between the three rooms,” she added.

Although they drew inspiration from boarding school dorm pictures on social media and at Lawrenceville, Schaus emphasized that they didn’t want to purchase stereotypical dorm decorations and posters. Both Tapiero and Schaus are artists, so they have designed a lot of their decor, particularly their collages. Using their knowledge of space and design, they put up their posters and collages to avoid “awkward negative spaces,” according to Tapiero.

One challenge Tapiero noted was the lengthy process of designing her own collages. First, Tapiero picks a “canvas”—often a posterboard— and decides on the shape of her collage. Currently, she has rectangle collages in her room, but in the past she has had circles and B-shaped collages. She also designs collages for her friends based on their specific interests. After deciding on the shape, Tapiero selects a theme for her posters, such as a bright pink and modern or a cool-tone, somber theme. Then, she finds online photos or ones with her family and friends that fit the theme. Using the background of the posterboard, Tapiero places her images, which can amount to over 50 pictures and craftily organizes them into a cohesive, aesthetic collage. Adding to Tapiero’s collages, Schaus worked towards making the room a place where they would enjoy living for their V Form year.

“I really wanted to keep everything cozy and homey,” Schaus said, keeping in mind that this would be a room she and others would live, work, relax, and hang out in for a year. “[Schaus and I] didn’t want to pick decor that was just a ‘phase,’ so we worked together to find prints or work by artists we both like, album art from our favorite albums, and some of our favorite photos we have together to make sure that our room is a place that makes us feel happy and reflects the two of us equally,” Tapiero added. Two of their favorite posters are a pop art poster of Crisco, designed by a small artist based out of London and their J. Cole album cover for the album “KOD.” Due to space constraints, Tapiero and Schaus chose to bunk their beds because they “didn’t want the room to be awkward or cramped,” Schaus said. This cleared up space in the room with more area to hang out, something that the two did not want to give up after a downsize from their IV to V Form dorm room.

SAM:

With band posters, a phonograph records turntable, and ornamented skateboard decks, Sam Boston ’21 decorated his room around the theme of the artistic outlets he loves, creating a warm and creative space. When asked to describe his room, Boston mentioned his beautifully-colored “Connecticut” and Henri Matisse-print posters, both of which his grandmother gave him, adding elements of his hometown, Darien, Connecticut, to his room. Skateboard decks line the opposite wall, three of which feature designs made by Boston himself, inspired by maverick skateboarder Jim Greco’s filmography. Smaller knickknacks and details complete the room, along with an inviting futon and spacious, minimalist bookshelf.

Above all, elements of music and music culture dominate the room. Boston’s favorite poster hangs over his desk: an intricate, colorful Grateful Dead design, a band which Boston has spent the past two years studying, not just their music, but their influential culture of “peace, love, and happiness,” he said. One of his most prized possessions is his electric guitar, the Fender Jazzmaster, which Sam places at the front of his room. He has a well-stocked supply of his favorite records along with a number of musicians’ biographies and studies placed alongside his records, most of which feature subcategories of rock music. For Boston, music has a natural connection to visual art and design in the form of vinyl covers.

Beyond the overtone of music and skateboard designs, Boston enjoys establishing functional purposes for random items in his room, such as a ceramic shark head which serves as a pencil holder. “I don't know what the intended use for [the shark head] was, but I found one,” Boston said. Hanging from the ceiling in a corner is an origami Japanese crane, a gift from an online record seller in Japan. Similarly, Sam purchased a 1980s photograph featuring the band Pavement from a photographer whose work he had been following on Instagram.

Boston views his room as a work in progress and enjoys changing the layout of his decorations.

“I can’t keep [my room] too static. I think that’s boring,” he said. Boston is always looking to make his room warmer and more comfortable. While he enjoys his array of posters and skateboards, Sam appreciates the simple aspects of room design and primarily focuses on creating a lively space.

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