Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dorm Decorations

About a month and a half ago, I saw a couple of funny articles online discussing the most overused posters in college dorm rooms. (One was at A.V. Club Austin, the other at College Candy.) Having lived in residence halls and worked in residence life, I can tell you with some amount of certainty that the people who wrote these articles are, in fact, correct. (I think that they also left out a few of the worst offenders. For example, the A.V. article cites Pulp Fiction posters, which are supposed to indicate a love of gratuitous violence, but I would argue that Scarface posters are much more popular and would seem to say the same thing. Neither article mentions Salvador Dali prints, either, but I assure you--they are prevalent. Faux-retro alcohol signs such as this are also popular.) 

So instead of opting for one of these overexposed types, why not try something different? Perhaps a bright print of van Gogh's almond branches instead of Starry Night? Maybe an old-timey depiction of your hometown? A lesser-used image from a classic movie? Your real favorite band, as opposed to the band everyone wants you to like? (Personally, I'm still looking for the perfect Stone Temple Pilots poster.) The possibilities are endless. Really. But choose wisely! Unless you're willing to splurge for new posters every year, you may have to live with them for awhile.

Personally, I had--until very recently--the following posters on my wall: the totally boss Frank Sinatra mugshot; a photo of Marilyn Monroe (if I had to guess, I'd say that about 70 percent of all females living in residence halls have at least one picture of Marilyn Monroe on the wall, and that about 30 to 40 percent  of those have that particular image); a Queen poster, the image on which came from this album; a Pudge Rodriguez poster that I refused to take down even after he left the Tigers for the Yankees (he's now playing for the Nationals); a map of Michigan; this funny poster for personal and aesthetic reasons (it hung over my bed); and the classic "Stairway to Heaven" poster, which was my very first poster in college and was faithful to me through six long years--the four and a half of college and the year and a half afterward. I retired it last month with a tear in my eye but many fond memories.

What posters did you take to college? Which would you recommend?



  1. Ok...I must ask this. HOW did you get a poster to last six years?! I could barely get one to last two, maybe three.

    During my college years I had the following: A black and white photograph of Central Park, A great Dirty Dancing photographic poster, The famous 1945 black and white sailor kissing photograph. I looked for Marilyn Monroe, but never found one I loved.

    It's my belief that everyone has at least one cliche poster in their room. But when you have four or five of the always used ones, it gets a little tiring in my opinion.


  2. Well, I was pretty careful about the way I stored the posters (in tubes), but I do have to say that they were looking pretty shabby by the time I finally took them down, especially the Zep, which was missing a corner, and my map of Michigan, which had a tear in it.

    And I have to agree with you--everyone has at least one of the common posters. But in a way, that's comforting; to me, it says that we all have something in common!