Smart Spaces: Vintage Dorm Rooms of Our Dreams

USF Marshall 1970sImage via USF Archives

We’ve seen you running to the mailbox to check for your roommate assignment and studying that course catalog in the sun, which can only mean one thing — college is just around the corner! Naturally, you’ve been editing your back-to-school wardrobe for the seasons ahead, but now’s the time to consider how you’ll deck out your dorm room. Take a tour through these quirky, classic, and cozy residence halls, then report back how you’ll decorate your space in unique retro style!

Cabinet Photos CornerImage via Kingkingphoto

Above, a personalized pad at Muskingum University combines cabinet photos with an all-too-modern collection of pillows. Now a dorm room staple, the butterfly chair looks perfectly at home in the 1950’s snapshot below.

Vassar Butterfly Chair 1950sImage via Vassar College Archives

A photo-filled space is the perfect frame for this ethereal 1915 selfie of Brown University students.

Brown_MirrorImage via Kingkongphoto

It’s all about creative curation in these images of Wellesley College, taken by Nina Leen for LIFE.

01 2Image via Life Archive

With hanging plants, a flying fishbowl, and a gerbil habitat, this 80’s room looks like the perfect spot to chill.

UW Madison 1980sImage via UW Madison Archives

We could complete our thesis on the bedspread and comfy-looking armchair in this breathtaking shot of Vassar students from the 1890s!

Vassar 1890sImage via Vassar College Archives

File under “Power Clashing!” What animal-lover wouldn’t adore this surprise-packed 70s pad?

UW Madison 1970s AnimalImage via UW Madison Archives

A draped fishing net backs this innovative gallery of photos and pennants in 1904.

Pomona College Netting 1904Image via Pomona College Archives

When sleek spaces need personality, take a clue from this clever student from the 60s and add a plant, fun pillows, and even a few fun footprints on the ceiling!

Pitzer College 1966Image via Pitzer College Archives

How will you be outfitting your space for the school year?

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  1. jackiebrags 07/31/2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Amazing. It’s funny how all the way back to the 1900’s young adults/teenagers have been plastering their walls with pictures.

  2. Cindy 07/31/2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Love this, Chris!

  3. bottledhollywood 07/31/2013 at 8:19 pm #

    I leave for school in a couple of weeks and this gave me some great inspiration!

    xoxo Gigi

  4. mary | millay vintage 08/01/2013 at 4:28 pm #

    oh man, those top two especially look so delightfully cozy — a fringe drop light and record player all in reach from the bed? yes please!

  5. Katharine Ellis Tapley 08/01/2013 at 6:29 pm #

    My mind is boggling a bit. That one from the 70’s, with the hideous shag and all the animal print stuff…do you know the college that’s from?

  6. Katharine Ellis Tapley 08/01/2013 at 6:29 pm #

    And that first one is wonderful. Vintage Caine. Yum.

  7. Jessie 08/01/2013 at 7:46 pm #

    love it, they’re all so creative! 🙂

    Jessie (

  8. whatannaloves 08/11/2013 at 6:00 am #

    Go muskies! I went to muskingum & It’s a tiny school. It’s awesome that you shared a picture from there 🙂

  9. whatannaloves 08/11/2013 at 6:01 am #

    Go muskies! I went to Muskingum, and its a tiny school. So glad you shared a photo from there!


  1. Back to School — Retro Look at the College Dorm Life ~ Krrb Blog - 10/23/2015

    […] Vassar College, 1950s. Via Modcloth […]

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