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Cool Room Contest judges explain how to effectively decorate


Despite having a small work space, freshman Brooklynn Weisenbach makes the most of it and decorates with photos and Christmas lights. "I only study in my dorm," Weisenbach said. "It's easy for me to differentiate schoolwork and relaxing time even when working in my room." Ty Vinson

How do you design the coolest room? How do you set your room apart from the rest? Some judges from the Cool Room Contest think they may have the answer. 

Residential Programs and Services judges entrants in their contest to find the most creatively decorated room. 

A cool room must be original and show residents' personalities, Ryan Clark, an interior designer for RPS, said. Clark is one of three judges for the room contest.

“To me, the rooms I love seeing in the Cool Room Contest are ones where you can really see the student’s personality and feel like you can get a sense of who they are and what they’re interested in just by looking at their space,” Clark said.

Many students decorate using posters. The most popular poster at the TIS bookstore depicts all the pubs in Bloomington, manager Rhonda Crouse said. 

But having a room that looks like everyone else's won't win the contest, Marie Shakespeare, a judge for the room contest, said. She is the design director for Shakespeare Lighting Design, a company that creates lighting projects including the Eskenazi Art Museum light totem on campus. 

Shakespeare said that a cool room has a design theme, a creative use of color and is original. Some department store pieces can become too congested with the same patterns, and copying something from Pinterest isn't very creative, Shakespeare said.

“Everything matchy-matchy from the décor department of a recognizable store – not so creative," Shakespeare said in an email. "Use your imagination. The room should be functional, fun and say something about you."

Last year's winner, sophomore finance and accounting major Garrett Dederichs, also said having an original room is key. He added that it is important to have cool light sources and cover the more unsavory parts of a dorm.

Clark also said that a room can be made instantly cooler with creative uses of light, different textures and some plants.

“There is no sure formula to make a cool room," Dederichs said in an email. "Everyone has a different vision of what a perfect room is to them.” 

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