Dorm decorating and design companies have taken off this year
- A Deloitte survey estimated consumers will spend $ 3 billion in 2021 on dorm room furniture and supplies.
- Three companies that cater to students looking to decorate their rooms said they were full.
- Some packages cost $ 1,000 or more and offer personal installation and design services.
After more than a year of homecoming, proms and failed graduation ceremonies, parents are digging deeper into their wallets to make sure their kids are well prepared for their return to school in person . And that translates to college dorms looking like a hybrid of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” and “The Home Edit”.
Deloitte’s back-to-school 2021 survey estimated consumer spending to total $ 26.7 billion this year, a 5% increase year-over-year. Of that, $ 3 billion is for dorm furniture and supplies – and contractors are capitalizing on the moment.
Three players in the dormitory remodeling industry say business is busier than ever – here’s a look at their success.
The one stop shop for dorm decorating
In 2009, Amanda Zuckerman and her mother, Karen, went to five different stores to purchase essentials for her first year dorm.
“There was definitely some anxiety during that time,” Amanda Zuckerman told Insider. “I was the oldest in the family leaving for the first time, and I didn’t know what to expect or what to bring to college. And we couldn’t even find the XL twin bedding. required. “
Eventually the mother-daughter duo finished the job, but as they stood in the aisles of Bed Bath & Beyond, they said they realized the students really needed a one-stop-shop for decoration. stylish, fun and practical dorm room.
In 2013, the two launched the Dormify online store, which is now a multi-million dollar business with a full-time team of 25 people. Dormify offers everything a student could possibly need, from upholstered headboards with integrated charging stations to the three drawers. Wheeled carts built at the perfect height to line up with the exclusive mural print loft beds designed by high school and college students.
The company also offers free services such as virtual bed and wall viewers and in-person advice from staff their age at seasonal pop-up shops. The prices of its products range from $ 10 to $ 850.
Recently, Dormify tethered its social media wagon to college influencers like Emmy Hartman and Katie Feeney by showcasing their “dormed” rooms and allowing shoppers to purchase the same items for their own spaces. Likewise, the company has hung on to popular hashtags like #transformurdorm and #dormdecor. According to Zuckerman, revenue grew 40% year over year due to digital inspiration, online influencers, and social media-based buying decisions.
Personal installation service
Long before Dormify put universal dorm design on the map, Jackson, Mississippi interior designer Dawn Thomas was already working hard to design sophisticated dorm interiors for college women at After Five Designs.
“It all started when I designed my oldest daughter’s dormitory in 2003, and have been doing it ever since,” Thomas, who first started working with local girls but now has clients who fly her with his team all over the map, Insider says. “The biggest difference between what we do and what others do is that we don’t just design, we also install everything. “
As the hosts of
popular series “The Home Edit”, Thomas prefers to send customers to lunch during the setup process, which typically takes three hours for a team of three and is nothing compared to the DIY activities that some parents and students there. have recourse, she said.
While Thomas sells custom blackout pleated curtains, velor foot warmers and her most popular item, a $ 1,050 refrigerator, a la carte on her website, she declined to share the cost of her full packages of design and installation with Insider.
Due to COVID-19, this was the first year her team was unable to do installations, but business was still busier than ever, she said.
“It’s all word of mouth, and every season more and more girls are looking to have their dorms done,” Thomas said. “They know what they want, and together we make it happen.
“Often times I have the opportunity to work with them throughout their life cycle starting with their dorm, then their first apartment, then their marital home and finally, a baby room. long term. “
The dormitory design firm
Similar to the stories of Zuckerman and Thomas, New Jersey interior designer Jen Abrams saw her daughter Sammy become frustrated with dorm room decorating options as she prepared to leave for Indiana University in 2019 and decided to take matters into their own hands.
As the co-founder of a residential and commercial design firm, Abrams created a polished look that incorporated her daughter’s aesthetics into the design.
“When we posted the final look on social media, our phones immediately started ringing,” Abrams said. In addition to his design business, Abrams launched Resident Style, a more seasonal business offering dorm design services, in 2020. Resident Style offers options like cheetah and gator wallpaper and brightly colored neon signs. which can be personalized in a variety of fonts.
At $ 2,200 for a full package, Abrams’ custom-designed dorms this season include Big Ten and Ivy League schools, as well as small private colleges. Last year she made 15 rooms – this year she made 42.
She’s the first to admit that he’s a certain type of person who wants that kind of tailor-made service, and she’s okay with that.
“Look, this sort of thing is not for everyone, however, those who choose to go this route are never disappointed,” she said.
She starts every job with a
call to create a virtual moodboard with clients based on their personal style and interests.
Between Abrams’ design experience and her network of suppliers, she is able to offer her clients custom-designed removable wallpaper (she is known to call the engineering department of schools to find out what type of paint is used on the walls to ensure the wallpaper will adhere), a selection of over 500 exclusive artwork for the gallery walls, and even a signature scent for a dorm, similar to hotels , using diffusers.
Once everything is designed and made to order, Abrams organizes shipping to customers, along with instructions on how to set everything up, including a wallpaper kit with a precision knife.
“I’ll even be using FaceTime with them every step of the way to make sure it’s exactly what they want it to look like. I take the guesswork out of everything,” Abrams said.
She added that she was exploring the possibility of partnering with a national DIY service to provide installation services like Thomas does.
“At the end of the day, it’s not just four walls,” Abrams said. “This is your new home, and every day when you open your eyes you should be surrounded by things that represent who you are and make you feel better – and in my opinion, you can’t put a price on it – above. “