Styled, Staged & Sold

Bringing you the latest home design and staging trends. From REALTOR® Magazine.

Yes, You Can Even Stage a Dorm Room!

Stagers are designing in so many different ways and locations, but one particular type of job really caught my eye. I've recently toured several colleges with my high school-aged son, and the one thing I noticed in almost all of them is that the housing is...well, yucky.

Here’s what you usually see:

Plain beige couches in a dorm room

Carolyn Plummer, owner of Carolyn Plummer Designs and a certified home stager and designer in Pennsylvania, was charged with staging student housing at Penn State University. Look at what she did:

The transition for a high school kid into college can be daunting. Carolyn stages the suite to look like a home, using lots of “comfort” items, such as pillows, throw blankets, candles, and, of course, candy!

How cute are these kids enjoying their dorm room?!

I especially love how Carolyn used a calming color palette like blue and white, along with a ton of textures and textiles.

The developers of this housing unit were so impressed with the job Carolyn did that they kept the furnishings for the model unit. They’ve since rented out all of the units through the next three years—wow!

Here’s another picture showing the bedroom with before and after shots:

A bare dorm bedroom with stripped mattresses.

College recruitment is big business, and most of the time, you aren’t able to view what the housing looks like when on a college tour. If you are granted access to a room, you usually see a standard, empty one that feels cold and sterile. If more schools marketed beautifully staged rooms, along with photos of students having a good time in them, such a move could tremendously help attract more students to dorm life. It makes complete sense for colleges to start staging their dorm spaces to attract more applicants. Penn State may be way ahead of the curve in recognizing the importance of staging in residential spaces. After seeing this dramatic transformation, I suspect more universities may want to follow in Penn State’s footsteps.


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Styled, Staged & Sold, created by NAR and REALTOR® Magazine, is produced by professional home staging and style experts around the country.

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