Of the many ways to cover up your ugly cinderblock dorm room walls, the poster method is probably the most popular. Every year, college students flock to allposters.com and purchase the classic oversized prints of John Belushi in Animal House and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing this (I love Holly Golightly as much as the next girl), following these clichés can make your room feel a little uninspiring. If you’re looking to add some originality to your dorm décor, here are a few less-stereotypical poster ideas.
Wrapping Paper Map
It’s rare that you see a wrapping paper pattern and think, “Wow, that would look great on my wall!” Fine paper company Cavallini & Co has created one of those exceptions with its beautiful collection of vintage style maps. Although originally intended as gift wrap, the printed map paper can be used as drawer liner, decoupage, or even wall art. Choose a poster for your dorm room from among their selection of city, country, and even entire world maps to show off your love for travel or the places you dream of visiting. Although the paper can be a bit more fragile than typical poster material, it’s inexpensive and easy to replace.
Children of the ‘90s can fondly remember the satisfying feeling of finding that elusive world-traveler Waldo in a thick crowd of deceptively similar-looking people, objects, and other red herrings. Today, as every college student’s favorite last-minute Halloween costume, the perpetually displaced title character of Where’s Waldo? maintains his iconic status on campuses across the country. In fact, you can even decorate your dorm room with poster-size versions of illustrations from the beloved childhood activity books. These colorful posters are sure to brighten up your dungeon of a dorm room and provide your visitors with entertainment and a little bit of nostalgia as they search for good old Waldo, Woof, Wenda, and Wizard Whitebeard. In short, Where’s Waldo? posters are innovative, unique, and vintage. After all, with his thick-rimmed glasses, horizontal striped shirt, and messy side-swept hair, Waldo truly was the original hipster.
Marilyn with Flower
Images of Marilyn Monroe have graced the walls of dorm rooms for decades. The poster of choice for college students typically depicts the old Hollywood icon looking glamorous in her windblown white dress or posing romantically with James Dean. Break away from these clichés with this less glitzy image of the starlet holding a pink flower. Wearing a girlish polka dot dress, Marilyn thoughtfully stares down at the flower, highlighting the natural, innocent side of the blonde bombshell.
Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog
Unless they have serious sentimental value, skip the overused posters of Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Klimt’s The Kiss. Instead, consider this 1818 masterpiece by German artist Caspar David Friedrich. It’s easy to get lost in misty depths of Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, which expresses the romantic period’s sense of self-reflection. Many critics believe that the painting is a metaphor for the unknown future. Could there be a more perfect image for the college experience?
Award-winning photographer Sally Mann attracted a lot of critical acclaim and public criticism for her series of black and white photographs of her young children. Most famous is Candy Cigarette, a portrait of her seven-year-old daughter Jessie holding candy chalk as though it were a cigarette. The hauntingly beautiful image captures a delicate balance between childhood innocence and mature intensity. Although there aren’t any official posters of the portrait for sale, you can make your own through an online retailer like Zazzle.
Once you’ve put together your collection of original posters, you have to tackle the daunting task of arranging all of the art prints and pop culture photographs on your walls and hanging them up. I recommend Command Strips, which are strongly adhesive but also easy to peel off at the end of the year.