Not to brag or anything, but we knew that Texas State freshman Skylar Bantz's dorm room was going to go viral the minute we laid (heart-shaped emoji) eyes on it. Since Skylar and mom Sheila Ybarra—a professional makeup artist based in Houston—first shared the drab-to-fab dorm room transformation earlier this week on social media, photos have been shared by Teen Vogue, The Today Show, Daily Mail, Elite Daily, and others. With before and after photos as dramatic as this, it's easy to see why Skylar and roommate Adeline are now the talk of Texas State (and, um, the world) in the best possible way! Gorgeous peel-and-stick wallpaper, glam metallic accessories, monogrammed ghost chairs, marbled desk skins...this dorm room has it all.
We love dynamic momma-daughter duos around here (not to mention a good makeover), so we jumped on the first available opportunity to grab an interview with Skylar and Sheila. Read on for a behind-the-scenes look at the 10-hour installation, their creative process, favorite design resources, top tips for transforming an outdated dorm room, and more!
Sorority Packets: What inspired the look of your dorm?
Skylar Bantz: "Personally, I love the simplicity of the colors gray and white. I was originally wanting to do my entire dorm white, gray, and black with a touch of green, but after thinking it through I decided a pop of color like dusty rose would make the room more inviting and fun!"
"I got most of my inspiration from Pinterest and even YouTube. I have a YouTube channel so I would definitely look up how other girls decorated their dorms and even their bedrooms at home." (Catch even more design details via Skylar's Skylar's Dorm Room Haul video!)
"We coordinated everything over text, and after meeting up and talking about what we thought was best for the dorm we made a group chat with our mothers too!
"The desk area is definitely one of my favorite spaces in the room. I love all of the marble and decorations that make the room a little more like home."
What has the reaction to your dorm room been like on campus?
"So far people have been loving it! Our entire floor actually came to look at our room the other day and when we opened the door there were about 20 girls standing outside wanting to take pictures of it!"
"I do think that I will recycle things in my dorm considering that I have loved this color scheme for a long time and don't see that changing any time soon!"
"Try your best to find items that are cheap but work well for your dorm. You never know what can accidentally break or get ruined in a college dorm room! We shopped at IKEA for most of our things and I was actually shocked at how cheap most of the items in the store were!"
Sorority Packets: Where did you two do most of your shopping—in stores or online?
Shelia Ybarra: "Most of the shopping was done at retail stores like Bed Bath and Beyond, IKEA, and Target. However, I did have to do some shopping online, and of course I tend to go to Amazon since I have Prime and could get it fast! Whenever you're searching for dorm room items it's really important to make a plan and start shopping early. I noticed at about 30 days out until our move that a lot of items had already been picked over in the stores."
Did you ship items directly to the school, or did you ship them to your home and then transport them?
"I had items shipped directly to the house since the university would not allow you to ship prior to your move-in. I purchased clear storage tubs from IKEA that way I could see what products were in each tub when we brought them up to the dorm."
What did you do with the standard school-issued furniture?
"Texas State University gives you the option to rent bunkbeds in certain halls. We were fortunate that our daughter was in an older hall, which meant that the room was smaller and they gave the occupants the opportunity to rent university-approved bunkbeds from a vendor they approved. By renting bed lofts, we were able to put a set of dressers under there, a television, printer, coffee station, and a mini refrigerator and freezer. It was a win-win for the room since it is notorious for its small size."
What are your top tips for transforming a small, standard dorm room into a space that's liveable and luxe?
"Space is an issue, so maximize your living space. It's important that the room feels comfortable and livable. We wanted to make sure that it was functional and also had some of the luxuries of home. And another thing that was super important was good lighting. We purchased lots of extra lighting, including stringer lights and floor lamps, to update the room and make it feel as homey as possible and brighten the space."
Did any disagreements arise about the various aspects of the dorm design, or overall were you all on the same page about how to achieve the final look?
"No, I think we were all on the same page throughout the entire design process. We had a meeting with Skylar's roommate and her mother, at which time we decided the color theme and that we would all communicate via group text message and take pictures of items that we saw. Her roommate's mother was in charge of picking up the rug, bedspreads, customizing a pillow headboard, and making the sheer custom curtains as well as the sheer drapes underneath the bunk beds. She also bought the clear desk chairs with the monograms, which we love! Skylar and I were in charge of picking out all of the furniture, the wallpaper design, accent pillows, and other living items such as the refrigerator, mini-vacuum, television, and coffee machine.
Skylar accented her side of the room in silver and her roommate Addy accented her side with gold, and the primary colors they chose to use were dusty rose, white, and gray. It was a great compromise between the two roommates. Each of their sides looks a little different, and it really showcases their individual personalities! You just want to make sure you're not too matchy-matchy."
What is your best advice for other moms who are helping their daughters get set up in their new space?
"Let your daughter decide what she wants in her new home. It's so important to make it feel like it is their own space. As far as general advice, have a prior meeting with your roommate if possible. It was a great opportunity to get to know each other as well as compromise on a style for the space. Plan it out and do some research on the dorm that you're going to be living in. We got the measurements of the dorm beforehand, so we were able to pick furniture that would fit perfectly underneath the lofted bed dimensions. A lot of people do dorm room videos on YouTube now, so that way you can see exactly what the rooms are going to look like prior to arrival. Have fun shopping and creating your own personal space!"
Designing your own dorm room? Don't forget that everyone who purchases our eBook, Everything You Need to Know About Sorority Recruitment, receives an exclusive discount code from our friends at Not Just Dorms!