Ideas

19 Retro-Inspired Collegiate Decorating Ideas That Will Put You In the School Spirit

Give it the old college try with these head-of-the-class decorating ideas.
IMAGE COURTESY OF GRADUATE HOTELS
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Even if you're not heading back to school this month, it doesn't mean you can't take some design inspiration from Graduate Hotels, a collection of hotels outfitted with vintage collegiate decor located in college towns in the U.S. From a summer camp-themed suite near the University of Wisconsin-Madison to a lobby full of charming Southern details at Ole Miss, here are 19 head-of-the-class decorating ideas to steal for your own house.


CANOE CHANDELIER

Just a few blocks away from Lake Mendota and University of Wisconsin-Madison's campus, the Graduate Madison embraces its outdoorsy location by refurbishing old canoes into rustic-chic chandeliers.


SUMMER CAMP FOREVER

The summer camp-themed suite at the Graduate Madison, inspired by Camp Wandawega just down the street, is full of amazing details, including striped Faribault Woolen Mills blankets and bedside lamps made out of vintage Thermoses.


VINTAGE DETAILS

The desk area at the Graduate Madison's Camp Wandawega-themed suite is full of vintage items—including a rotary phone and working typewriter—that look that they were pulled from the set of Moonrise Kingdom.


MIXING PATTERNS

Who knew vintage hunting-print curtains could look so good next to a plaid chair? The trick to mixing prints is to stick to a similar color palette and use bright accents sparingly.


ANIMAL ART

Keep things light-hearted by mounting some old school animal sculptures to your walls.


SMOKEY THE BEAR BATHROOM

The easiest way to make your home feel like summer camp year round is by hanging up vintage Smokey the Bear posters, like in the bathroom at Graduate Madison.


PAINT-BY-NUMBER MURAL

For some major '70s summer camp vibe turn a bedroom wall into a paint-by-number mural.

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CLASSIC TRUNKS

If you're limited on closet space, vintage-inspired trunks in fun colors like Kelly green look great and provide extra space for off-season clothes, blankets, or TV remotes.


WALL DECOR

Keep the vibe modern instead of kitschy by mixing photo prints of outdoorsy scenes with vintage art sourced from thrift stores.


DORM ROOM DECOR DONE RIGHT

If you want to pay tribute to your alma mater in a non-cheesy way, follow the Graduate Ann Arbor's lead. To pull off classy college-themed decor, anchor the room with wooden furniture and add a few subtle accents in your school colors—like the pillows and throw blanket seen here— to show off your school pride.


RULER WALL

Ruler-lined walls, like the ones behind the check-in desk at the Graduate Ann Arbor, will add a touch of geek-chic to your home.


CARD CATALOGUE PLANTER

Love the look of vintage card catalogs but don't know what you'd actually store in those tiny drawers at home? Turn the piece of furniture into an orchid planter, like this amazing piece in the lobby of the Graduate Athens.


CIRCULAR CHANDELIER

Homes with high ceilings would look amazing with a big ol' circular chandelier like this one in the lobby of the Graduate Athens.


NARROW VANITY

If you're short on space but still want a vanity, steal this idea from the Graduate Charlottesville: Install a narrow shelf directly below a mirror for a stylish but low-profile place to get ready.


GLOBE PENDANT LAMPS

Vintage globe lamps are an amazing antique find, but turning them into pendant lamps—like these ones in the lobby at the Graduate Oxford in Mississippi—is an even more genius idea.

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COOLER TABLE

There's no need to clutter your outdoor space with that cooler you've had since the '90s when you can have one built into your outdoor table instead, like this one at the rooftop bar of the Graduate Oxford.


HANGING COUCH

This comfy and cozy hanging couch in the dining room of the Graduate Oxford would also look amazing on your porch.


MATISSE-INSPIRED COUCH

If you were obsessed with the Matisse cut-outs exhibit a few years ago, the brightly-colored couch in the Graduate Tempe lobby might just be the sofa of your dreams.


PEG BOARD GALLERY WALL

Julia Child perfected the art of organizing her kitchen tools on peg board walls, but we love the idea of creating a gallery wall on top of peg boards too, like in the lobby at the Graduate Tempe.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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Lyndsey Matthews
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