For most students, college is the first time in their lives they are away from the ever-watchful eyes of their parents. This presents a unique opportunity to become the person they have always dreamed by choosing exactly the kind of life they hope to live.

As students, one of our many jobs is to prepare our work environments in a way that is conducive to school work, while also retaining a feeling of comfort.

This mix of responsibility and freedom with the added presence of crazy college student energy has resulted in the strange phenomenon of collegiate interior decoration that is, without a doubt, a style unique to universities everywhere.

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Think about it — where else do you see motion W flags hanging off balconies, huge cheap tapestries over beds and giant posters plastered on every wall? It’s true that college is a place full of unorthodox interior decor, but what exactly leads to this strange but universal way of life?

“I think a lot of college students have pieces of attire hanging up, and flags and things that remind them of things that they’re a part of and different groups, in a way I don’t think that a lot of adults do necessarily,” University of Wisconsin sophomore Eliza Lindley said on her understanding of why college students share such a nuanced taste in decor.

There’s no doubt that college is a place of immense pride for those who call it home. This could be part of the reason why we often feel the need to decorate in such an extravagant fashion.

For individuals who take part in student organizations or sports, one of the best ways to show our spirit is by filling every inch of blank wall space with some of our favorite memorabilia. For others who just love their school, nothing is more acceptable than a huge display of school spirit. 

In addition to the thriving school spirit, breaking societal norms presents another unique aspect of college which manifests itself in the way we decorate our rooms.

“I think it’s because college kids have a lot of excitement, they’re at an exciting time in their lives so they want to surround themselves with things they’re proud of. This is the time to take risks, try new things, express themselves and not conform to normal house decorating,” said UW sophomore Hannah Kreuser in her take on the issue.

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For a lot of students, college is the first time they move out of their childhood homes and into a place to call their own. While the comforts of home may inspire a few additions to the student living space, Kreuser puts it best when she examines the nonconformance part of building your living space.

Never tried a rainbow lightbulb in your lamp? Now’s your chance! Ever wanted to loft your bed so you can stare at a picture of Bucky Badger on the ceiling as you fall asleep? Now that you’re in college, you can because there’s no one to tell you no anymore!

Some students have even taken their design to the next level by obtaining some pieces that are on the exclusive side, to say the least.

“A lot of college houses like to decorate their walls by covering them floor to ceiling with stolen road signs, which is probably one of the most unique things I’ve seen,” Lindley said.

By taking the acronym YOLO to heart, college students everywhere have adopted the thief’s mindset and taken on the challenge of sneaking road signs into their homes to serve as the ultimate centerpiece to their collection.

While a dangerous and illegal task, nabbing a street sign can be just what a room needs to brighten the place up. Strangely enough, other traffic items such as cones, barrels and reflective bipods also make creative decorations for those who are daring enough to take them. While these activities can be fun, they can lead to fines and jail time, so we at The Badger Herald do not recommend them.

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In a brief span of four years, college students are presented with a large amount of say in how they live their lives, which has led to the puzzling and intriguing phenomenon of college room decor.

While some call it weird, we call it art and display it proudly, much to the confusion of onlookers. As long as there are blank spaces to fill, college students will always find a way to hang a cheesy poster.