There's a new cottage industry catered specifically to the Boeing AH-64 Apache model of helicopter parent; the kind that swoops in, as if to Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, waging total war via Etsy-esque word art, determined to make sure that if anything in this world holds their child back, it sure as hell won't be a tacky bedspread. According to the Washington Post, dorm-focused design firms and outlets like Dormify have come about because "the same baby boomers who slapped a Bob Marley poster on the dorm wall and called it a day are now willing to pay big bucks for coordinating duvets, pillows curtains, rugs and other symbols of a well-appointed dorm for their children," which often sets them back as much as $5,000. Below, the most infuriating highlights from an exploration of "easing the separation anxiety" via dorm decor.
14. American college students and their parents will spend around $48B this year on furniture, bedding, electronics, and other dorm supplies. This averages out to $916 per student.
13. Skewing that average in the direction of scarcely believable are the parents that bring in professionals: "Designers are doing individual rooms and calling us for products," says Dormify founder Karen Zuckerman. "It's becoming a really big deal."
12. The average dorm room, "even at some of the most elite colleges and universities," whose white-painted walls and fluorescent lighting were good enough for your daddy, and good enough for you, presents "a challenge for many millennials who have never shared a bedroom or bath and aren't accustomed to roommates or going without."
11. Some of these millennials might be so challenged by drab dorm rooms that they don't even know it. "I've never been contacted directly by a student," says Rachel Strisik Rosenthal, a Bethesda-based organizer whose clients pay a minimum of $675 for dorm reorganizations with some design elements. "It's usually the parent."
10. Which is a apparently a steal: "she knows a professional organizer in New York who just moved a student into a dorm room—and the planning and design fees were $5,000 alone."
9. This phenomenon seemingly breaks down by gender in a way that should elicit a few groans in an Introduction to Feminist Theory discussion section: "This is almost an entirely female phenomenon, fueled by social media and increasingly sophisticated marketing to college students. Boys don't really care what their rooms look like—they just want the TV and other electronics... Girls, on the other hand, create mood boards with pictures of their perfect space and trade ideas on Facebook and Pinterest."
8. Dormify added a guys section this year for guys with offerings such as a $40 decal that reads "DO EPIC SHIT." But even though it has so perfectly captured the taste of the young American male, according to Dormify's Karen Zuckerman, it's "really targeted towards moms."
7. Usually, it's mother-and-daughter teams that are creating their first dorm rooms together, occasionally with the help of professionals, which is a way of "easing the separation anxiety."
6. Dormify has incorporated a blog and a cadre of far-flung "style advisors" that help document adorable dorm rooms. The application, which has openings for roles including "Blogger/Journalism" and "Social Media and SEO," asks: "Do you have a great eye for style? A passion for posh? Are you charming, energetic and an overall fun-loving person?"
5. A typical purchase on Dormify is $300, "but some customers shell out as much as $2,000 to decorate the entire room. The site also has a gift registry, and more students are asking for dorm decor as birthday and graduation presents. Zuckerman says she probably spent $1,000 on Amanda's freshman dorm, but she's heard of people who have spent $4,000 to $5,000 on decor; one paid even more to install a customized closet system."
4. Parents are willing to shell out this much for dorm decor because they think of it as decorating their child's first apartment, with the expectation that many pieces, such as the polka-dotted "Fuck It, Let's Dance" print ($29.99) "can easily be transferred to a small rental."
3. Zoom Interiors, an online design firm founded by GWU graduates that met as interior design students and decided to go pro after helping their friends put together on-trend dorm rooms, recently finished rooms for a brother and a sister at Yale. He wanted more clothes storage, and she desired an "overall decor plan," for a total cost of $3,500.
2. A lonely sounding Harvard student recently paid Zoom about $3,000 to "create an elegant look" for his single dorm room. "He wants very high-end things he can move into an apartment," says Zoom co-founder Fischel Fraser. Such upscale clients "buy things they plan on keeping."
1. Naturally, colleges looking to attract parents have picked up on this trend. The next step is entire luxury dorms such as Purdue University's $52M First Street Towers, the designer of which calls it "essentially a hotel" for "helicopter parents who want to send their son or daughter to college campus but give them all the luxuries of home."
· Helicopter parents make their way into dorm rooms — at least in the decorating [Washington Post]