9 Local Stores to Help you Pimp Out Your College Dorm Room or Apartment

Furnishings |

Dazzle your dormmates with a choice piece or two from Retropolitan, the Gordon Square boutique known for its eclectic collection of vintage home goods and funky fixtures. Here you'll find lots of back-to-school essentials, such as bright Brunswick bowling chairs, sleek mid-century oak desks, and compact sofas that are perfect for late night study sessions or for recovering the morning after. Prices here are mid-range, but do some digging and you may emerge with a real steal. Browse the selection in store at 6515 Detroit Ave. and online at retropolitancleveland.com.

Wall Art |

Skip the movie posters this year and spice up your drab dorm room walls with some hometown flavor, courtesy of The Foundry Woodprints. Home to hundreds of interesting designs, the folks at the Foundry specialize in printing photos and vintage images directly onto wood surfaces to create unique, hangable works that's sure to wow even the Art Major next door. We're fans of the Lorain/Carnegie bridge guardian reproduction, as well as the Foundry's inventory of retro coasters and chunky birch magnets. Peruse the entire selection online at foundrywoodprints.com or catch the crew at an upcoming Cleveland Flea.

Sharable Six Packs |

Break the ice with your new housemates over a couple of six packs from your favorite hometown brewery. Better yet, build your own sampler with varieties such as Great Lakes Brewing Company's Chillwave Double IPA, Market Garden Brewery's Pearl Street Wheat, and Thirsty Dog's Siberian Night Imperial Stout. We can attest: there's nothing quite like making buds over suds.

Gaming Consoles |

Sure, you could take your Xbox One to school this year but chances are every bro in your hall will have brought one too. Opt instead for a vintage variety — we're talking Sega and N64 here, folks — available, of course, at Coventry Village's self-described "cornucopia of delights," Big Fun. While you're at it, pick up a few of your favorite childhood games like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. We swear Beerio Kart is way more fun without all the HD frills.

Notebooks and Journals |

If you're keen on journaling or are a sophisticated note taker, consider splurging on a journal from Wright and Rede, a Cleveland based leather-smithing operation that makes unique handcrafted goods. While they may be a little pricey for the typical college kid, W&R products are made from genuine leather and look and feel as good as they smell. Besides, our college days are some of the best of our lives; why not document them in style?

The Cleveland Tee |

You can't head back to school without first stocking up on hot hometown swag from Fresh Brewed Tees, one of Cleveland's only mobile boutiques and local online stores. For $26, walk away with any one of their snazzy designs, be it Bronny Basketball, 216 pride, or God Loves Cleveland. What's more, these tees are casual enough to wear to class but fresh enough to wear on a Saturday night. See for yourself at freshbrewedtees.com.

Perfect Pillows |

Add some flair to your dorm room bedding with a pillow or two from APE MADE, a Cleveland-based print and production shop that sports an extensive collection of denim, suede, canvas, and linen pillows all pimped out with local pride. APE MADE products, created by Northeast Ohio native April Bleakney (aka APE), are all eco-friendly and many are made with natural and recycled materials, so you can feel good about what you're buying. We're particularly fond of her Downtown CLE Map design. Take a peek at her vast selection online at apemadeohio.com.

The Classics |

Even if you're not a humanities major, there are some books that every college kid should read, such as Jhumpa Lahiri's The Interpreter of Maladies, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, and Ernest Hemingway's The Sun also Rises. Pick up these and, oh, that summer reading assignment you should have started weeks ago at Loganberry Books, located at 13015 Larchmere Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. You can also visit them online at loganberrybooks.com.

Dorm Décor |

If you've got that social responsibility bone and some time for a crafty DIY project, head to Upcycle Parts Shop to deck out your dorm with sweet upcycled swag. Here you'll find a friendly, creative staff just itchin' to help you convert vintage, gently used, and surplus materials into something beautiful, practical, or just plain fun. Dig through their inventory, which sports everything from store stocking pieces to nuts, bolts, corks, PVC pipes, matting board, vinyl letters, burlap coffee sacks, and painting supplies — to name a few — all at rock bottom prices. Browse the selection at 6419 St. Clair Ave and visit upcyclepartsshop.org for additional details.