Natalie Held did quite a bit of research before she and her roommate picked their dorm at Boston University. They wanted the best double on campus.
“We went through all of the possible dorms at BU that were doubles,” said Held, a junior who is majoring in political science and journalism and minoring in women’s studies. “We knew we wanted to stay on East Campus, and Myles Standish Hall was our top choice, so we went through the floor plan of the building, looking at blueprints for the room itself.”
They did an analysis of the building to determine the best floor and the best location in the hall to ensure they would get the biggest room.
The duo got their top choice: a suite with two double rooms (they also have two other roommates who share another room) overlooking Beacon Street.
And after all of that, Held is now the most recent winner of Boston.com’s Dorm Contest and a $1,000 gift card.
She didn’t win by leaving her room the way she found it — white walls and all. Her interior design process, she said, began shortly after they got the news about their room.
“I started to map it out with a blueprint to see where I could put certain things,” Held said, noting that she got her roommate’s green stamp of approval.
Her previous dorms on campus have been similarly decorated with some differences, which she describes in a recent blog post.
Held didn’t like how the furniture that came in her room was arranged, so she moved things around a lot. “We ended up making it so the middle of room is clear,” she said.
“I center my room around certain key elements,” she said. “The last couple of years my key elements were my moon mirror, my polaroid wall, and my light box. I knew this year I was going to have more wall space, so I wanted to add to it. I got fun hanging shelves and a few more succulents.”
As you may notice from the posts, Held’s favorite color is pink — but that wasn’t always the case.
“I was a ballerina when I was younger, and I hated [the color],” she said. “When I quit, I embraced it again.”
But her room is more than just her favorite color; it also represents her values.
“In general, I see my room as a necessary accessory to myself,” she said. “It reflects my personal style — I have my feminist pillow, sorority letters, and polaroids of adventures.” She also mentioned her felt board, which has the words, “Blessed Be the Brains,” which is the name of her own personal business, described as a political and feminist podcast series turned online shop. The proceeds go to organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood.
But what’s her favorite piece in the room?
“My Starburst lamp,” she said, referencing her glass lamp filled with the pink candies. “I love it so much.” She even took a photo of it and tagged Starburst in it, and they loved it so much they sent her a box filled with pounds of Starbursts.
“It’s really about how you perceive the space,” she said. “I have made my room more of a personal sanctuary. It’s a place for me to unwind and de-stress.”
Held also did her extensive decorating on a budget — a mix of reusing old decor that she has been collecting throughout her life and new things she bought at stores like Urban Outfitters, Target, HomeGoods, and Five Below.
She said when her friends walk in they always ask, “Did you spend thousands of dollars?”
Her response: “Are you joking?” She said the most expensive thing she has displayed are the fake vines, which were $14 from Urban Outfitters.
For people who wish they could have a room like hers, her advice is, “I would make a list of all the things you enjoy or are passionate about and figure out how you can make your space reflective of you — and definitely budget.”
Decorating for Held is not a temporary endeavor.
“[My room is] never going to be complete,” she said. “I always will be evolving how I am feeling and how I change myself. It’s just like my wardrobe; it changes as I do.”
Subscribe to the Globe’s free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes.