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Dorm room can be home away from home

Anybody heading off to life in a dorm room? Here are some suggestions to make an institutional setting feel less institutional. You'll need additional lamps, of course, but how about a string of novelty lights _ twinkling butterflies, or hot chili peppers, to name just two _ to add some wit to your decor? Bring a magazine rack or basket to corral recreational reading material. If the bathroom's down the hall, you may need a caddy or bucket to carry your gear back and forth. Don't forget additional storage: over-the-door hooks for hanging coats, plastic boxes you can slide under the bed, trunks that do double duty by offering a place to sit as well as a place to stow. Throw in some comfort stuff: candles, a couple of decent mugs and some picture frames and snapshots of family members and pets.

Perhaps more excitement

than a bedroom requires

The '50s are back with a vengeance. This wallpaper border is printed with black-light fluorescent ink that, when viewed through special glasses (remember those?), gives a 3-D image and the colors "appear to be on fire" (whew!). York Wallcoverings offers these in space and sport images (mountain biking, rollerblading, skating). For a retailer near you, call (800) 375-9675, or e-mail the company at adyorkwall.com.

Don't leave the market without it

The fear of running out of toilet paper is one of the greatest concerns of American families, we learn from a survey conducted for Kleenex, which makes Cottonelle toilet paper. To fend off that horrific possibility, the average family has eight rolls on reserve, and we purchase toilet paper every 30 days, or 9.8 times per year. The first commercially packaged toilet paper was introduced in America in 1857. Before that, people made do with leaves and sticks; mussel shells, in coastal areas; wool and lace, among the wealthy; and corn cobs and newspapers among colonial Americans. Commercial toilet paper didn't really take off until indoor plumbing became widespread, around the turn of the century. The survey asked which small convenience of the 20th century is most taken for granted. Toilet paper topped the list with 69 percent of the votes, followed by the zipper (42 percent), frozen foods (38 percent), hairspray (19 percent), tape (18 percent) and sticky notes (15 percent).

A rose is a rose is a stamp

What we like best about

automated home systems

Which features interest consumers most about automated home systems? The Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Association reports:

Motion-sensitive lighting 63 percent

Wireless speakers 58 percent

Remote notification of appliance left on 55 percent

Music throughout house 54 percent

Remote house monitoring by phone 53 percent

E-mail notification of events at home 36 percent

Remote monitoring via Internet 30 percent

_ Compiled by homes editor JUDY STARK

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