8 Ways to Make Your Dorm Room Feel Like Home

Going off to college or university can be an exciting transition, especially if you’re planning to live on-campus in a dorm room! Being away from home and moving into a tiny dorm space can be a bit of adjustment, though. It’s easy to feel homesick in a new place without your friends and family. That’s why our Photo Experts have put together 8 décor ideas that will make your dorm room feel more like home.

1. Make a Collage Print of Friendly Faces

Seeing the smiling faces of your family and high school friends can help you feel more at home – and our collage posters can showcase all of them in one giant print you can hang on your wall! Just drag and drop your photos into the poster templates (your choice of colour) for an easy piece of wall art to brighten up your dorm.

2. Add Depth With Reflective Surfaces

If the small size of your dorm room has you feeling a little claustrophobic, there are a couple of tricks to help make your space seem larger. Mirrors are a classic way to help make a room appear more open and bigger. Another way to create the same kind of effect is with our Photolab’s aluminum metal panels! These have a high-gloss finish that will catch and reflect light, helping to make your small space feel bigger. As an added bonus, our aluminum panels come ready-to-hang, making them a quick and easy way to decorate the walls of your dorm. You can have them printed with any choice of photo, or order an aluminum panel montage wall or aluminum panel collage if you want to showcase a selection of multiple images.

3. Use Easily-Removable Wall Clings

Just because your dorm room is only a temporary home for the semester doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own! Our removable wall clings make it easy to decorate your walls without having to use any nails or screws…and they peel off easily without leaving a residue. They’re made of a water resistant 100% polyester fabric with a repositionable self-adhesive backing, making it easy to apply them to a wide variety of surfaces.

4. Give Your Mousepad Some Personality

You’re at college to study, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with your study space! Add some personality to your desk with a mousepad customized with a fun photo of your choice.

5. Make Something You Can Hug & Squeeze

Have a photo of your family, friends or pet printed on a pillowcase, so you can give them a hug anytime you miss them! They also make a nice accent piece for your bed – you can customize a pillowcase with a scenic photo that works with the colour scheme of your dorm room to really pull the space together.

6. Customize Your Calendar

A new school schedule and new routine would benefit from a bit of organization to ensure you’re staying on top of class times, assignment deadlines, exams, and study breaks with friends. Instead of hanging a generic calendar, why not personalize your own magnetic memo board or calendar with some of your favourite photos? That way, it can double as a piece of décor in your space!

7. Personalize Your Smartphone

A smartphone is a must-have for keeping in touch with family and friends while at school – whether it’s video-chatting, texting or calling. It will hopefully help you from feeling too homesick. And adding little reminders of home, like a photo of your closest friends, to a smartphone pop-up grip is also a fun way to keep them close (because, let’s be honest, your smartphone never leaves your side)!

8. String a Photo Garland

A non-permanent way to add some life to your dorm walls is with a photo garland. Just use some colourful Washi tape, Command Small Spring Clips and some twine/string to hang your photos from. With vintage-looking prints trending right now, we suggest printing your pictures in one of our 7 vintage print styles: classic old tape, classic scalloped edge, classic colourful stack, classic showcase, classic four square, classic white and classic retro (the last 3 would be similar to the nostalgic Polaroid!). They can be printed as glossy, pearl or on one of our specialty papers, including bamboo, metallic, Kauai and Baryta. Square prints are also a great option, perfect for your showcasing your Instagram snapshots. You might also find our NEW half sized prints to be a perfect fit too.

Capturing College Memories

College and university are not only a place to learn, but a place to make new friends and new memories. And a great way to preserve and display those new memories is, of course, with photos. Single-use film cameras and instant cameras have become incredibly popular right now, and these also result in fun physical photos you can use to decorate your space!

In addition to being able to print all your digital photos (order via our London Drugs Photolab App on Google Play or the App Store!), our Photolab also still offers film processing, so you can always bring in those single-use film cameras to us to be developed. Or if you want truly instant prints, then pick yourself up a Fujifilm Instax or Polaroid Originals and some instant camera film so you can snap and add to your photo garland in seconds. We also have a selection of pocket-sized photo printers so you can print out your favourite memories from your smartphone in an instant. Print a copy for yourself and a few for your new college buddies!

Updating Your Space for Fall with Photos

The days are growing shorter, the air is becoming crisper, and that can only mean one thing: fall is upon us! As we begin to transition to boots and cozy sweaters, it’s also an excellent time to look at updating our space for the fall season too. Especially with the number of Zoom calls and meetings happening from our homes these days, many of us have become acutely aware of how bare our walls are (or how much they could use an update!).

A quick and easy way to breathe new life into your space while also adding some seasonal flair is with some of your own fall photos. Our Photolab has all kinds of options to help you decorate, from beautiful glossy and pearl enlargements to fine art prints like canvas, metallic paper, Kauai and Baryta, which will give your walls an impressive gallery-quality look. Keep reading below to see how some local photographers are updating their space for fall, and find out how you can enter for a chance to win a stunning print from photographer Sonika Arora!

Ashlyn George’s fall photos were taken on a Sony A7III and DJI Mavic 2 and printed on pearl photo paper.

Saskatoon-based adventurer/photographer Ashlyn George of The Lost Girl’s Guide updated her office space for fall with some beautiful landscape images she’s taken. If you’re spending more time in your home office this fall, framing some photos is an easy way to make your space feel cozier and welcoming (so you won’t mind spending more time there!).

“It was perfect timing with the change of season to update the photos in my home office. When not outside adventuring, I like to surround myself with as many reminders of the outdoors as possible. Each image I chose to print from London Drugs Photolab is very personal. I photographed one of my family’s wheat fields during harvest and paired it with a series of photos from an autumn road trip I took to Alaska a few years ago. Images were shot on with my Sony A7II and DJI Mavic 2 and printed with a matte Pearl finish.” – Ashlyn George, The Lost Girl’s Guide

If you’re planning to display your fall photos in a frame, then our pearl prints are a great choice (you’ll want to avoid overly glossy print surfaces when framing). They have a slight satin feel and will give your images a smooth, professional look. Order pearl prints of your own fall photos here.

Lisa Bourgeault’s fall photo was taken on a Canon EOS 6D Mark II camera with a 24-105mm lens and printed on fine art canvas.

Calgary-based photographer Lisa Bourgeault is giving her walls a seasonal touch with a vibrant photo of the changing leaves with the city of Calgary as her backdrop. Her photo was printed on our fine art canvas, and like all of our prints, our Photolab Technicians hand-inspected the image after printing on our state-of-the-art Epson 9000 large format printer.

“This is one of my favourite fall pictures. It was taken early September in Calgary, just at the beginning of fall, but the fall colours had already started to appear and having taken it at sunrise, it just feels magical with all the vibrant colours. I chose to print this picture on canvas because I like the look and feel of it, and I just like the way it looks while hanging up on my wall. It’s really nice to have my picture printed and hung up and being able to see it every day.” – Lisa Bourgeault

If you want to give your wall décor a truly fine art look, we highly recommend trying our canvas prints. Matte canvas prints are water-resistant and composed of 35% cotton with a 65% polyester blend, giving them a uniform finish. They’re professional grade canvas for any giclee print that needs the very best substrate. We print your image on the canvas using a special pigment, right to the edges, so you can frame it flat or stretch it yourself. Order a canvas print of one of your own fall photos here.

Sonika Aroras fall photo was taken on a Nikon D800 camera with a 24-70mm 2.8 lens and printed as a glossy enlargement.

Vancouver-based photographer Sonika Arora has a brand new print to give her space a refresh! Her image of the fall leaves in Stanley Park was printed by our Photolab as a glossy enlargement.

“This photograph was captured in Stanley Park on an early fall morning at sunrise. What drew me to composing this particular frame was how the seawall was blanketed in beautiful fall foliage. I wanted to capture both the leaves and the iconic city view, so I decided to frame the shot from a low perspective. I feel this composition not only showcases the leaves, but it simultaneously draws the viewer’s eyes in towards the city skyline further creating a great balance for a classic fall scene in Vancity.” – Sonika Arora

Glossy prints tend to enhance the contrast in images, making the colours in your photos even more vibrant: perfect for your most colourful fall images! Order a glossy enlargement of one of your own fall photos here. Our HD Pro Glossy prints are also an excellent option – learn more about what sets them apart here.

Start updating your space with photos

Feeling inspired and ready to add some fall festiveness to your bare walls? To get started, upload your fall photos to our Photolab website, or download our London Drugs Photolab App (available for iOS and Android) on your tablet or smartphone to quickly and easily order prints for your space. Need some help with your order? Our LDExperts are always ready to help in-store in the Photolab.

If you’re looking to capture some new fall photos this season, make sure you check out our blog post here with photography tips to help you capture the beauty of fall.

Enter for a chance to win a special fall print

Photographer Sonika Arora will be giving away a print of one of her beautiful fall photos, printed by our Photolab, to one lucky follower on Instagram! The winner will be able to choose either a glossy or pearl enlargement greater than 12×18 in size, up to a value of $99. The print will feature Sonika’s image of fall foliage in Stanley Park that you see above – what a great way to freshen up your space for the fall season!

The giveaway will kick off on the first day of fall, September 22. Make sure you’re following @LDPhotolab and @SonikaArora604 on Instagram, so you’ll know as soon as the giveaway goes live!

Refresh Your Décor with Fresh Fine Art Prints

Is your home in need of a little refresh this year? One of the easiest ways to breathe new life into your space is with some fresh wall décor. Even better, why not use your own photos to spruce up your walls? Fine art prints can be used to fill otherwise bare walls, and their gallery-quality will truly elevate the look of your space. It’s a great way to put some of your favourite images on display, plus you’ll have a more personal connection to the fine art on your walls.

Thanks to innovations in photography and printing technology, the ability to turn your own photos into fine art is now right at your fingertips. The resolution of cameras has advanced greatly, high quality printers like our Photolab’s Epson P9000 use inks with archival stability of 200 years, and the range of fine art papers available to choose from continues to grow.

What Fine Art Paper to Choose

Photo printed on the London Drugs Photolab’s Baryta fine art paper

One of the newest fine art papers now available in our Photolab is Baryta. This bright white cotton paper is ideally suited for photographic images, and is designed for long life – making it an excellent choice for your wall décor. This paper gets its name from the special coating of barium sulphate that is applied to the cotton photo paper before it is coated with emulsion. The baryta layer brightens the image, while also preventing other chemicals from penetrating other layers of the paper.

This print surface is popular amongst photographers, for its rich blacks, wide colour gamut, and excellent contrast and sharpness. The rich blacks and bright whites make it ideal for black and white photos, while the bright white paper also makes colourful images pop.

You’ll also notice the tactile nature of Baryta, which is what really gives it that ‘fine art’ feel. The paper has a weight and thickness to it that you may not get in other papers – even fine art papers.

What Size Print to Order

With the help of our Photolab’s large format printers, we’re able to do Baryta prints from 4”x6” all the way up to 40”x60”. If you need it even bigger, our standard print enlargements go as large as 44”x96”. So no matter what size your space is, you can likely find a print size to fit it. The choice is yours – either pick one image to be the focal point and order a large-scale print, or you could opt to print a selection of smaller images, and frame them as a gallery wall display. Either way, you’ll be elevating the look of your home with exhibition-quality prints.

What Camera & Lens to Use

The basic rule of thumb, if you’re planning to print large photos, is to ensure you’re shooting at high resolution. Check your camera’s settings to see that you have selected the highest quality setting under ‘Image Size’.

To really take your wall photos to the next level, it’s worth considering an upgrade if you don’t already own an interchangeable lens system. This will help you to achieve the best results possible for your images with even more control.

If size isn’t a concern, we have lots of great DSLRs to choose from, which pair with a wide variety of new interchangeable lenses. Most manufacturers’ lens mounts are also compatible with older lenses, so if you’re looking for a more affordable way to upgrade to a DSLR, check out our used section in-store or talk to an LDExpert about what system would be best for your needs.

If you want something that’s compact and not too bulky, a mirrorless camera like the Nikon Z6 II is a great option. This pairs great with the Sigma Contemporary 30mm f/1.4 DC DN lens – a compact lens that offers outstanding image quality. The large-diameter lens with f/1.4 brightness makes a shallow depth of field possible, for a stunning bokeh effect.

And when the next season arrives, simply switch out your images for new ones, and your space will have a fresh new look and feel instantly! Ordering is quick and easy – just visit our Photolab online, or download our London Drugs Photolab App (available for iOS and Android) to order on-the-go. If you’d like to order the next time your in our store, simply visit us in the Photolab to use our in-store kiosks.

Save Your Photos Day: Tips for Safeguarding Your Most Precious Memories

Historic family photos are often relegated in shoeboxes to the attic or basement. Others are proudly showcased in frames hung on the wall, or in photo albums. Whether they’re hidden away or displayed in the home, the reality is that print photographs are susceptible to degradation. National Save Your Photos Day is September 26th, and it’s the perfect opportunity to stop and think about what you can do to protect your precious photo memories.

Environmental factors such as light, heat and humidity can cause photos to fade – especially those taken between 1936 and 1990, due to the methods of film processing used at the time. The other threat to your photos is a disaster such as a fire or flood. Generations worth memories can be destroyed in just moments. Without duplicates or digital backups, those memories will be irreplaceable.

For peace of mind, and to ensure your photos survive the test of time, our LD Experts recommend saving your photos using these helpful steps:

  1. Scan your photos and documents

The first step in preserving and protecting your photos is to digitize them. You can either use an at-home scanner to digitize them yourself one-by-one, or our Photolab can help. Use our Photo Scanning Box service to have mass quantities of your photos digitized all at once. Just pick up a box from our Photolab, take it home and fill it with 800 photos and even old documents like birth certificates, and bring it back to any London Drugs Photolab location. The service is pre-paid for when the box is dropped off: $179.99 per box, which is approximately 22 cents per photo or document. Once our LD Experts are done scanning your photos at high resolution, you can pick up your hard copies as well the USB flash drive with all your digitized photos on it.

  1. Back up your digital photos

With your print photographs now digitized, the next step is to save those digital photos on to your computer as well as an external hard drive or USB flash drive. That way, if your computer crashes for any reason, or a flood destroys it, you’ll still have another digital copy that’s safe and sound. Ideally, store your digital photos on multiple external hard drives. Or consider uploading them to an online drive such as iCloud or Google Drive.

  1. Separate your hard drives

Even if you shoot digital and already keep your photos on a hard drive, our LD Experts recommend backing up your digital files on an extra hard drive and keeping it in a separate location. This will help to avoid losing your digital photos in a fire, flood or other disaster. Consider keeping one in the house and one at a family member’s home.

Once your photos are safe and digitized, the possibilities are endless! Make print copies using a photo printer at home, or easily order prints and enlargements through our Photolab. You can send them to family and friends so they can enjoy those cherished photos too. If you order from our Photolab, you can even have those prints sent directly to their home anywhere in Canada, or to their nearest London Drugs Photolab for pick-up. You can also get creative with all the different ways you can share your images: photo books, calendars, or wall décor just to name a few. Bring new life to old photographs that had previously remained unseen. After all, photo memories are meant to be shared.

To get started, visit the London Drugs Photolab online or in store.