Just like the eye of Sauron, when the NY Times fixes its piercing gaze upon the Montauk hipsters and house party bartender trends of the greater NYC region, its wrath blazes like a sudden flame. And so today, the Times tackles the timely tradition of furnishing college rooms—and they discover that these days if you don't have a chandelier in your dorm room, you're a fucking loser.

But every trend piece is about the journey, not the destination—so it wouldn't be appropriate to start off such a story without first lamenting about the good old days when one had to walk 40 miles in the snow for the latest Super Nintendo game:

As for electronics, that summer my well-meaning parents went to a garage sale and were talked into buying an Apple Macintosh with a drive that accepted only large floppy disks. My suspicion that it was embarrassingly out of date, even by 1994 standards, was confirmed by my roommate’s look of disbelief when I tried to boot up.

Altogether, furnishing my dorm room cost maybe $50.

But today, kids aren't happy unless they can fit their 72-inch TVs through the door. While some might want to blame that attitude on things like Thought Catalog and Skrillex, those teens' enabling parents (as well as big box retailers) are at least partially responsible:

Norb Dunkel, associate vice president for student affairs at the University of Florida, who is busy overseeing the current crop of arrivals, has also noticed the maximalist shift. He cited the overloaded family car as a ubiquitous image during move-in week.

“When they back their vehicle up, if it goes beep-beep-beep, they’re bringing too much stuff,” Mr. Dunkel said. “And you can hear the beep-beep-beeps now.”

But all that is preamble to the bedspread-matching, nautical-effect creating dorm room wisdom buried at the end of the story. Kent Stephan, who used shells and weathered furniture to win an annual competition for the best decorated room at the University of Florida, offered his advice on breaking out of the pack: “I’ve stayed at a lot of hotels, and my inspiration came from having that chic, luxury feel,” said Stephan, who graduated last year. “I wanted to break from that dorm-room look.”

Sarah Calle, a 21-year-old junior at Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, Calif., started Dormdesign to showcase "inspiration design" for dorm rooms. And then there's Washington University's Amanda Zuckerman, the owner of the aforementioned chandelier, who started Dormify.com with her mother as a chance to sell stylish (and expensive) bedding sets, wall decals and sorority-themed items like Greek prints.

She summed up the importance of having things like chandeliers in your dorm: “If you care about what you’re wearing, you’ll care about what your room is like. It’s a form of self-expression.” Because at the end of the day, what are we if not a collection of our tasteful wall mounts, hanging spatulas, and hand-woven baskets? What wallpaper best matches your soul?