Miesha Dans, 17, in her Hofstra University dorm room in...

Miesha Dans, 17, in her Hofstra University dorm room in August 2011. Credit: Handout

Most freshmen would consider themselves far from experts when it comes to shopping for college.

Frantic, yelling moms running around Target with full shopping carts don't always help, either.

Long Islanders Miesha Dans and Lucy Nieves got lucky this summer as they prepared to start their first year at Hofstra University; they were chosen to work with interior designers to decorate their single rooms in the Colonial Square residential complex for a segment on NBC's "Today Show".

Dans, 17, an undecided science major from Merrick, worked with Elaine Griffin, a designer and Better Homes & Gardens contributing editor. Nieves, 18, from Westbury, was paired with Miami designer, TV personality and makeover specialist Jeff Wade. Both had a budget of $300.

"Ikea was great because you could get nice pieces, like a bookshelf, at not super expensive prices," Dans said.

Here are some of the most helpful tips she learned and stores she visited on Long Island.

Top tips:

1. Storage is the most important thing, and they can be found anywhere. I got my under-bed storage at Lowes for a cheaper price than most stores.
2. Don't only shop in the college aisles. I got my under bed storage at Lowes, and I got a pencil cup in the bath department. 
3. Every room needs a pop of a citrus color ( yellow, orange, lime, etc.) to draw your eye in.

"No. 3 is my favorite tip and can be used in any room, not just a college dorm," Dans said.

Favorite stores:
1. Lowes
2. Ikea
3. Target