When Kyle Richards‘ daughter Sophia Umansky moved into her college dorm in Washington, D.C., Kyle wanted to make sure her room was flawless.
“We really wanted this room to reflect her style so that she would feel like she was bringing a little piece of home with her here,” Kyle tells PEOPLE exclusively. “It’s hard when you leave home, so we wanted her to feel comfy and just feel like it was her own personal space.”
Kyle, 49, went to HomeGoods for the bulk of Sophia’s dorm decor, and the mother-daughter duo opted for a blush and white “retro glam” style to spruce up her new digs.
“For me it was really important to create a space here and make sure everything had a place so that it could look pretty while it was organized, which is always a really big challenge in a dorm,” Kyle says. “I didn’t want it to be plastic bins just shoved under the bed. We wanted it to be pretty.”
To maximize on storage, they purchased tiered baskets where she can keep tea, mugs and magazines, and a pink storage stand that is functional but fit into Sophia’s style. The velvet seating areas in the room also do double duty, as they keep all of Sophia’s shoes.
While Sophia, 18, shares her room with a roommate, they each have their own side and collaborated before move-in to make sure the room was cohesive while still representing their respective styles. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star says when she first saw Sophia’s dorm room, it was “dark and cold.”
“I was thinking, ‘what are we ever going to do with this?'” Kyle says. “But honestly that’s what I really love. I used to love to go to the flea market and now HomeGoods has sort of replaced that because I go in there and it’s like a treasure hunt for me. For this room, that was pretty much making it brighter and lighter, which is why we wanted the blush. It’s crazy to think that this little space became what we created in here. It’s really exciting.”
Although most college freshmen share hall bathrooms in their dorm, Kyle says Sophia “got lucky” and landed a suite-style set-up, so she and her roommate are the only girls to share their bathroom. This gave them an extra room to make their own, and they began with bright rainbow bathroom towels, wall art and a colored trash can.
“We wanted the room to be blush and more on the mellow side, but you have such a tiny space in the bathroom that the towels set the tone for the whole look,” Kyle says. “It’s just such a fun space.”
Beyond the practical furnishings, like a mattress topper to make Sophia’s bed more comfy, Kyle also wanted to add fun accents. They hung string lights and gold paper fans, added colorful accent pillows on the bed, and brought in marble tables to “give the room a little more glamour.”
The reality star also wanted to make sure her daughter had a reminder of her family in her room at all times, so they added a pin board for Sophia to hang all of her pictures with loved ones.
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“Now it feels like home because she brought so many pictures with her,” Kyle says.
Although Sophia is not the first daughter Kyle has sent off to college, she admits it doesn’t ever really get any easier to see them grow up.
“Honestly people talk about the empty nest, which implies when the last child leaves, but it’s hard each time your children leave,” Kyle says. “I’m with them every day. They’re my favorite people to hang out with, so when one of them leaves, it hurts — it’s painful. Honestly this has been a bonding process doing this room together. It’s been a great distraction and just made the process a lot more fun, because if I were to just wallow in ‘oh my gosh she’s leaving me’ I would be too sad.”
However, because she goes to the East Coast a lot for work, Kyle says she plans to visit Sophia often at her new home in D.C.
“I’m grateful for FaceTime, and that she’s a plane ride away,” Kyle says. “And I’m fortunate enough that I go to New York for work a lot so I can also hop on the train and come over here too.”