So! You’ve got your uni place, the Londonist team got your student accommodation booked for you and you’re ready to make the move to your new home for the year. We are so excited for you!
Getting these basics sorted out is all very well, but when you get to your room it will be a blank canvas for you. It’ll be clean and tidy but, let’s face it, quite plain. We know that colour and surroundings can influence your mental wellbeing, too, so it’s worth having a think about how you’re going to make your room the cosy, homely, personalized space that you deserve, but without painting and getting into trouble. Londonist has put together 12 low-cost ideas for you to help you do just that!
- Having plants in a room is a great way to feel zen. If you’re not green fingered then we recommend succulents, they take little looking after and look funky. They also come in a range of sizes so you can have tiny ones near your windowsill or on your desk or larger one on a table. Just spray them once a week or so.
- Stuff Storage. Tidy room, tidy mind! You have a load of ‘stuff’ and will probably, like we all do, accumulate more stuff as you go through your academic year. So find some places to put it, especially those little bits and bobs.
You can buy cheap storage boxes and baskets from Ikea, wilko and even £1 shops. Or you can use shoe boxes and either leave them plain or decorate them, maybe use the free flyers you get or magazine images and get creative on a collage on your boxes, or some cheap wrapping paper or brown paper to cover them.
To keep the overall look of your room cohesive and calm, try and stick to the same colour scheme with your boxes or the decorations.
- Desk storage. You’re going to need certain things close at hand. Pens seem to go missing by themselves so grab a pen holder to keep them together on your desk. To save pennies you can use an old tin, soak the label off, take the lid right off and voila – a pen holder. Again, you can use wrapping paper or other paper to glue around it if you want it to match your fabulous storage boxes.
- Cable tidies. We have so much technology going on in our rooms it’s worth looking at how to keep those cables in order, you can buy them, or you can use hair bunchies or elastic bands to keep them from trailing everywhere.
- Mirrors. Most student accommodation rooms come with a mirror but you may want more – a small one somewhere to reflect light and for quick Instagram-ready checks by your desk.
- Lighting. Londonist loves strings of fairy lights. They’re cheap, super easy to buy and easy to drape around shelves, headboards, mirrors etc. You can also pop them into a large jar for a cool lamp. A task lamp is a good idea for your desk too. Just don’t have candles anywhere - naked flames aren’t allowed!
- Photos! We miss our loved ones when we’re away from home so having somewhere to put your pics is important. Don’t use blu-tac though, it will leave a stain! The best idea we’ve seen is a set of mini pegs along a string of fairy lights so you can clip your photos up and light them at the same time! You can also find some cheap and fantastic photo frames in charity shops for those really special ones, or for your favourite postcard or motivational quote on your desk.
- Pinboard. Soooo handy for those event tickets, flyers and photos, a pinboard is a great addition to your room. Use a command hook instead as they won’t damage the walls. We have even seen some plant pots made of cork so you can go for the double whammy and pin photos and pictures to your plant pots!
- Washi tape. If you haven’t discovered washi tape yet, then this is the time! Colourful tape in varying widths it doesn’t damage walls. Londonist has seen it used to affix posters to the walls like a frame, and it comes off well as well as adds a flash of design and colour.
- Sound. You don’t want to upset your neighbours but having music is a must. Don’t forget to bring your speaker with you and create some playlists ahead of time for chilling out, studying, chatting...
- Doorstop. Your door is usually self-closing, but it might be that sometimes you want to keep it open to welcome new friends in so invest in a cute doorstop. Check with your property manager if that’s ok!
- Soft furnishings. No student accommodation is complete without some bedding, cushions and other touches to make it all feel like yours. There’s some super cheap bedding around (again, try Ikea or Wilko) or even try a charity shop. It’s a good idea to match these with your storage and other items to tie in the colours well. A few scatter cushions are great for when you have your mates hanging out in your room too for those intense study sessions. And for your mental health, always make your bed. It’s just a case of flinging the duvet up and over the bed so it’s straight, and it makes the room look tidier instantly, and that you’re starting the day looking after your personal space.
We hope these help you make your new home feel like it’s really a part of you! And after you’ve left, if you don’t want some of the bits you’ve accumulated, we are sure the local charity shop will appreciate them if they’re in good condition so you can recycle too!