So you made it this far. The busy crowded open days, the Personal Statement, the exam period that passed by in a haze of stress, coffee and all-nighters, the holiday which you may or may not remember the events of depending on how much fun you had, and the nail biting horror of results day. The last few weeks seem to have flown by in a flurry of packing and preparation, wall to wall cardboard boxes, and before you know it, you’re stood, in a near empty, nondescript room, identical to all the others down the corridor, and you wonder at how you ever got to this stage. Now comes the tricky part. In the fog that is Freshers, you’ve got to find a way to make that room your own, somewhere you want to live. However, before you go crazy on the trip to Ikea, you need to remember that you’re now on a student budget, and the 3AM pizza won’t pay for itself. But you miss the cosy comforts of home, and you want to replicate that, on a smaller scale, on a budget. Shouldn’t be too hard right? Exactly. There are a few things you can do to create your home away from home, and they won’t cost the earth.
Firstly, a quick, easy way to personalise your room is photos. It’s the perfect way to enmesh old friends and new, whilst the familiar faces may cheer you up if you feel down. You have two giant pinboards to use to your advantage. A tip would be to use an app like Freeprints, which offers you 40 free photos a month, all you have to do is pay for postage, which is in the region of £1-£2. If you bring photos from home, you could also bring along things like concert tickets, festival wristbands or train tickets, as a reminder of old experiences. These can be arranged, with the photos, to create a sort of memory wall, that will instantly make your room feel more homely.
Secondly, one thing that exudes cosiness is fairy lights. Most home stores sell fairy lights, and many of will sell them quite cheaply. Walk into any bargain store, or any cheap high street retailer like Primark, and you will find all the lights you could possibly want. Take your pick of whatever suits you, strategically string up a few sets in places such as across the pinboard, over the shelves, or draped over the headboard of the bed, switch off the main light, and the warm glow should make the room feel instantly cosier.
A further suggestion would be to buy some small pot plants. The idea may fill you with dread, because heaven knows we’ve probably all killed a few, but if you pick carefully enough, you can choose ones that don’t require too much maintenance but that still brighten up your room. In a period where nights are spent in concrete clubs and bars, and days in clinically lit lecture halls, it can be quite nice to introduce a more natural influence into your space. The presence of certain plants in the room can increase happiness, and some are said to give out positive energy (if you believe in things like vibes). That aside, a plant on a shelf, or a few plants arranged together on a windowsill, can provide a minimalist decorative feel, whilst still brightening up the room. You can usually find plants quite cheaply, often garden centres will do things like plant sales, and if all else fails you could always get a plastic plant, zero effort, but produces a similar effect.
A final tip would be to buy some room decoration. Once again, high street retailers like Primark or Next usually have quite cheap home-ware sections, or quite often charity/vintage shops have more unique pieces, if you are looking for something a little more off the beaten track. A few suggestions would be to buy some decoration for your shelves, perhaps a light-board, or wooden letter blocks. You could buy a brightly coloured blanket to add brightness to your room, or a fluffy rug on the floor for the cosiness factor.
Armed with the information above, you should now be able to decorate your student room on a student budget, creating your own space where you can feel comfortable, a space that even when it gets littered with pasta pots and notes over the coming weeks, you still appreciate and recognise as uniquely your own.