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There's no place like home

Week 21

29 January 2024

If you think you’re excited about uni now, just wait until moving-in day. What better a way to start your new adventure than the blank canvas of a bedroom? Our BA (Hons) Interior Design alum, Lucy Taylor, gives us some tips.

Moving into your new student accommodation can be exciting and a bit nerve-wracking all at the same time. It can also be easy to get carried away buying new bits and pieces for your room - and now is a good time to start so you don't have to get everything in one go.

It's a good idea to bring things that remind you of home, your family, friends and memories you've made before starting uni. Pictures of your dog, that soft toy you won on one of those grabby machines at the funfair - it can all help to bring a bit of familiarity while you're getting used to being away from home.

You may want to wait and see what your room's like before buying any new stuff - there are so many ways to decorate it once you get here without having to spend tons of money! Ikea, Primark and even the pound shops have loads of essentials and funky things that don't cost the earth, so you might still have some money left over to take full advantage of freshers' fortnight!

To help you with some room décor inspiration, we asked one of our BA (Hons) Interior Design students, Lucy Taylor, for her top tips on how to make your uni room feel just like home on a student budget.

Lucy's top ten tips

1. Printed pictures

It’s alright having that album on your phone of mug shots and funny videos, but nothing beats having a printed photo to remind you of your loved ones. There’s loads of space to pin them up (my room is covered in photos) and display them, you can never have enough! There are loads of websites that you can sign up to get hundreds of prints a month for a small price, or even just pop in to town and start creating a pile now.

2. Love the layout

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with moving a bit of furniture around. Everyone will have different needs and it’s always good to be unique. It’s also a great way to make new friends – don’t be afraid ask a flat mate to help you move some bits if you need to, just remember to be careful. Nobody wants a wardrobe to the face on the first day!

3. Recycle

Reuse jars and boxes for storage. I have loads of old salsa pots and ex Gü dishes that I use to store my makeup and stationery items. On one of my first days, we went for a meal out and I was served a cocktail in a jar which now holds all my paint brushes.

4. Too many trinkets? Never!

I’m sure you’ll have some old festival wristbands and random ornaments that your great aunt picked up for you on her last holiday hidden away somewhere. Use them all. I think I have a pinecone that I must’ve had for about ten years and I literally have no idea why I even have it. But when you’re in a new environment, you can never have too much stuff. Try not to clutter your room so much that you can’t move, but there’s nothing wrong with filling up the empty space with STUFF. You can always get rid of things you no longer want later, but it’s nice to have lots of things around you to keep you company, including pillows!

5. Fairy lights are your best friend

I absolutely love fairy lights! Honestly, they make the room feel so cosy and they provide a more relaxing atmosphere that replaces the solo beam from your ceiling light. They make a great finish to a pin board, a mirror or even around a window. And boys – this applies to you too. I’ve seen loads of modern-looking and Star Wars themed lights around. I promise you, they’re worth the purchase!

6. Search for inspiration

If you’d like to create a specific type of theme, there’s nothing wrong with having a look on places such as Pinterest for ideas. It’s also nice to have a look what other people are doing with their rooms; gain some inspiration and even share your own ideas – and again, it's another great way to make friends!

7. Air freshener

As well as making your room smell nice, air fresheners are great to provide you with the smell of home, so find out which one your parents use and try to find the same one. You’ll be able to find so many in cheap stores such as Poundland and Primark, and they’re not even that expensive in the bigger supermarkets.

8. Be practical

Think seriously about what you’re going to use the most. Plug sockets? Desk space? TV? Keep these areas easily accessible and simple. If you’re naturally a messy person, that’s perfectly fine, just be careful with leaving things on the floor. There’s nothing worse than tripping over a dirty plate after a night out! You’re likely to spend a large amount of your time in your room so make sure it’s practical, but homely!

9. Keep it YOU

If your favourite colour is red, you’re into sports or you’re more of a boho chick, decorate your room accordingly. It’s likely you’ll already have things that relate to what you love the most, so that’ll help to keep it cheap. Don’t be worried about what other people think, because this is YOUR room and it’s important that it’s kitted out just how you like it.

10. Ask Santa

You’re only here for a few months before it’s time for that end of year festive period everyone loves. If you see something around that you can’t really justify buying on a student budget, ask people to get it for you for Christmas. It’s time to quit the Argos catalogue and start being practical (at least a little) with your gift lists. Your friends and family will be happy to buy you something that makes you feel more comfortable within your new adventure.

Tasks for this week

  • Go out and buy or make your first item for your new bedroom!
  • Start making a list of all the items you'll want to take from home.
  • Have a look at the useful links for more bedroom décor inspiration.