Whether you’re a fresher in a hall of residence or a returner in a shared student house, the chances are you’ve just moved into a pretty plain box of a room. Maybe it’s suffering from damp, maybe it’s 60s furniture, either way, a plain room simply will not do. Anyone who has seen my student bedrooms, both this year and last, will know that I go all out on the decorating – Rachelifying, I like to say. When you’re creating a home away from home, particularly for the first time, I think it’s really important to make your bedroom a little bit of a haven in the bustling world that is uni life. An oasis of calm, perhaps. Somewhere you feel both comfortable and comforted.
If you’re in a hall of residence, the chances are that your bedroom is the only place that you have to work, eat, relax and sleep in, so it’s in your interest to put the effort into making it somewhere pleasant. There’s nothing like coming back after a hard day (well, hour or so if you’re an arts student) of lectures and having a little time to yourself in your only private square of uni to revitalise yourself with a cup of tea and some quiet. When it comes to decorating your student room, I’m a “more is more” kinda gal, as with many aspects of my life. The chances are that most of my suggestions will appeal more to girls, but if you’re a bunting kinda guy, by all means be my guest and whack some up. Once you’ve decorated your room and created a space you really like, you’ll feel so much better. Here are my favourite ways of creating a stylish home from home – some you may have thought of before, other you may not have:
1. Fairy lights – as far as I’m concerned, no room is complete without them. They add something special and magical.
2. Bunting – I made myself some out of an old pair of floral pyjama bottoms. Sure, when you look closely they’re pretty badly done, but I saved a fair amount of money on buying some! Just cut out triangles of fabric and attach them to some string or ribbon… If you’re extra lazy you could even use a stapler instead of sewing.
3. Posters – a great way to fill wall space. I also put up pretty tea towels, as some are just too nice to dry up pans with.
4. Photos – there’s nothing quite like photos of home to make you smile. Stick them up individually, make a collage or display them in nice frames.
5. Pin boards – not only decorative but also practical for sticking up timetables and the like.
6. Magazine cut-outs – can’t afford to buy posters? Rip out adverts and fashion pages you like from magazines instead.
7. Flags – another great way to fill up blank bare walls.
8. Gel gems – I love sticking these little jelly shapes on to mirrors and my windows – they look particularly lovely on the latter when the sun shines through.
9. Pegs – you can buy cheap pretty ones or just decorate plain ones with a bit of glitter and pens. If you attach them to a piece of string they’re a great way of displaying photos/postcards/pieces of paper.
10. Whiteboard – useful for writing a to-do list or just a game of hangman. The choice is yours.
11. Display jewellery or sweets in pretty jars.
12. Pretty knick-knacks like dangly hearts and other interior bits and bobs – I have them hanging from just about everywhere possible.
13. Paper chains – easy to make from scraps of old wrapping paper and a cheap way of jazzing up a party too.
14. Flowers – whether real or fake, bought or picked, flowers are always an effective way of freshening up a room.
15. Cards – if you’ve had a birthday, don’t throw all your cards away! The chances are a lot of them are rather pretty, and it’s also nice to read back the messages at a later date.
16. Pretty stationary – pen tins, in-trays, boxes… Paperchase is your best friend.
17. Nice bedlinen – the bed in a student room can often take up most of the space, so picking your bedlinen wisely is crucial. Choose something you like (obviously), but I would recommend nothing too crazy or in-your-face – mad colours/patterns may just send your hangover over the edge.
18. Lanterns – I love paper lanterns. Whether they’re solar powered or candle-lit, I like to have mine up even when they’re not lit up.
19. Candles – not only will they leave your room smelling nice, candles will add a certain toastiness to a cold student room in the winter. Just make sure you’re allowed to have them first! And on’t burn your building down.
20. Books and folders – while they may not add much styleto your room, displaying chunky old library books will leave visitors thinking you are every inch the intellectual student, and if the books are out, you may just be prompted to actually do some of your work.