First, we want to start by saying a huge “congratulations!” for securing your place at university, or for returning for another year. There were 2.86 million students (about the population of Birmingham) at UK higher education institutions in 2021/22. You must be buzzing to be joining them.
That being said, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed, too. Whether you’re in your first year or third year, there’s still the matter of new people, new city, new responsibilities and commitments… new bedroom!
Don’t underestimate the importance of personalising your university accommodation bedroom. Not only can it improve your productivity and focus, but it can also give you a sense of home, a feeling that’s unrivalled when you’re studying in a new city away from friends and family.
Regardless of whether you’re looking for student flats in Leeds or uni accommodation in Newcastle, we’ve got some expert tips to help you give your bedroom the ultimate makeover – on a budget! (Save those pennies for the Students’ Union).
Planning and research
Yes, sorry, we know you’ll be doing plenty of planning and research for your degree, but this is also a necessary step for your bedroom transformation.
Before you go rogue in various home and DIY stores, first ensure you’ve got a good idea of the style you want. What kind of vibes are you going for? Rustic, contemporary, traditional, and cottage? These are all potential bedroom styles worth exploring.
Find inspiration from your favourite social media sites (top tip: #uniroominspo has millions of views on TikTok) and create a mood board for cohesive ideas.
Once you have an idea of what look you want to achieve, you can begin creating shopping strategies to find the necessary materials, tools, and furniture.
Don’t sleep on charity shops and online marketplaces! We’re on a budget, remember. And make sure you seek all the best deals and discounts if you do have to shop in a home store. For example, Argos have a fantastic, cost-effective ‘University Essentials 2023’ range.
Personalised wall art
Create positive energy by introducing personalised décor into your space. Many university accommodation bedrooms are designed to be neutral (read: bland) so this is your opportunity to make it truly yours.
Start by putting up some customised wall art and posters. Maybe you have a particular film or music artist that resonates with you, or perhaps you just love dogs! Whatever your interests, get them up on the wall in a pretty print.
PAUSE FOR A SECOND! You must be really careful with this part. Leaving permanent marks on your wall can get you in trouble with your landlord or your halls of residence. Trust us, we’ve been there. Stay far away from nails and instead stick to (pardon the pun) decorative tape or Command Strips.
The use of plants in your uni room will bring a wealth of benefits. Not only do they look good, but they also produce extra oxygen, help reduce stress, and can even increase your productivity. It’s not a want, but a need.
It’s likely you won’t have oodles of space in your bedroom, so start by adding one or two plants at first. Unless the jungle vibe is your thing. It’s also important to remember that plants are living creatures and therefore will need looking after.
If you know you’re going to be out living your best life most of the time, look for low-maintenance plants, like the Zamioculcas Zamiifolia or Rubber Plant. That way, you’ll get all the (stylistic and health) benefits of having decorative plants, without having to worry too much about killing them. Nice one!
Explore your options in cost-effective stores like IKEA and Homebase. Even better if you can rescue a plant from the ‘clearance’ section.
Not only is good lighting paramount for good productivity, but again, we’re also looking at another budget-friendly design opportunity here.
If space isn’t on your side, it’s best to avoid a floor lamp and look for an aesthetic desk lamp instead. Go back to the mood board you made earlier and find one that complements the rest of your décor. Flower, wood, vintage, novelty…who knew there were so many styles?
Don’t stop there, either. Hang some fairy lights from your ceiling or drape them on your walls (remembering not to damage them!) to create the ultimate cosy haven. This room is your home away from home, after all.
Amazon and B&M should be your go-to spots for inexpensive lighting. Buy a quirky Industrial Smokey Ball lamp for just £18!
POV: You only have one room that’s yours and yours only, and yet you didn’t have to sacrifice any of your belongings. Why? Because you were smart enough to invest in some good storage solutions.
Make full use of any shelves and cupboard space that you’ve been given and get creative with how you store things. Cupboard organisers are a great way to guarantee you maximise all available space – and they’re good for keeping all your belongings organised, too. Duh.
Overdoor organisers are also a fantastic way to create new storage areas from thin air. Utilise this otherwise dead space by storing shoes, toiletries, stationery, and more. Plus, you can buy one of these genius inventions for as little as £11.
This could perhaps be the most important part of your room décor. Make your room feel like home by showcasing sentimental items that are unique to you and your life.
According to NUS, 50-70 per cent of UK students feel homesick in the first few weeks at university. While the symptoms quickly fade for many (thank goodness), it’s still a lovely touch to have things on display that remind you of home.
Have framed pictures of family and friends dotted around the room and have memorabilia on view. You could also use a corkboard to create a memory wall filled with photos, concert tickets, and notes. This will be a great source of comfort on days where you might feel particularly wistful.
It’s not just ‘a room’
Your university bedroom is so much more than just ‘a room’. It might only be a temporary space, but there are still so many reasons why you should spend a little time and money in creating a bedroom oasis that truly speaks to you.
To help you succeed in your studies, you need a space that soothes, motivates, and encourages you. And you don’t have to sacrifice too much of your student loan to get it. Good luck!