Now that Freshers’ week is over, the fact that you are living in a strange place on your own probably feels more real. Therefore- if you haven’t already done so- now is the perfect time to give your room or student house a little bit of TLC without having to pay the earth. So step away from John Lewis, turn towards Ikea and Asda for support, but most importantly be creative!
Avoid bear walls… In any way possible! Nothing screams hospital or prison cell like an unloved wall, so go to any lengths to avoid this. (Remember to get any permission in writing from your landlord before you make any big changes)
Paint- painting one wall as a statement is a great way to inject some fun colour into a room, but remember that dark colours are likely to make a room look smaller, so stick to warm and light colours. If you are particularly arty, instead of covering the whole wall with paint, you could use masking tape to add your own pattern. For example, you could paint on frames, and fill the inside with photos.
Notice Board/ Blu tac- again depending on your rental agreement, use blu tac or a notice board to put up photos and posters for a personal touch. Notice boards are also a great organisation tool, as you can display your timetables/ to-do lists. This website has a great choice of posters, and even gives you the option to create your own: http://www.zazzle.co.uk/cool+posters
Fabric- A burst of colourful fabric is the perfect solution for hiding a neglected wall. The more creative amongst you can also create different shapes and patterns, such as bunting. Ikea has so much choice of affordable fabrics.
Collage- this is possibly the most personal and money efficient way of decorating a wall. Use everything and anything: fashion, music, art, labels, photos… and mount them on cardboard (you can even use an old box) to display proudly on a wall/ side of wardrobe.
Lighting- the more variety of lighting the better, remember to get a lampshade for your light, it makes all the difference! Also try fairy lights and desk lights to add a bit of variety.
Cushions- It’s a good to invest in one or two statement cushions, and if you cushion lust is still unfulfilled,also buy an assortment of cheaper, plainer ones to dress your bed. It’s a good idea to experiment with different textures, and this season chunky knit cushions are going to be big
Throws- A lot of students will have bought fairly plain bedding, so throws are a great way to add a bit of excitement to your bed (or sofa), and can also help you save on heating in the winter! Again, it is good to mix and match textures- especially for the living room, but you can never beat a soft fluffy blanket for giving a homey touch to your bed! Primark has very cheap blankets, in a large choice of colours.
Mirror- Adding a mirror will magically add space and light to smaller spaces, and is also very functional too. Especially for a bedroom, you can even get away with a cheap long mirror lent against a wall- try and angle it into the room for the optimum space illusion.
Coasters and Table mats-These may sound boring, but buying cheap and colourful table mats can transform a dining table, desk, kitchen surface or coffee table- as well as protecting surfaces. This is also such a versatile option: you can put mats together to create a runner, or cover the surface completely. Dotting colourful coasters around or arranging them in a pattern can also have the same effect, and at minimum cost!
Reinvent old things- In true art attack style, instead of throwing old CDs out, why not make them into wall art or a mobile, and use old jumpers and cardigans to make cushion covers.
Rugs- A lot of student houses have hard floors- or carpets that you don’t want to be reminded of – so rugs can add a lot of new life. Ikea is definitely the place to go for cheap rugs, and again in the bedroom introducing new textures adds a lot of interest. For example, although these rugs are quite small and oddly square, you can use more than one (and even mix colours if you are brave) to cover a larger area:
Attention to Detail- The most important thing is for you to bring your own personal touch, no matter how small. It is amazing what a few small decorative items can do to a room. You can also buy them for very cheap (particularly if you avoid larger brands and stores). This year hearts are particularly big, and also homely.
And with that, I will leave you with a few final tips:
- Stick to warm and neutral tones for walls and bright vibrant colours for accessories.
- Invest in a few statement pieces to spruce up an otherwise plain room.
- Experiment with textures.
- Be creative and personal.
- Avoid looking in branded shops for decorations.
Happy House Warming!