University of Reading graduate Heather remembers her first time away from home: ‘Living away from home for the first time was so exciting and I was lucky enough to be placed in a flat with great flatmates,’ she explains. ‘The eight of us decided to club together and took a trip to IKEA to buy a few bits for the communal areas in our flat – a large throw to go over the sofa, a cheap and cheerful rug for the living room floor, new colourful bowls, plates and glasses and a couple of pot plants to brighten the place up. We only spent about £10 each, but it made a huge difference to how we felt about our flat and helped it feel a lot more ‘homely’.
Making your student house a home
Here are some tips to help you make your student house feel more homely…
You’ll probably be spending at least three terms in your new place, and a fair bit of that time will be spent sleeping off big nights out or catching up on rest after burning the midnight oil to meet a deadline, so it’s worth making your bed as cosy as possible. A mattress topper, mattress protector, colourful cushions and blankets are a great way to make a cosy little nest.
- Add a splash of colour
Anything you can do to add colour to your bedroom will help to cheer the place up! This could be a couple of bright cushions, a rug, some retro-style bunting hung below some shelves or just some framed prints or photos for your desk.
- Throw some light on the subject
A decent floor lamp will provide a soft light, a mellow bedside table lamp will help you unwind and relax before you nod off, and a cool Anglepoise-style desk lamp will prove invaluable when you’re hammering out the references for that pressing essay at 3am. Having multiple light sources in your room will allow you to change the mood by for the evening or early winter mornings using them in combination.
- Cover it
Throws are a great investment for student houses/flats. Stick one over the sofa or over your bed to smarten up your room. The added bonus of a throw is that it’ll help to protect whatever it’s covering, so there’s less chance a spill from a glass of red wine will eat into your deposit!
It’s not easy deciding what to bring with you to university. Once you’ve got your clothes, laptop and all those pots and pans in the car, there’s not much room for anything else and you’ll probably end up packing and then re-packing the car to squeeze in as much as possible. But one or two personal items will help to make your new room feel familiar – this could be a few photos of your friends from home, a poster, a novelty alarm clock or even just a couple of your favourite books.
- Club together
If you get on well with your flatmates, why not see if they fancy contributing to a kitty for a few bits and pieces to brighten up the communal areas? With so many shops selling low-cost homeware such as IKEA and Aldi, buying items for your new home doesn’t have to be expensive and is a fun way for you and your mates to put your stamp on your new place and make it cool.