Elaír Ní Thuama offers some affordable tips for snazzing up your student accommodation.
Student housing, as I’m sure you know, varies wildly, but it tends to have a very… practical feel. It’s not exactly homely. That’s not a great vibe and can be especially weird for Freshers, who may be away from their real home for the first time. To combat that, here are a few ideas on how to make your accommodation feel like a term-time home rather than an expensive prison cell.
- Put photos in frames. A few cute snaps up on your noticeboard is a good look, but for a more permanent feel (to remind yourself that you live here for the college year; you can leave your stuff there if you go home for the weekend) why not choose a favourite pic (or two) to display properly? It’s a small touch, but it makes a difference.
- Buy yourself some mugs, maybe even some bowls. This probably seems like a strange thing to spend money on because your accommodation most likely came with those things, right? But think about it: in your actual home where you lived before you came to college, is every single piece of kitchenware white and industrial-looking? I’m guessing probably not. It seems like a very small thing, but I promise, drinking your coffee out of your own mug with a snazzy pattern or your initial on it or whatever – it adds a lot to your sense of actually living in a place. And this doesn’t have to be a huge financial outlay. Dunnes, as I always say, has some lovely stuff.
- Get a plant. Yes, this is a very cliché tip but you know what? It’s a solid one. Plants brighten up a space in a way that few other things can. Lidl sells cute little potted plants for a few euro. And you know what else? If watering daily sounds like work, it doesn’t even have to be real. If you don’t think you can commit to looking after a real plant on top of all the assignments and Socs and nights out, you don’t have to. Buy some fake ones. Put them on your desk. Job done.
- Miles of magnolia paint doesn’t tend to be very inspiring. I’m not saying ruin the walls with blu-tack and lose your deposit, but the sides of plastic-y wardrobes or the backs of plastic-y doors can be good places to stick things without causing any damage. So jazz things up a bit. And here’s the pro-tip: maybe go a bit artsier than your standard ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ posters. “Ah here,” you laugh, “I don’t have that kind of money at all”. Hear me out: you don’t need “that kind of money” to achieve this. Art print posters exist. Allposters.ie has a whole ‘affordable art’ section. Go mad.
- And now, the most important tip: if you want to get fairy lights or a yin-yang tapestry or anything else some killjoy has gone “pssh, Freshers” about: do it. It’s your room.