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.

Gustav Klimt Apple Tree Art Print Poster, €4.95, allposters.ie
  1. 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. 
  2. 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.

    Scandi Cereal Bowl, €4, Dunnes Stores
  3. 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.

    Diamond Trio Mint Plant Pot, €3.59, Woodie’s
  4. 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.
    Elegant Silver Photo Frame 5″x7″, €7.99, Home Store and More

    Glitter Daisy Photo Frame 4″x6″, €1.99, Home Store and More
  5. 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.


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