Arts Muse

Make Your Halls a Home

Maisie Coldman shares her tips and tricks on how to personalise your uni room on a budget

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Image Credit: University of York/ Alex Holland

Trying to makeover your uni room can be tough work, especially when you have to adhere to restrictions on what you can and cannot do (hello no blue tac or plugin fairy lights). Although the restrictions might mean that you can’t do a complete 60-minute makeover on your new room, it doesn’t stop you from adding your flare and making your mark. If you want some tips on how to make a uni room more ‘you’ (on a budget of course) then read on.

Pictures
Pictures are a key ingredient in making a strange, uninviting room a little more familiar and welcoming. Hanging up pictures of friends, good times and pets can be accomplished without spending a lot. Utilising apps that gift you free prints each month is one way of keeping the cost down. Free Prints for example, gives you 45 free prints a month, you just have to pick up the cost for postage and packaging. If you’re after smaller prints, putting 4 images into a collage and printing it off as a single photo is a cheat way to achieve that polaroid size. You’ll need to cut them out, but the extra leg-work is made worth it as you’re saving some precious pennies. Once you have photos printed there is endless ways to display them; pegging them onto string or battery powered fairy lights, displaying them in photo frames (these can be picked up cheap as chips in the local charity shops) or simply pinning them to your notice board. If pictures of your beloved pet aren’t the vibe you want, putting up posters is another option. During the fresher’s fair there is a poster stall in James College which caters to a wide range of tastes and keeps their prices low; win-win.

Cushions and Blankets
The quickest and easiest way to inject colour and texture into your room is to cover your bed (and even your desk chair) with blankets and cushions. Adding these will undoubtedly make your room homelier. These can be picked up from an array of shops, including second hand ones, for very little cost. Depending on whether you’re maximalist or minimalist will determine how many cushions you want to pick up; no matter if it’s one or nine, they will be sure to give your uni room a lift. If after scouting the shops you still don’t find the aesthetic you’re looking for, cushions are an easy DIY and step by step guides are only a YouTube search away.

Plants
Plants bring life into your room, regardless of whether they need watering or dusting. The addition of nature and greenery into your room can be calming, allowing you to feel zen in your new space; they’re also perfect at helping to spruce up small spaces. Every so often stalls pop up around uni that sell plants; making it even easier to inject some life into your room. A word of warning: get plants that can endure long periods without water, or that don’t need watering at all (hello plastic plants) as going home for Christmas and Easter breaks may result in the odd plant death otherwise.

Jazzy storage boxes
A hack to make the most of your limited space is to efficiently organise your items using storage boxes; this way you can have the maximum shelf and desk space to fill with accessories and trinkets. That being said, storage boxes aren’t the most pleasing things on the eye and for the ones that can’t be hidden under the bed or in the wardrobe; opting for a patterned or textured box can make them less of an eyesore. Either you can become a DIY wizard and give plain ones some TLC, or you can hunt out some jazzy ones.
My biggest piece of advice is to check out the local charity shops, they always have funky and unique items that have unlimited possibilities beyond their initial purpose- so get creative. Not only is it a cheap alternative, but it also helps a worthy cause and contributes to a more sustainable way of decorating your uni room. York isn’t short of charity/vintage shops, so be sure to check them out!

And finally, a few thinking that you might need (but will probably forget) when vamping up your room: scissors, sellotape, pins and mini pegs.

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