As I'm moving into my university flat on Saturday I decided it's probably about time I uploaded my tips for decorating a university bedroom. I've always thought it's very important to have your own personal space, particularly when living far away from home and so believe that making your room your own is essential. So here it is..
Make sure you have your own bedding, that'll make you feel cosy and safe. I have the classic ikea rose, but just pick what makes you happy. Obviously I also have my patchwork quilt, which I toiled over for weeks and weeks, and I love! If you want to take it even further you can bring or buy a matress topper. One of my friends has a mattress topper, and a massive fluffy duvet and pillow, we call it cloud bed and it's the envy of everyone who's ever sat on it. I would also recommend bringing lots of cushions, they personalise your room and are ideal for making everyone comfy if you all settle down to watch a movie in one room.
Use any posters that you love as well as maps and photo posters, which can be made quite cheaply on any photo printing website. I have a couple of movie posters, maps, piste maps, my own drawings as well as a calendar which helps me to keep my life organised.
Most likely, if you're in halls you will be provided with at least one pinboard, so go wild and fill it with whatever makes you happy, old memories, new friends etc. Pinboards are also quick and easy to make using fabric, ribbon and pins, you can find excellent directions here. You could also apply this same technique to your ready made pin board in halls.
Make a washing line
If you're not allowed to use blue tac or Sellotape on your walls, and aren't rebellious enough to disobey this order, a great way to display your posters, photos and anything else you may want is on a washing line. I like the idea of using regular string and plain wooden pegs, this may also work out to be the cheapest, but you can get creative, introducing ribbons, pins, broaches - anything you fancy that will make you feel happy and comfortable in your new room. Bring photos from home of friends and family and add to your line as you gain more special photos, postcards and fliers.
More often than not the flooring in a university bedroom will be less than desirable, particularly if you're in halls. A quick, easy solution to this problem is sticking a rug down, even if it doesn't cover the whole floor it will draw attention away from whatever nasty carpet has been previous bestowed upon you. Urban Outfitters do some pretty cheap little ones starting from £12, but if you have a bigger budget they have a full range, many of which are really lovely.
If I could I would have full trees growing in my bedroom, or a wall like this which is in the Anthropologie shop on Regents St. London. However I don't quite have the means, so I'll settle for pot plants. In general they aren't very hard to look after, just give them a water now and again. I have a little Jade Plant which is growing fast. If you're even more green fingered you could even gave a go with a bonsai. We're even thinking that we might give herb growing a go this year.
Of course everyone seems to be obsessed by fairy lights, and why not they are lovely, so go for it. I would also say that it is very important to have a bright desk light, it makes work so much easier and you're more likely to stay awake!
I have lots of wall hangings that my grandparents brought back from India, from the time they lived there. These are a fantastic way to cover up boring walls. My brother used these and saris bought cheaply off Ebay to drape from his ceiling and down his walls to give an oriental feel.
Make sure you have some kind of linen basket or bag so that you don't leave your dirty washing on the floor all the time. I use my old gym bag from primary school, I can hang it up and fit lots in it and it looks really pretty which is a bonus.
Scour the Charity shops for finds
You can find all kinds of things in charity shops, they're cheap, eco friendly and the money goes to a good cause. I recommend buying crockery, knives and forks, little pots and trinkets to store jewellery and even blankets and cushions. It's all about luck which is what makes charity shopping all the more exciting. If you're a fresher it's good to have more than one set of cutlery and crockery, because making and sharing food is one of the easiest ways of making friends. One of my friends literally brought about 18 mugs to uni together with a mug stand, which has stood her in pretty good stead.
If you're in halls don't be afraid to move your furniture around (the bits that aren't fixed anyway), a lot of my friends did this and managed to give themselves a lot more play area. Also, in my halls, everybody took the wheels off the bottom of their bed. If you're not in halls but don't like your furniture head out to the junk and charity shops to see something you might need for your room - a bigger desk for example. Don't be put off my colour either, repainting furniture gives it a whole new lease of life.
If you're keen on sewing you'll know that bunting is really easy to rustle up; simply cut out your triangles with pinking shears and the sew them onto a ribbon and, like the washing line, this avoids sticking things to the walls as it can be pinned or tied. Last year, one of my friends bought a strike long enough to go round her room four times, allover the cupboards and along each shelf. It was great.
Try and bring some speakers, they make listening to music and watching movies so much better. I have my record player too which is always a talking point. Also don't forget your instruments, everyone loves to jam around a guitar no matter how bad you are.
Obviously I would take my fish Bruce if I could, but I worry that he wouldn't survive the journey and that there would be no one to care for him during the holidays. You have to check with your landlords, or just break the rules, but I've heard plans for tortoises (yes please!) and kittens. Last year I know a group that managed to keep a pet hamster for months by moving it around according to the cleaning days, he was called Hammy!
If you have any more ideas please let me know. I'll upload some photos when I'm all moved in and unpacked. And freshers.. don't worry you're going to be fine. Great, in fact.