By Harriet Lowbridge | Head of Advice
You get to experience a whole new lifestyle of living away from home and working to your own schedule. Then you’ll likely experience the anticlimactic let down once you finally arrive to actually find dull, lifeless rooms, old, stained carpets and just drab interiors.
A study in the Journal of Psychological Medicine found that ‘Six times more young people’ experience and live with ‘psychological problems today than [they did] a generation ago’. The stress of university life is often a contributing factor to this, as well as the effects of Covid-19. Many students have likened returning to university accommodation as like living in a prison, especially during the previous lockdown. However, your university experience doesn’t have to be like this.
Here are some ways to make your university accommodation feel like a home and hopefully improve your frame of mind while you’re in them.
Use warm lightbulbs in your big light if you can or at very least in your lamps to create a cosy atmosphere. It’ll be more relaxing to work in and make the room a little more hospitable than the harsh white light of uni halls of residence.
Lamps are also a huge part of bringing home to your room. A lava lamp adds a little quirkiness while fairy lights bring a bit of mood lighting.
One of my best purchases was Ikea’s BÖJA lamp, the wicker shade adds to the lamp’s cosy glow and makes my bedroom that much nicer to hang out in.
A simple potted plant does wonders to make a room homey. Whether you fill the room floor to ceiling with potted plants and 6ft butterfly palm or just a simple potted basil to scent the room and use for dinner. Having a few bits of nature in you really make the room feel so much more alive, and they can do wonders for cheering up your mood.
3.) Cosy bits!
Bring along your favourite blanket, plush toys (though I wouldn’t recommend more than 2-3), cushions, duvets, pillows. Soft and squishy things to cuddle into when you’re feeling down, or ill, or hungover, are ideal for lifting your mood. Who’s to know that you spend your evenings binge-watching shows wrapped in your childhood blanket and cuddling a 4ft grizzly bear?
So, most accommodations won’t let you have candles burning. It’s easy enough to get creative and still bring in your own life to the place. Potted herbs, reed diffusers, and scented pot pourri are great at bringing some freshness from your flat mate’s old sneakers and fish dinners. But also bring some freshness to your clothes by putting scented tumble dryer sheets into your drawers. They’re cheap, smell great when you open your drawers and when you wear your clothes. What’s not to love.
Bring in a bit of colour to your life! It’s vital to have something so that you’re not just staring at uni’s blank walls day in and day out. Most halls won’t let you hang up anything on your walls but there are always ways around this. Many will be fine with stick on hooks for a small picture or hanging art. Many rooms will have pin boards to stick up your own art, photos or posters. Don’t forget some cheap printed out pictures of your family, friends and pets. Sometimes it’s just nice to bask in the memories of a good time out.
6.) Utilise your charity shops!
If you’re reading this, you’re likely to be coming to Cardiff University. We live in such a great city for students and every year students are leaving and donating their furniture to local charity shops. Fill up your room with some fresh and fun furniture and Knick-knacks that you find in your local shops. You’re bringing money into local charities, bringing something new and exciting into your place and it makes it feel like a home you’ve made without blowing all your student finances. Rather than a repeat of your childhood bedroom.
If all else fails, look on Pinterest or see what previous students have done to make their university accommodation a home. There’s bound to be something that makes it shine for you.