Bored of staring at the plain walls in your halls or student housing? Wish you could make your room… well, more ‘you’, but don’t know where to start? Or are you simply guilty of spending hours scrolling through aesthetically pleasing home décor on Pinterest, saving posts to your ‘room inspo’ board? Well, listen up students. I have just the thing for you. Creating a personalized living space doesn’t have to be difficult, nor expensive! This article will provide you with some inspiration to inject your own personal twist on that white-canvas uni room of yours. Are you ready to spruce up your pad, freshen up your living (and study) space, and add a splash of colour to that mundane crib of yours?
Quench have taken part the Student Homeware Challenge, courtesy of WilkoHome, proving that decorating your room at uni can be both stylish andaffordable. I was challenged to find £50 (kindly gifted by Wilko) worth of student-friendly items that would be perfect to jazz up any uni accommodation. But before we find out what I purchased, I have some tips on what should be considered before splashing the cash.
Pick a colour scheme
Shopping for homeware can sometimes feel like you’re shopping blindfolded. It’s difficult to imagine the product in your room, whether it’ll fit, and whether it matches the aesthetic and “theme” you’re trying to achieve. A very simple solution? Pick a colour scheme. I know, I know. In most cases of a renting, you can’t paint or wallpaper the walls. However, you can still add some vibrant colour into your room through furniture, bedding and accessories.
Start by picking three colours. Ideally, you want to choose shades that complement each other. Sometimes it’s best to pick two neutral or muted colours, and the third as your pop of colour or accent colour. For example, you might want white, cream or stone grey for a base colour. Then add some depth and tone with a darker/deeper colour, such as browns, grey or khaki. For your pop of colour, you could choose yellow, orange, green. Finishing your look with accents of silver, gold or rose gold/copper. Adding different colour tones will give your room personality and ambience. For this challenge, I decided to go for a monochrome base – white with black details – with my pop of colour being green. I thought I’d complete the look with a touch of rose gold detailing for elegance.
Before I get carried away and go all ‘DIY SOS’ on you, it’s important to remember the basics and practicality of student décor. It must be student-friendly, so storage and organisation is key. If you are thinking about buying plants, perhaps consider how much attention and space it might take up. It might be ideal to opt for lower maintenance plant, such as a small cactus or window-sill plant.
If you think you can pop into a homeware shop and only come out with one item, well… let’s say you probably have stronger willpower than I do! Only buying onecandle in TK Maxx? Never heard of it. It’s easy to get carried away in-store, lugging it all the way home, to then realise your shelf now looks too cluttered. Yes, you can buy too much. (And I am ever-so guilty, oops). Planning what space you need to fill and writing a list before you head to the shops is a great way to combat any temptation to overspend.
The Challenge: What I bought in Wilko…
Clock – £6
When it’s exam season and revision is all you have planned for the day, a big, clear clock is probably one of the best things a student could buy. This stylish, modern clock is perfect for both my uni room and my room at home (yes, it’s worth considering where it’s going to go once you leave uni!). Clocks can be underappreciated, due to the lack of practical need when the time is so largely displayed on our mobile devices. However, clocks are timeless (excuse the pun), classic pieces of décor that will always add a little ‘something’ to your room.
Particularly during studying periods, checking your phone for the time can be a dangerous game. Yes, you know what I’m talking about. Checking the time and facing the unavoidable temptation to quickly scroll through Instagram. Oh and Facebook. And maybe Twitter if you’re quick. But by this time, you have probably got yourself too many hashtags deep and you’re thinking about #nobakeoreocheesecake instead. Get yourself a clock!
Storage – £17
If you’re anything like me, bringing everything but the kitchen sink to uni every September is a standard process. Ironically, I HATE clutter. So I knew that I just hadto do myself a favour and invest in some handy storage items. Plastic tubs and boxes are great for storage, however I decided to go for this white MDF storage holder to act as a practical storage frame – much prettier than some plastic boxes too! I decided to fill mine with books, everyday items such as deodorant, makeup brushes and the bottom shelf, a scarf. This piece would also be ideal for bathroom storage, giving your bathroom grooming products and flannel a proper home, rather than the side of the bathtub.
Pillows – £7 (each)
A bed makes the bedroom. Sounds obvious, but keep this in mind when your bed isn’t made and your room feels like a mess. Whilst you would hope you spend most your day at your desk studying, some of your revision (and just “one” episode of Friends) could end up back in the comfort of your duvet. So, what better company for your bed than cushions? I fell in love with these pillows from Wilko, due to their irresistible fluffiness. As if I needed any more excuses to not want to get out of bed in the morning!
Artificial Plant – £6
Okay, so I have tried real plants and I’m going to be honest… that didn’t work out too well. Deciding to introduce some bright, fresh, natural colours and textures, I decided to result to an artificial plant. Not only does this give an illusion of real-life nature, it doesn’t come with the responsibility of having to look after and water the plant in order to keep it alive. Something to consider when buying fake plants: look for a plant with thin stems or flowers to maximise its look of authenticity.
Candle – £4.50
Candles are my weakness. Candles (or fairy lights) will transform any cold, dingy room into a cosy and welcoming space. Providing your candle is scented, your room will also be lit with an ambient, refreshing fragrance – win win! I couldn’t resist this fresh citrus candle; perfect for spending long days studying for those dreaded exams (err, yeah, let’s not talk about those).
Diffuser – £4.50
If you’re in halls, you may not be allowed to light candles for safety purposes. Reed diffusers are a brilliant way to keep scents of last night’s (or your flatmate’s) dinner far from your personal space. If you don’t fancy one for your room, it’s always worth considering a diffuser for your bathroom.
Notepad – £1
Does this one need much explanation? As a student, notebooks are essential. This little notebook is handy to carry to make notes for lectures, seminar classes or when you’re on the go. Following my fresh botanical theme, I decided to go for this cactus print notebook.
Mug – £2.50
To help fuel those late-night-caffeine-pumped work sessions…
So, how well did I do? Although I went slightly over the budget totalling at £53. Not bad, right? Home decor doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, it’s just about nailing those colours, textures and discovering your theme. Bringing some nature into your space will give your space some colourful life.
Want to join the Wilko challenge? Comment how you get on!
Words by Rachel Jefferies
Photographs by Rachel Jefferies