Bored of staring at the plain wall 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 just guilty for spending hours scrolling through aesthetically pleasing home décor on Pinterest saving posts to your ‘room inspo’ folders? 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 whirlwind article will hopefully provide you with some inspiration for your own acquired taste to personalise your uni room or student housing. Spruce up your pad, freshen up your living (and study) space, and inject some colour into that mundane crib of yours.
Quench have taken part the Student Homeware Challenge, courtesy of Wilko Home, proving that decorating your room at uni can be both stylish and affordable. I was challenged to find student-friendly items to jazz up uni accommodation in a total of £50 (kindly gifted by Wilko). But before we get onto what I purchased, let’s dive into some top tips to consider when splashing the cash.
Shopping for homeware without being at your home is like shopping blindfolded. It’s difficult to imagine the product in your room, perception of size/ ratio, and your aesthetic “theme”. This is where a colour scheme will come in handy. I would advise picking 3 colours. Ideally, you want colours that complement each other. Sometimes it’s best to pick two neutral or toned down 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. Then add your pop of colour – yellow, orange, green. You could then add finishing touches with accents of silver, gold or rose gold/copper. Adding different colour tones will give your room personality, and is also pleasing to the eye. For this challenge, I decided to go for a monochrome base, white with black details, with my pop of colour in green plants, finishing the look off with a touch of elegant rose gold details.
Before I get carried away and get all ‘DIY SOS’ on you, it’s important to remember the basics and practicality of student décor. It must be student-friendly, meaning that elements such as storage and size needs to be as efficient as possible. If you have a limited amount of space and would like to incorporate some wildlife into your living space, then perhaps buying a huge plant isn’t the brightest of ideas. A small cactus or window-sill plant would be much more efficient.
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 me. Only buying one candle in TK Maxx? Never heard of it. However, there is nothing worse than buying an abundance of items to spruce up your living space, lugging it home to find out that you now have too many items on your shelf but you can’t bring yourself to get rid of anything. Yes, you can buy too much. (And I am ever-so guilty, oops). Planning the space you need to fill is advisable before you splash your cash on a fancy ornament. Just remember, decorating does not have to be a full on “before” and “after” makeover extravaganza!
The Challenge: What I bought in Wilko…
Clock – £6
When it’s exam season and revision is all you have planned throughout the day, a big, clear clock is probably one of the best things a student could have buy for their room. This stylishly modern clock is perfect for both my uni room and my room at home (yes, it’s worth considering!). Clocks are underappreciated, as many people don’t have a practical need for a clock when they can just check their phones. 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 on 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, however, I HATE clutter. So I knew that I just had to 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. However, this piece would be ideal for bathroom storage, such as shower gels, shampoo and flannels.
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. You may think that a bed isn’t worth looking after when its main purpose is for sleeping in, but trust me, a nicely made bed transforms your room. Whilst you would hope you spend most your day at your desk studying, it could be a realistic fact that some of your revision (and just “one short episode” procrastination) happens in your bed. 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. A top tip when buying fake plants is to buy something with thin stems or flowers in order to deceive authenticity. I stumbled across this artificial plant and knew it would fit perfectly.
Candle – £4.50
Candles are a Godsend. I honestly cannot emphasise enough how much candles (or fairy lights) can transform a 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. If this is the case, I’ve still got you covered. Reed diffusers are a perfect way to keep scents of last night’s (or your flatmate’s) tea 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
Is there any need to explain this one? As a student, notebooks are essential. This little notebook is handy to carry to make notes on lectures or in seminar classes. Following the botanical theme of my room, 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 £55.50. Not bad, right? Home decor doesn’t need to be complicated or expensive, it’s just about getting those colours, textures and theme right. Bringing some nature into your space will give your pad some life.
Want to join the Wilko challenge? Comment how you get on!
Words by Rachel Jefferies
Photographs by Rachel Jefferies