student room

Without a doubt one of the best parts about moving away to university and becoming a student is having your very own private space. Free from intrusions by parents or siblings, your room represents a blank canvas, a tranquil space within which you can create a secretive haven for work and play.

However, rooms in university halls can still be quite dull and require a certain level of personalisation to truly make it your home for the year.

Whether you want to transform your dull student room into something more vibrant and inviting. Or a cosy space to snuggle into after a long day of lectures. Here’s our list of our favourite ideas, D.I.Y. projects, and subtle changes that will convert your student room into a relaxing sanctuary.

1.Cosy Up Underfoot

What better way to start the day than to step out of bed onto a plush rug… other than not having to get out of bed at all? Sheepskin rugs are a good choice, as they’re inexpensive, washable and super-soft.

fairy lights

Aside from hiding an inevitably time-worn floor, a rug will introduce some texture or colour. Plus, let’s be honest, with all that running around (between classes or otherwise) you’ll probably sleep on it at least once during your student career.

These aren’t that expensive, and easy to pick up in charity shops too. However, if you’re feeling ambitious (and skint), find out how to make your own vibrant floor piece from old T-shirts. An injection of colour of this kind will help make your room feel homely and cosy.

2. Get Creative With Your Bed

You’ll soon find that after a busy day, there’s nothing quite like cosying up on your bed. Make your bed even cosier by adding in a handful of cushions, throws or other soft furnishings. By making your bed, less bed-like and more loungeable, your room will become the chilling out hub of the house.

loungeable cushions and throws for a student room

Head to your local high street home stores for cheap blankets and cushions. These will liven up your room with both colour and comfort. If you don’t see any designs you like, just use the cheap interior fluff and fashion yourself a cover out of some old fabric material.

Not only do they look nice, but they’re also practical for a movie-night with the besties. Or when you all decide to crowd into someone’s room – no more pretending to be comfy.

3. Relive Your Photo Memories

University is all about fresh starts and new experiences, but bring a bit of home with you. Photos are a great way to bring back great memories and remember what an awesome life you’ve had. Get creative with your own collage!

Print a selection of your favourite photos (they’re not just for Instagram you know). Then display them on your wall to add a personal touch to your room. Here’s your opportunity to go wild, express your creativity and keep a constant reminder of your friends and loved ones.

hanging photos for a student room

Having some photos around the place will instantly make your room feel like home. Although, most student rooms will come with pin-boards which are perfect for pinning photos too. However, in our experience, you’ll soon run out of space on the pin-board. Instead, whip out that roll of tape and use it to create photos frames to stick your pics to the wall.

4. Decorative Wall Decor

Walls are one of the easiest places to put your own spin on a room. As they’re like a blank canvas for your creativity. Luckily there are loads of ways you can spruce up your walls without leaving any marks or dents. Tapestry, posters, confetti dots and wall decals are just some ways to add character to dull walls.

It’s your room, so take your pick and arrange them however you like. Even if you prefer a messy arrangement, go crazy!

confetti for a student room

Simply hanging a bright wall tapestry will add instantly add colour to your mundane student room. Plus, it’s far easier than painting as all you need to do is pin it up. Try and get something lightweight if you can, so you don’t have to use too many pins.

Most landlords won’t be very keen on you cracking open a pot of Dulux paint and covering the walls with your favourite shade of cyan, so tapestry could be the answer you’re looking for.

tapestry for a student room

5. Introduce Some Homely Scents

It’s one thing to make a room look nice, but what’s the point if it doesn’t smell nice?

Nothing says cosy like a scented candle, but in most student halls they’re actually considered a fire hazard. A few alternatives for infusing a lovely fragrance into your room are diffusers, room spray, tea lights or incense sticks (if allowed). Even some simple air freshener will do the trick.

reed diffusers for a student room
air fresheners for a student room

Smell is the strongest memory-triggering sense, so reed diffusers are a way to introduce scents. Plus, they give off a more consistent level of fragrance. They can also be seen as a stylish feature to a room. Not only this, but your curtains won’t be at risk!

If you’re in the halls of residence, why not use the free electricity by using a plugin air freshener? These not only smell great but they last a fair amount of time as well. Not to mention this’ll be the last time that you’ll be able to have free electricity!

6. Light Up With Fairy Lights

As you already know, fairy lights are a must-have for any student’s interior.

Lights are the quintessential product for decorating your student room. As they are great for putting the finishing touch on a fully furnished room. As the most obvious place to start, they are an absolute must when making your room feel cosy. Especially if the main light in your room isn’t very bright or warm.

They’re cheap, versatile and (with a bit of help from your Washi Tape) can be threaded across walls, around furniture or, for a Hollywood feel, stick them around your mirror.

fairy lights on mirror for a student room

For something a little different, if you’re a bit of a book worm or spend a lot of time at your desk. Desk or floor lamps may be more your thing and will also light up your room with a homely touch.

Lighting will go a long way in transforming your student room from dull dungeon to boudoir chic. Whether fairy lights or desk lamps, they are an obvious port of call. As they add a really cosy touch in transforming your student room into your own personal sanctuary.

7. Cute & Functional Storage Spaces

Realised you’ve over-packed and the wardrobe’s already bursting? It’s easily done, as when you’re packing for university you often feel like you need to bring everything! Your parents will tell you to take less clothes, but why do that when there’s so many cheap solutions for enhancing your storage space?

Depending on how much stuff you have you’ll find that things like a shoe rack, over the door hooks, scarf/accessory organisers, storage hangers and maybe even a small clothes rail will come in handy. If you’re feeling creative, you can jazz up storage boxes with your own designs.

storage boxes for a student room

You may also find that your room is not equipped with as many shelves and drawers and you’d like. Over the door storage is a great way of saving space, but otherwise you’ll probably need a few storage boxes for under your bed or in the corners of your room. Try and get ones that fold or are small enough to transport as this will come in handy if you move into housing in second year.

matress caddy for a student room

Stackable storage is a fantastic way to store plenty of things from snacks that you want to keep secret to paperwork. Not only this but they’re easy to move and organise. If you don’t have space for a bedside table, a mattress caddy is a brilliant alternative. Not only does it save space but it’s an easily accessible space to store a laptop or iPad.

8. DIY Chalkboard Student Wall

Whether you use them to kickstart your creative juices with a daily art piece, or simply as an easily accessible shopping list, who doesn’t like scribbling on a chalkboard?

It’s no secret students have a lot to remember, what with all the essay deadlines, exam dates and lunches with friends. You could cover every inch of your room with post-it notes, but a much better (and tidier) solution is creating your own chalkboard.

chalkboard desk for a student room

Chalkboards can be picked up cheap from most craft or stationary stores along with all the colours of chalk under the sun. They’re also incredibly easy to make if you’re a thrifty student – simply grab an old mirror or photo frame and coat it with chalkboard paint. Voila!

9. Bring Nature Inside

Plants have this magical ability to make even the dingiest student digs look homely. A few well-placed pieces of nature around your room can do wonders for your creativity and mental health, plus they’ll clear up the air in your room. Just don’t forget to give them some water every now and then!

botanical for a student room

There’s so many varieties of plant you could choose from, but we’ve found some of the best options are small Cacti, Aloe Vera, or a Peace Lily. As they can easily be kept in small windowsill pots.

Alternatively, if you’re quite forgetful, a nice vase of faux flowers are a good way to brighten up a room and provide the illusion of bringing nature inside without the requirement of regular watering.

10. Don’t Forget To Clean

As a student, cleaning is not always your number one priority. If you’ve got a sweet tooth and love to snack in your room, then a handheld vacuum will come in handy for you! Although very small, it is good for cleaning an entire student room.

handheld vacuum for a student room
duster for a student room

Another good cleaning hack is anti-bacterial wipes. Not only will they help to clear that sticky ring left from last nights can of dark fruits. But it also means, you can attempt to remove that mysterious bit of dirt that you’ve been afraid to touch.

Also, for those students with asthma or dust allergies, a must have item is a duster! It’s also a good thing to have to stop the parents from nagging and mithering you, whenever they come to visit you.


These are only a handful of the inventive hacks students have come up with over the years to decorate their rooms, if you’re looking for further inspiration then Pinterest is a great place to start. Also, we have a How To Make A Student Room A Home infographic that contains similar inspiration. Feel free to take a look!

student room

Get inventive and we’re sure you’ll develop a few decorating hacks of your own, reach out and show us your fully decorated room on Facebook or Twitter! How have you made a student room feel like home? Let us know in the comments!