It’s no secret that student houses are, for want of a better word… dingy. Stained carpets, peeling plaster and horrifically dated furniture are pretty synonymous with student living, and whilst you might be spending most of your time in lectures (read: at the pub), you’ll still want to be able to lay your head somewhere vaguely resembling a home.
Whether moving into halls as a fresher or embarking on your final year in a shared house, this accommodation will be your main spot for sleeping/ studying/ hiding in bed with a hangover/ eating leftover pizza for the next 12 months, so it’s worth investing a bit of time and money to make it at least somewhat liveable.
With a few nifty tricks and cheap buys (who could turn down a trip to Ikea, anyway?), your student house can soon be somewhere you actually want to relax, rather than just a location for pre-drinks. Move over mouldy window panes and stained walls, it’s time for a revamp!
1. Cover it up
Rugs are brilliant. Fact. Whether you want to hide your grubby carpet or stop the downstairs neighbours complaining about the noise quite so much, your rug’s got you covered - literally. Opt for bright colours over subdued tones (beige + red wine = not a good combo) such as this funky one from Habitat and watch as your living room is instantly transformed. Feeling a bit skint after spending all your student loan on pints at the SU? Head over to Freecycle or Gumtree and see what you can nab - you may even be able to find items being given away for free so it’s a great way to kit out your house without paying a penny.
2. Get green-fingered
Known for their mood-boosting, concentration-boosting, general-happiness-boosting qualities, plants are the perfect addition to any student bedroom – especially if your budget doesn't extend to a house with a garden. Make your room a haven of peace and tranquility by buying couple of cheap as chips plants and popping them in these super aesthetic pots from H&M.
3. Shine a light
Everyone knows lighting is key. Avoid the blinding strip lights that seem to come built into every student house (whoever thought they were a good idea, we’ll never know…) and opt for something more mellow - perfect for when you CBA to tidy up but don’t want to see the mess quite as clearly. Drape these quirky fairy lights over your mirror or hang them from your wall - they can also double as a great place to hang photos using these mini wooden pegs.
4. Add comfort
I challenge you to find an item of furniture that can’t be improved without some kind of soft furnishing. Any worn out armchair can be lifted with these plush velvet cushions and any grimy sofa hidden under a throw, perfect for adding warmth and cosiness when your stingy housemate refuses to turn on the heating come October...
5. Splash out on accessories
What do you get when you combine five students and one small bathroom? A pretty messy shower situation… You might not be able to redo the plumbing, but there are a few things you can do to divert attention away from quite how... mildewy it is. Add a few homely touches like this trendy millennial pink soap dispenser or this equally as aesthetic terrazzo print towel set and watch your bathroom transform before your very eyes.
6. Stash it away
Nothing will make you feel grown up quite like organising your clothes. Divide your socks from your underwear by putting these handy storage boxes in your drawers for instant ‘I’ve-got-my-life-together’ smugness. After all, no one wants to spend half an hour rummaging around for a clean pair of pants when they’ve got a 9am lecture.
7. And to top it all off...
If you move into a student house and your bed is comfortable, you might want to check you’ve got the right address. It’s might as well be written into the contract that EVERY student room have a lumpy, springy mattress, because you’ll be hard pressed to find a room without one. Luckily, you don’t have to put up with it. Way easier than throwing out your old mattress and sourcing a new (and expensive) one, simply add a mattress topper. Without trying to sound like your mum, £35 is a small price to pay for a good night's sleep.