The prospect of university may be exciting for many, but for some it can be more than a bit daunting moving from home for the first time.
Thankfully there are many ways to make student accommodation feel more like home, and here we have put together a list of the best so that you can focus on more important things, like your business management degree grades and where you’re going to find a pilot costume for that lock-in at the weekend.
1. Save space
One of the main differences you may find between home and halls is the amount of space. Unfortunately, most student housing isn’t exactly known for being spacious, unless you’re one of those lucky few who got first dibs on the attic room. Luckily, for the rest of you there are now some great space savers on the market to help you make the most of your room and recapture some of those home comforts.
Habitat, the stylish household furnishings retailer, has a great range of space-saving options for your room that don’t look like you’ve hiked them out of the second-hand shop down the road. The Jai desk ladder, pictured here, offers a great way of having a desk with built-in storage without adding in bulky furniture.
Top tip: also handy when needing to reach the back of the kitchen cupboard for the last tin of baked beans!
Everyone’s favourite Swedish home furnishings expert Ikea also has some great space-saving solutions for student accommodation. They have a great range of bathroom storage and affordable bedroom solutions that can be installed without damaging the walls, and a trip to their massive stores always make for a great house day out – remember to stop off for meatballs.
If all else fails, cheat! The Hut Group, the people behind quirky home accessories site I Want One of Those (IWOOT) have come up with a great way of creating the illusion of space with their door murals: choose from the Maldives, stairs and even an authentic-looking London phone box, just remember to let guests know the way out.
One fail-safe way of making student accommodation more homely is by personalising it with things from home.
IWOOT can help here too. Their glass frames make for a great way of putting up pictures of home without the dreaded Blu Tack, whilst looking so very vintage and cute.
Posters and photo collages are often a must in student accommodation to make it your own. The Freshers’ Fair usually offers cheap posters and photo printing sites such as PhotoBox and Snapfish offer great printing rates delivered to your door, and free prints if you’re a new customer.
3. Homely smells
Homely smells often go underrated. To keep the homesickness at bay try buying the same fabric softener your mum uses or invest in some candles.
Alternatively, cooking is a great route to making student accommodation smell its best, and worst. Has someone left that beer stain untreated in the lounge for three weeks? Try baking some bread to rid the stink. Mmmm fresh bread.
4. Become a good host
Best thing about halls? The fact that there’s never a dull moment. There is always, ALWAYS, someone doing something. Embrace this fact. Yes, it might get a bit tiresome when you have a 9am events management course lecture and Room Three is bursting into your room with their latest get-rich-quick concept, but at the end of the day you will end up missing these times when you’re home for Christmas and the house is silent at 11pm.
So become a good host, invite people over and if you’re feeling a bit homesick revive that tweenage tradition and have a good old-fashioned sleepover, just with added Baileys rather than marshmallows in the hot chocolate.
5. Get some good speakers
Another way to make halls better than home? Invest in some good speakers and embrace the fact that you will soon learn to sleep through anything. Much like the fact that there is always something going on, you will soon find that student accommodation is never quiet, unless there’s a tripped switch and you’re using your phone light to find the fuse box for the first time.
It is also a great way of ridding homesickness as nothing affects your mood quite like music. So be sure to have something on in the background when you’re unpacking to avoid thinking about home. Just remember, your housemates will be listening, and ABBA’s Greatest Hits on repeat is NOT ok.
Enjoy being able to decorate how you want to decorate. After all, when else in life will it be socially acceptable to have a traffic cone as your doorstop and a permanent beer pong table?
Ikea, again, can really help here, and not just by providing a cheap lunch and a fun day out trying to fit on the child’s slide. Their fairy lights are a must and a potted orchid is sure to brighten up any room. They also appreciate how much students have to think about when packing for university and created their own university checklist to make the job that bit easier. For more ideas, see our ultimate student checklist room by room.
notonthehighstreet.com may be your go-to when you’re stuck trying to find your sister’s birthday present, but it also has a great range of products to decorate your halls with. Try the quaint teapots that double up as hangers featured at the top of this article or personalised wall stickers to really make your mark, and don’t worry, you’ll still get your deposit back, as they remove without any residue.
Looking for some great value decoration for your halls? Look no further than everyone’s favourite home, leisure and garden store The Range. They boast that if they don’t sell it, you don’t need it, and while you almost certainly don’t need a dramatic spotlight in your student house, we know you want one.
7. Actually clean
So we admit this next tip is more ensuring your halls are more like home rather than better than home, but it’s still valid. No one likes living in squalor, not even students, no matter how much they protest. So make like mother and actually clean once in a while to avoid any student house arguments.
8. Get involved in Sundays
Finally, what do students miss most about home? A family Sunday roast. What makes halls better than home? Cooking your own Sunday roast with your housemates. Yes, ok, the Yorkshires may not rise and alright the potatoes were a little burnt, but eaten with a big glass of wine in hand, we doubt you’ll notice the difference.
Image Credits: notonthehighstreet.com, Habitat, Inter IKEA Systems B.V., The Hut Group, The Range
This content was written by Rachel Smith. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.