Students across the land will soon be flying the nest to start college, but even A-star exam results won’t guarantee a college room of distinction.
A basic bedroom in a hall of residence generally turns out (to be polite) pretty uninspiring, but a little imagination – and a raid on the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ – can quickly transform it into the perfect place to chill, socialise and, hopefully, study.
Here’s the super-stylish kit, and some creative tips, so they achieve a double D on their first day – for dazzling decor, of course!
Make the bed
No need to take that literally – in reality, pulling over the duvet is usually as far as it goes – but it’s a focal point and dressing it with cheerful bedding and cushions gives a bland, boring room an instant lift.
Unless you’re seriously allergic to Skandi-style, you can’t fail to find a striking bargain in Ikea. Its smart striped designs include a green and white Tuvbracka set (quilt cover and two pillowcases), or a lilac stripe Palmlilja and a black and white Bjornloka. A multicoloured Varstjarna Throw is also a good buy.
Bland walls need decorating, but this can be problematic if nails or picture hooks are outlawed. “Avoid dog-eared posters and instead create a collage of prints and photos and use Washi-tape, which won’t cause damage, to fix to walls,” suggests HomeSense stylist Joanna Thornhill. “Or run the tape around the edge of prints to resemble frames, and then display in a group for a gallery effect.”
Command has sticky, damage-free hanging strips: 3M Command Value Self-adhesive Picture Hanging Strips Combination 12 Pack. Another way of doing it is propping framed photos against a wall, and Oliver Bonas has a White Rubix 15 Picture Multi Wall Frame.
A plastic picture pockets hanging photo gallery is now a staple for student rooms, and Amazon has one that holds 80 photos: Picture Pockets Mega (Size AA) Hanging Photo Gallery Flat Pack. Hang it on their Premier Housewares Five Hook Over Door Hanger.
Avoid giving a parental lecture on the importance of keeping up with coursework and simply present them with a Helen Ingham ‘Do Some Work’ Unframed Print from the House range at John Lewis.
All lit up
Good lighting’s key to creating a cosy atmosphere, and lamps are a must. John Lewis has an uber trendy Watt Table Lamp, in its House range – basically a giant light bulb.
Fitting all their possessions into one small room is never easy (after the first term, they often lug loads home again!), so using every inch of space is vital. “Wooden fruit crates and old suitcases work well as alternative storage solutions and look good. Even better, they can be sourced cheaply from charity shops or car boot sales,” points out Thornhill. “Stackable, foldable boxes are also brilliantly useful and can be slotted away under the bed.”
A bedside table is a handy extra surface, and Ikea’s Selje Bedside Table, incorporates wireless charging. John Lewis has large Lidded Felt Storage Boxes, and for extra storage or litter, you can’t go wrong with a metal Knodd Bin, available in white or grey.
Sit & Swot
Between socialising and partying there’s some work to be done, and most rooms, but not all, provide a desk. If there isn’t one and space is limited, Ikea’s slim Knotten Standing Desk, with drawers and two shelves, could fit the bill. Ikea’s Micke Desk, which has a drawer and side storage, is great value. Provide vital extra seating for pals with a Fatboy Bean Bag, John Lewis.
“Jazz up dull box files, text books and ring binders, otherwise they can make a bedroom feel more like an office. Stock up on a few inexpensive rolls of gift wrap, or photocopy favourite prints and photos, and cover them so they look good enough to be left on show,” advises Thornhill.
An Ikea Knuff Magazine File would be easy to paint for decoration.
Fun, quirky gifts are just the thing to present on the day, when nerves and fear of homesickness may kick in. Banish boring laundry baskets and instead opt for a boxing-style Punch Bag Laundry Bag, from Red Candy (potentially handy for off-loading stress). The online store also has an Umbra Hangit Desk Photo Display.
Flying Tiger’s colourful Clock, would brighten a wall and maybe remind them it’s time to ring home (occasionally) or attend a lecture. Ikea’s PS 1995 Clock, for a wall or shelf has storage inside for small items, or go retro with a Dekad Alarm Clock.
Really good towels (name-tagged ideally, and never white) are a luxury touch and can be cheering as they queue for the bathroom. Christy’s Spectrum Towels come in a distinctive deep pink lobster shell.
Mugs, nothing fancy as they’ll either vanish or get broken, are a must for coffee/tea link-ups with new mates.