More often than not, student accommodation can be a little… bland. Even if you’ve got odd ridiculous curtains or bright blue carpet, you’ll likely want to add your own stamp. That being said, you’re not going to be able to paint, make holes, change the carpet or anything like that. So we’re here to suggest some things you can do, with a list of 15 cheap ways to decorate student accommodation! It’s one of the best ways to make your uni room feel more like home.

1. Hang up some fairy lights 

fairy lights decor ideas
Source: Pinterest

If there’s one thing that every student needs in their room, it’s fairy lights! In first year, I bought a pack of battery powered wire fairy lights from Primark for a couple of pounds. These are ideal for if you aren’t allowed to plug in fairy lights in your accommodation (I wasn’t in my room). If it’s not warm ambience of fairy lights you’re trying to achieve, why not add some LED strip lights to your room for a funky part vibe. These are great, because you can change the colour depending on your mood. Whether you’re getting ready for pres or having a cosy hangover day, there’s a colour mode that suits your situation.

It’s almost a stereotype now, but uni rooms are incomplete without fairy lights. Whether you get battery operated or plugin, they add a dash of personality to the bedroom. Wrap them around your bed frame, along the tops of the walls, or even around your doorframe for an exciting and pretty focal point!

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2. Print off some photos 

how to decorate at uni
Source: Tinyme

One of the first things I did when I moved into halls in first year was put my polaroid pictures on my wardrobe and prints of friends and family on the wall. This brought a sense of familiarity to the room, as they were pictures I used to have up in my bedroom at home, but I could also add to it as I made memories at university. If you fancy posters on your walls rather than (or as well as) pictures, then there are a couple of ways you can go about this. I collected a lot of cool posters from freshers fairs for one of my favourite clubs as well as random club events throughout the semester. You may prefer to order some posters that suit your aesthetic or create a theme, off websites such as Etsy, Desenio or Postery.

Using apps such as FreePrints, you can get your images printed off as polaroid or usual photos for a very low price. Each month, FreePrints provides you with an allotted number of free pictures, and you just pay the delivery price (usually £2-3). Print off your favourite photos of back home, or even your friends as you go through university, and use command strips to hang them up on the wall without damaging the paint or plaster.

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3. Purchase some interesting prints 

how to decorate cheaply
Source: House Beautiful

Through Amazon and Etsy you can find some really cool prints. From small artist’s paintings to ‘geek chic’ prints, putting art up on your walls will not only show people a bit about you but also make your room more interesting! You could even make a feature wall using prints and some cheap frames – but make sure to use command strips rather than blutack or tape, otherwise, you’ll risk losing your deposit.

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4. Decorate from the floor up 

how to use rugs to decorate
Source: UK Heritage Rugs

One thing I remember about the floor in student accommodation, is that it was hard, scratchy, covered in makeup and generally just nasty. A statement rug will hide a multitude of sins, as well as providing a soft floor to step out of bed onto in the morning.

The carpets in halls and in student accommodation are often shabby. They’ve had years of spilt drinks, tactical chunders, and people who don’t know what a hoover is. So if your carpet is looking a little worse for wear, why not cover it up with a fancy rug? You can find them cheap in stores like B&M, Amazon or The Range. Or, if you’ve got the money, try out Etsy for some homemade ones.

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5. Organise your space 

how to organise your bedroom
Source: Extra Space Storage

Student spaces are often pretty tiny unless you’ve lucked out or paid a little more. If you’ve got a lot of stuff, or just not a lot of storage space, it may be worth investing in some pretty storage equipment. Now, this doesn’t have to just be big IKEA plastic boxes, it could be a shoe rack, under bed storage, washing bins, a shower caddy – anything that’ll help declutter the space!

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6. Spruce up your bedding 

bedding ideas
Source: Dunelm

Beds are the focal point of the bedroom. They’re literally the whole point of the room, and likely where you’ll spend a lot of your time in your room. So why not make your bed the prettiest it can be! ASDA, Amazon, B&M, Shein and Etsy have loads of gorgeous bed sets to choose from. Pick out your favourite couple, and that way even when laundry day comes around your room’s decor doesn’t have to suffer.

I wish I had more cushions on my bed, to make it more comfortable during the day, as well as adding a touch of personality and colour to the room. Even if you throw all the extra cushions on the floor at night, your room will feel super homely during the day. Similarly, a fluffy blanket is a must for getting wrapped up in on a hangover day. Nothing says “I’m feeling fragile” like someone walking round the house with a blanket over their shoulders.

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7. Hang up a tapestry 

how to decorate with a tapestry
Source: Where To Get

Are your walls a weird colour? Maybe they’re covered in marks from a previous tenant or just a bit plain. Order some command hooks and a tapestry, and hang it up to cover the wall you don’t like. Tapestries are a great way to add some art and dimension to a room and are only about £5 to £15 online.

This is a bit of a student stereotype that featured on every single one of my bedroom inspiration Pinterest boards, but never actually made it onto my wall. However, a wall tapestry can be just what your room needs to finish it all off, with the softness of the fabric creating a cosy vibe next to the bed. Have a browse on Etsy for your ideal tapestry to finally make your room feel more homely.

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8. Decorate with nick nacks 

how to decorate your uni room
Source: While Reading and Walking

Over the years, we all collect random bits and bobs. Take some of them with you when you go to uni and make your room truly your own. Your nick nacks show who you are, from the tiny fake plant you won in an arcade to the neon light your Nan got you for Christmas, place them all around your room to make it really feel like home.

We all have our comfort shows and films, but I also find there are certain books which bring me a level of peace that others don’t. In my room I have a mixture of books, some are your classic coffee table books that just look cool and fancy, whereas others have been read to tatters over the years. Having these in your room can not only offer escapism from the stress of university life, but also add a nice finishing touch to the room. Books are also good conversation starters when people come into your room – you never know, your favourite book may also be your housemate’s favourite too!

9. Grow some house plants 

how to use plants to decorate
Source: NBC

Got a green thumb? Bring some houseplants to uni, or buy some when you get there. Not only will they make your room look nicer, but they’ll provide some much needed air filtering, and there’s evidence that greenery has a positive effect on our mental health. Here’s some of the best plants for uni rooms to give you inspiration.

Plants are known to help boost productivity, as well as purifying the air around them, making them the perfect study buddy to have on your desk. Be warned though, as soon as you start buying plants, you won’t be able to stop! Obviously having a houseplant in you room is different to having a pet, but there’s something quite comforting about having something to look after. It’s also really exciting watching a cheap little plant you bought on a whim grow bigger and bigger. If you don’t trust yourself to look after a high maintenance plant, why not invest in a succulent of some sort or some fake plants? Vines trailing from the ceiling and around the room are also a nice touch to any uni room.

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10. Light up the lamps 

bedroom lamps for uni
Source: The New York Times

If you weren’t sold on the idea of fairy lights or strip lights, I recommend you at least get a lamp! The lighting in halls can be so harsh that waking up to that first thing in the morning or going straight from that to pitch black, is quite intense. Depending on your goal for the room, you could invest in a salt rock lamp, like these on Amazon, to create a super cosy glow within the room. Alternatively, you might want to opts for the cute Tokabo lamp from Ikea, which is only £8 and comes in white, green and purple. There are so many different lamps out there, so whether you want a statement piece or simply just something functional, you can definitely find it. Or gab a nice lamp from your local hardware store, B&M, Amazon or even a charity shop, and give yourself some more lighting options. If you can only find some bland ones, why not try poking holes in the lampshade to make it even nicer?

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11. Let the light in with stick on blinds 

blinds for uni rooms
Source: Ideal Home

Most student rooms come with curtains, but if you’d like to have some light in but also some privacy, you can buy stick-on blinds and prisms online. These stick directly onto the window and allow you to let light in, but without worrying about peeping Toms. Which is ideal when you’re on the ground floor!

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12. Liven it up with fake plants 

fake plants for uni
Source: Country Living Magazine

Alternatively, if you don’t have a green thumb, buy some fake plants to give the impression of responsibility. Whilst they won’t help clear the air in your room, they look as nice and can help your mental state still. Plus, you don’t have to worry about watering them.

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13. Remember a memo board 

memo board for uni
Source: Wonderful DIY

Are you likely to forget everything? Ever been told you’d leave your head at home if it weren’t screwed on? Then investing in a memo board (either a corkboard or a whiteboard) might be worth it. Attach it to the wall with command strips and write your deadlines, lectures, and to-dos on there so that you remember.

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14. Walls and washi tape 

washi tape wall art ideas
Source: Pinterest

Washi tape, unlike other tapes and blu tack, doesn’t leave a mark on the walls, Use it to put images up, or make a mural on your wall out of it just to add a little more spice to your room.

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15. Coordination 

how to decorate your uni room
Source: Home BNC

Finally, if you use any of these skills, the best way to make your room come together is to coordinate it all. Make your plant pots match your bedding and organise your nick nacks to complement your prints. It will all tie the room together much better if you just put that little bit of forethought into what you’re getting!

16. Get some cosy candles

How to make your uni room feel more like home - candles

At the moment, it seems like I can’t leave the house without buying a candle. Whether I go to the supermarket or the city centre shopping, I always come back with a candle. We’ve been burning Christmas scents in my house since the start of September, and I can’t see us getting fed up any time soon. Nothing beats the satisfaction of tidying your room, before lighting a new clean-smelling candle to finish it off. Home Bargains’ candle range Wickford & Co has some stunning scents at really affordable prices, such as their Pumpkin Chai for under £5 but burns for 95 hours! These are perfect for if you can’t really afford Yankee candles but also want the luxury of them. Check if your accommodation allows candles before burning them.