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Student Accommodation

16 cheap ways to decorate a bedroom

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Want a haven to come back to without it costing the world? There are loads of ways to decorate your uni room cheaply. Read on for some top tips to improve your room's decor on a budget...

Bedrooms with friends

Credit: Yuliya Yesina, Monkey Business Images, Olinda – Shutterstock

Now that you've chosen where to live at university, it's time to think about room decoration. Whether you're moving into university as a fresher, or a new house as a returning student, decorating your own space and making it feel like home is so important.

While this might sound expensive, we've found the best ways to decorate on a budget. Yes, you can have a pretty room and money in the bank!

From bedding to lamps and decorations, we've put together a guide so you can get the most out of your university-living experience.

Find out how to make friends at university before you arrive and during freshers' week.

How to decorate your room at uni

Here are the best ideas to decorate your rented room at uni, cheaply:

  1. Get pretty bedding

    colourful bedding on bed

    Credit: All About Space – Shutterstock

    Cost: £15 – £25 (depending on the shop/deals)

    When you move into your new university room, it's a great idea to bring some homely essentials with you to brighten up the room and add your own personal touch. Stylish bedding is a great start.

    Having lovely bedding is probably the easiest way to introduce colour and interesting patterns to your new room. You'll immediately make it feel more like home, without having to spend much money.

    Depending on what you're looking for, you can get cheerful bedding from Wilko and Primark. It's also worth looking at the Urban Outfitters sale for some nifty discounts on duvet covers, pillowcases, cushions and more.

  2. Invest in a blanket

    pillow and blanket on a stool

    Credit: Alena Ozerova – Shutterstock

    Cost: £3 – £10

    Dress your bed with a blanket or throw if you're feeling fancy. These not only make you look like you have your life (and room) together but serve well in the winter when it gets a little chilly. They're also very cosy, making them ideal for when you're feeling a bit homesick.

    Primark is a great place to get cheap homeware and is definitely worth the trip. They often have sales on items like blankets, so keep your eyes peeled.

  3. Get storage boxes and separators

    storage boxes under bed and on wardrobe

    Cost: £1 – £12

    If you have a small room in university halls (or in your student house), you'll want to make the most of your space and use storage solutions. These boxes from Wilko (similar styles available from IKEA) are brilliant for the top or inside of your wardrobe, or wherever else you have space.

    You may find that you also have some space under your bed to store stuff. These storage boxes will fit perfectly under your bed and make it easy to access all your favourite items, without your room getting too cluttered.

    We'd also recommend these IKEA drawer separators to make the most of your drawer space, no matter how big or small.

  4. Buy lamps for extra light

    lamps next to colourful bed

    Cost: £8 – £20

    A lamp is a great essential to show off your taste. From experience, we'd say it's best to stick to one to start with, but some rooms may have space for two (lucky!).

    Lamps are great for giving off a softer, more relaxing glow than ceiling lights, which can sometimes emit a harsh white light. Perfect for your relaxing haven.

    We bought ours from Dunelm, but we also love this Argos selection.

  5. Get stick-on blinds for rooms that are too light

    window with stick on blinds

    Cost: £5 – £8

    If you struggle with too much light in your room and wake up with it peeking through your curtains, we'd also recommend getting some blackout blinds. Have a look at the blinds from Wilko as you may be able to find some that stick onto the window frame.

    You might also be able to find stick-on blinds in IKEA, too.

    Stick-on blinds can be removed at the end of your tenancy without leaving any marks, making them perfect for renters. And they're particularly good if your landlord has installed curtains that look and feel as though they've been crafted from tissue paper.

  6. Add fairy lights

    lights on brick wall plant room

    Credit: Africa Studio – Shutterstock

    Cost: £5 – £15

    Fairy lights are a great way to liven up a bare-walled, unfriendly house without overdoing it. Plus, fairy light curtains look amazing over windows.

    It can feel impossible to decorate your student room walls due to the rules in your tenancy agreement. But, we used the Command Decorating Clips to attach lights to our walls and had no issues in removing them. They kept both our contract and walls intact.

  7. Use decorative vines/string for photos

    plastic vines on wall decoration

    Cost: £4 – £10

    Got a couple of clips left from tip six? Use the rest to attach decorative vines or string (for photos) to your walls.

    Vines are a great way to add a pop of colour and personality to a room without turning it into an actual jungle!

  8. Hang photos and prints

    picture frames on wall with plant print

    Cost: £2.50 – £10

    Pictures of your family and friends will comfort you when you're having a down day and missing them a bunch.

    Try attaching your photos to some string to display them with a homely touch. We've found this snazzy photo hanging kit to get you started.

    And, if you're a fan of frames but are worried about leaving holes in the walls, these Command Picture Hanging Strips have got your back.

    You can print your photos out cheaply via FreePrints or (if you're feeling fancy) with Cheerz for Polaroid-style pics. For more info, we've got a whole guide dedicated to free photo printing services.

  9. Find a memo board

    memo board with leaflets attached

    Cost: £3 – £10

    A memo board is another great way to display pictures, notes, plans and even fairy lights. And, like most other things, it can also be hung with Command Decorating Clips or Command Medium Hooks for a damage-free look.

    You can make your own whiteboard calendar by using paint chips from your local hardware store, glue and a big photo frame. Adulting and organisation, here you come!

    If you struggle to keep up with plans, check out how to be more organised.
  10. Use Washi Tapes

    washi tape decorating wall skyline

    Credit: – Shutterstock

    Cost: £1 – £6

    If you want to be super extra, get some patterned Washi Tapes to decorate your walls. It's basically glorified masking tape (remember that from school?) and, again, allows you to personalise your room without losing your deposit.

    We found ours in Typo, but they can be found pretty much anywhere with a home decor section. Nice!

  11. Buy a wall tapestry

    wall tapestry in blue and red

    Credit: Amazon

    Cost: £6 – £18

    If washi tape isn't to your taste, a wall tapestry might be. These serve fierce looks, are relatively inexpensive and, again, can be utilised alongside the decorating clips we've been banging on about!

    There are loads of different colours, styles and materials to choose from. Click through to get the one on the left and the one on the right.

  12. Add wall decals

    wall decal gold dots in a minimalist room

    Credit: – Shutterstock

    Cost: £7 – £15

    Wall decals are an ideal way to make your new room look luxurious, without having to spend much money.

    If you're not up for making your own design with washi tapes, wall decals are a super easy and damage-free way to snazz up walls, furniture and dull doors. You can make a pattern with them or just dot them around in places you think could do with an extra bit of love.

  13. Hang a mirror

    woman looking in mirror

    Credit: Odua Images – Shutterstock

    Cost: £7 – £20

    So you've arrived at uni and there's no mirror to be found? Urgh. We feel your pain.

    These IKEA four-panel square mirrors are all the rage, and when you're done with them you can just leave them on the walls for the next person if your landlord/halls don't mind.

    We'd recommend checking with your individual halls or landlord if you definitely are allowed to hang a mirror. Alternatively, you could grab something similar to these mirrors, so you can take it with you wherever you move to.

  14. Get plants

    plants in room

    Credit: Prystai – Shutterstock

    Cost: £2 – £8

    A touch of green never killed anyone (we think?!), so why not adopt a houseplant? If you're not too good at remembering to water your babies, consider cacti, aloe vera and spider plants as they're relatively easy to look after.

    Bloom and Wild have some lovely plants for sale, as do Patch Plants.

    You can also spring a little life into your room with fake plants. If you're not ready to become a plant-parent, they'll look vibrant all year round, require zero care and can often look pretty realistic.

  15. Add small decorations

    candles and homeware decorations

    Credit: Daria Minaeva – Shutterstock

    Cost: £1 – £8

    Candles and reed diffusers can make a room look and smell very put together.

    We tested the candles from Primark. Our verdict? We rate them.

    We'd also suggest having a look in Home Sense or TK Maxx for budget-friendly candles. Plus, there are loads of other decorations you can add to your room, such as vases and scratch maps.

  16. Get desk storage

    desk with pen pots and gadgets

    Credit: Stock Rocket – Shutterstock

    Cost: £2 – £12

    Your desk will also need some form of organisation, even if it's not too fancy! We recommend coming prepared with a good magazine rack (to store papers), a pen pot and an in-tray.

    Depending on your room and what you've been provided with, you may need a desk tray to hold your books, notes and other stationery too.

    It'll save you time searching for those pesky revision notes when the time comes for a last-minute cramming sesh.

Now that you're a pro at interior design, take a look at the top things to do when you start university.


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