Bare walls in horrible colours and worn out furniture is often the typical image of student accommodation. Of course, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you might be facing loud wallpaper and interior knickknacks that look like the example rooms at IKEA, making absolutely no cohesive sense. You even might be lucky and have the dream accommodation you always wanted, but that is rather unlikely. No matter what you’re faced with on move-in day, don’t despair there is always a way to fix it.
Whether you can easily go home and visit your friends and family or you are an international student who can only go home for holidays, it helps if your room at university feels like a second home. There have been countless articles and journals published on why feeling at home is important: it helps your mental health, allows you to relax and gives you a safe space where you can retreat to when you need it. Something about coming back from university and unlocking the door, kicking off your shoes and walking into a place that truly feels like home helps leave all stress from the outside world behind.
As an international student myself, if there is one thing I know how to do, it is making any place feel like home. There are so many ways to do so, from traditional decoration to more mental ways. For me personally, a place finally feels like home once I have hung up all of my polaroids. Something about a wall full of pictures that remind me of places I have been, people I have met, my friends and family, or most importantly my dog make me realise that this is my new home.
Obviously, it doesn’t have to be polaroids. Any pictures can help or even posters. For example, your favourite movies will do. What’s important is that it is something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you look at them.
Another easy way is getting different lighting. Whether that is just a different bulb (I prefer warm bulbs,) fairy lights, galaxy projectors, or even just a new beside table lamp they can make a huge difference.
If you have a slight green thumb, plants and flowers are also lovely to brighten up a room. If you’re more like me who can’t even keep a cactus alive, there are some surprisingly realistic looking fake plants and flowers out there.
The most obvious (and cheapest way) is one that is often overlooked and it’s just simply moving around and rearranging the furniture. You don’t need to be a feng-shui expert but just moving the desk closer to a window and the bed away from the door can make the room feel completely new.
Student accommodations tend to always smell stuffy no matter how long you leave the windows open and an easy fix is some yummy candles or incense. My personal favourite are either citrus or apple scents, nothing like year round Christmas.
Quality bedding also makes rooms so much cosier, it doesn’t need to be pricey, but some nice bedding, a few throw blankets and fuzzy pillows and all of a sudden it gets ten times harder to get out of bed in the morning.
And if all of this doesn’t help, make yourself a nice cup of tea or hot cocoa, put on your favourite jammies, get cosy, throw on your comfort movie and remember no matter how many miles you are from home, your loved ones are only one phone call away.