Whether you’re living in college or renting a student house, it can be difficult to feel truly at home in your university accommodation. Countless restrictions imposed by your landlord and college may have left your walls bare, and the unknown previous tenants can only be to blame for the unaccountable smell in that cupboard. However, now that you’re well into your first term back, it’s time to tackle all of these issues. Despite only living here during term time, ensuring that your accommodation is pleasant is absolutely essential. You need somewhere cosy to collapse after a full day of lectures, or at least somewhere that will impress your friends at pre-drinks. I have compiled a list of top tips to give all student accommodation a personal touch.
Undoubtedly the most pressing concern for student accommodation is the bed. After all, for many it epitomises the student experience: weekend lie-ins, late-night summative stresses, binge-watching Netflix (and chill). I recommend investing in numerous blankets and a hot water bottle, especially if you’re in cold halls or if you’re trying to save on that heating bill. However, a mattress topper is arguably the most important purchase to make; the thought of how many people have slept on college mattresses is slightly disturbing.
Furniture in student houses tends to comprise of a mismatch of second-hand purchases and an assortment of belongings which have been acquired from previous tenants. If you’re lucky, this furniture will all be in full working order with limited dubious stains. If not, I’d recommend hiding the years of damage under huge throws and even painting what you can. If you’re feeling particularly committed, adding nicer (sparklier) door knobs to cupboards makes a huge difference.
For those who like to work from the comfort of their own home – or for those who are forced to due to last-minute summative panics – a decent desk space is imperative. Make sure that you have a sizeable work top, enough light for reading and plug sockets for charging laptops or operating printers.
The kitchen quickly becomes the busiest (and consequently the messiest) room in shared student houses. Therefore, keeping the work surfaces as bare as possible is advisable; you’ll be grateful for anything that reduces the amount of cleaning required. It is also definitely worth buying a large draining board tray so that you have somewhere to dump your dishes before running to that 9am lecture you’re already late for.
Sharing a bathroom is, in my opinion, the true test of friendship. To make the experience a little easier, I’d recommend acquiring a bathroom tidy; having clear separate spaces for everyone’s belongings will (hopefully) prevent any quibbles regarding accidentally helping yourself to your housemate’s shampoo. Another practical addition is a sign for the bathroom indicating when it’s being used. This is especially useful if your lock is dodgy and it helps guide people to the bathroom at house parties.
The living room
The living room is the place where you and your housemates can all chill together, so personalising it just adds to the fun you’ll be having. Living in an all-girls house, we currently have our own cocktail making table and a handmade “Fergalicious” sign. However, if you’re not that much a fan of the iconic noughties dance track, you might want to have your own variations. A Beer Pong table, games cupboard and even an Xbox are all great additions to your house.
The outside area of most student houses is more of a dumping ground for drunken ‘trophies’, cigarette stubs and empty beer bottles. However, cleaning it up and investing in a barbecue will ensure perfect post-exam celebrations in the summer. Solar lights and some cheap chairs are also very useful when you have lots of people round. If you’re feeling particularly decadent, buying a hot tub for your house will ensure that all your parties achieve legendary status – although if your bills are included, the landlord may not agree.
Add your own touch
Whether it be artwork, posters or photographs, this is the ultimate way to personalise your university accommodation and brighten the dingiest of rooms. If your landlord or college don’t let you pin things to the wall, you can use Washi Tape instead. This list could also not be complete without fairy lights – they add a magical element to all rooms of the house.