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8 Tips for Decorating on a Student Budget

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Autumn is upon us, and with it comes another semester of university. And while some time away from the parents might sound nice, for others, packing your belongings into a drab and dreary student dorm might not sound like the most appetising thing. Luckily, we’ve got a few tips to help you when you’re decorating on a student budget.

From natural vibes to DIY décor, we’ve got it all. And the best part is, we’ve got some suggestions on how you can make sure you’re not sacrificing any of that deposit in the process. With everything from blu-tack stains to drill holes taken into consideration, there’s no need to worry about leaving any damage when you’re decorating on a student budget.

1. Add a Few Plants

An Aloe Vera Plant

For those who want that natural vibe, a plant or two can make all the difference. They clear the air, add a pop of colour, and freshen up the place, so it’s a small change that can make a big difference. Aloe Vera plants are great because they’re low maintenance and have a ton of uses, from helping with sunburn, to dry skin. Orchids, bamboo palms and spider plants all make for pretty great bedroom buddies too. 

While a bunch of these plants are low maintenance and just need a little sun and water, sometimes you want to eliminate the possibility of plant-death entirely. For that you can turn to the trusty fake plant. While they don’t bring the same air-clearing properties that their natural counterparts offer, they still add some colour and can look super pretty if you pick out a good one. Not to mention, adding a little natural colour is a doddle with a little help from Serenata Flowers.

2. LED Lighting for Your Bedroom

A Bunch of Fairy Lights

While you can’t exactly fiddle with the fixtures, and candles present the issue of potential fire hazards, there are ways you can add a little ambient lighting without breaking the rules. LED candles are a cracking way to bypass the pyrotechnical problems a naked flame presents, while looking pretty in the process. And by simply introducing a lamp, you can give the place a little tasteful illumination while you’re burning the midnight oil.

Another way you can light up the room is with some fabulous fairy lights. Whether you wrap them round your bedpost, drape them over your desk or frame your noticeboard with them, they can add some light and a touch of class. Just remember to get those electronics PAT tested! For those on the lookout for some lovely lights, Homebase is always a safe bet.

3. Personalised Notice Boards

A Lightbulb Drawing on a Sticky Note, pinned to a Noticeboard.

While it may not be something every student dormitory is packing, there’s usually a noticeboard. And while some might see a bland looking piece of cork, what you should be seeing is a few square footage of creative opportunities. We’ve mentioned framing the thing with fairy lights, but you can add polaroid’s and turn it into an open-plan photo album. You can put your posters up with drawing pins and avoid the dreaded blu-tack stains on those off-white walls, or you can just add a few simple utility items. It’s a wonderfully cheap way to get decorating on a student budget.

From calendars and diaries, to reminders and notices, you can just use it for its intended purpose. But have a little fun with it. A fan of furry felines? Get your hands on a cat calendar! A serial doodler? Write yourself a note and make it pretty! A noticeboard doesn’t have to represent dull, boring life admin, it can be a representation of you! Speaking of utilities, you can even turn it into a place to hang your accessories with a little help from some well-placed drawing pins.

4. Hang Posters with Command Strips

Photographs Stuck to the Wall.

Now we know we’ve said blu-tack and off-white walls do not mix, but there’s a few ways you can get around it. While white tack is an alternative that is less likely to stain your wall, it can release oils and stain the wall all the same. A great alternative is command strips! They’re strong and sturdy, and they don’t leave a mark (although we recommend finding a trusted brand and reading a few reviews).

They’ll easily support a photo or a poster, but where they really shine is with mirrors and shelves. While it’s best to go easy on them and make sure you aren’t packing the pounds onto a shelf supported by a solo command strip, they usually come with a maximum weight recommendation, so stay under that and you’re golden.

5. Personalised Photo Decorations

Arranging Photographs on a Table.

We’ve mentioned how covering your noticeboard in some printed photos is a cracking way to do some decorating on a student budget, but there’s plenty of other ways you can wear your memories on your sleeves. The most obvious of which being to frame it! It’s clean, it’s easy, and frames only cost a couple of quid so you can’t really go wrong. 

You can even grab a digital photo frame and have a rotating roster of photographic reminiscence proudly displayed on your bedside table. Another fantastic option is to get creative with a little help from retailers like Photobox and Snapfish. You can print a picture on a blanket, a mug, or even just get them turned into posters for your noticeboard.

6. DIY Decoration Ideas

Homemade Paper Heart Decoration

Decorating on a student budget can be a little limiting, but that’s not a problem. Whether you’re a creative, you’re an interior design student, or you’ve just seen something whacky in a life hack video and you’re just bored enough to give it a go, getting into the DIY spirit is a great way to add some flair to your room. From poking holes in lampshades to give off an interesting effect, to putting together paper chains and hanging them from the ceiling, it’s a great way to go.

Throw a few origami creations around and add a little mystique to your abode, or make yourself some streamers. It’s cheap, fun and easy, and come Christmas time, you can reap the rewards of those new-found decorating skills. If you’re in need of some creative kit so you can get your DIY on, The Works is a shop that’s packed with the essentials to get you started.

7. Make a Creative Space

A Table with a Camera, a Laptop and Glasses on it.

While making the place look pretty is a nice idea, it’s important that you’ve got comfort and functionality too. Most student digs will come with a desk, so it’s a great idea to make it a creative space that lets you get the most out of yourself when it comes to university work. So, pretty it up, but give yourself a little space to breathe. 

Add just the right amount of light, make sure you’ve got space for your laptop or your desktop, add a cushion or two if your chair could be comfier, and let yourself get settled. Surround yourself with some inspiration, whether it’s some of your favourite books related to your degree subject, or just some nice art if you’re studying something creative.

8. Bedroom Accessories

Decorative Cushions.

It might seem a little obvious, but buying a few accessories is a great way to add a little flair to your space. Whether it’s a rug to tie the room together, a comfy cushion, or even a toasty throw blanket, you can inject some colour and style, without much effort at all. Comfort is important, especially when it’s likely your bedroom is the only real space you can escape to when your housemates are getting on your nerves. 

Amazon is always a great place to find bedroom accessories on a budget, with all the choice in the world, you can take your pick, whether you want something novelty, or just want to cosy up your quarters. On the flip side, you’ve got Dunelm. They offer quality products for the home, and so you can bet they’ve got something cute, cuddly and stylish for your dorm.

Spruce Up Your Student Dorm

So, whether you want to emblazon your walls with a little personality, you want to add a few cosy touches to your dorm room, or you just fancy letting in a little light, we hope you’ve found a little inspiration for decorating on a student budget. And if you want a few more ideas for home décor this Autumn, you can’t go wrong with a little help from Real Homes.

Small changes can make all the difference, and when you’ll be spending the better part of the year in your student accommodation, it’s a good idea to make it a proper home for yourself. From a creative space to knock out those assignments in, to a cosy place to relax, make it your own, and keep those costs low.

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