Decorating on a Student Budget

Don't let being a student stop you from making your space your own. Whether you're moving into student accommodation for the first time, or fancy refreshing your university room, check out these handy tips on how to decorate on a student budget.

A woman hanging a photo on her wall, surrounded by a lamp, a few plants, and a book case with some books on.
(Image credit: getty images)

Whether you’re getting ready to move out of your family home and into your new student accommodation, or you simply feel like changing things up on your student budget, we have a few tips and tricks to help you make your room feel a little more you. From soft furnishings and a bit of nature, all of our handy suggestions are budget-friendly, and won’t take a chunk out of your deposit!  

Add Some Plants

Two green indoor plants in a window sill.

(Image credit: getty images)

Plants can be a real lifesaver on those rainy days when you’re stuck inside studying. Adding a bit of greenery around your room is a great way to spruce things up and bring a little of the outdoors inside. What’s more, plants clear the air, add a pop of colour, and help make your space feel fresh.  

Real Plants

A woman watering several plants with a white watering can.

(Image credit: getty images)

If you’re a trustworthy plant parent, why not freshen up your room with real plants? There are tons of plants that are low maintenance and affordable too, such as succulents and cacti. At B&Q, they have a pack of three succulents for just £6. These are a great option if you’re new to looking after plants and won’t take up too much space on your shelves. Alternatively, if you’ve got a bit more experience in looking after plants, B&Q also have a pack of six foliage plants for just £4. These are a nice option if you’d like several plants around your room, and maybe even some in your bathroom.  

Fake Plants

An artificial plant on a table.

(Image credit: getty images)

If you’ve got a history of murdering your plants, we know it probably won’t make you feel good if you’ve got several dead plants staring at you. Luckily for you, we’ve found some fantastic fake plants for alternatives! At Ikea, they have a wide range of fake plants that look very convincing and are at great prices too. They’ve got a pack of three artificial succulent plants for £3.50 which would look great on your shelves or your windowsill. Another lovely option is their pack of three hanging plants, which cost £4. These are ideal if you want something a little extra in your room, and would look lovely up on higher shelves so the hanging leaves can trail down.  

Add Colour With Plant Pots

Several colourful plant pots stacked on top of each other.

(Image credit: getty images)

Another little way you can help make your room feel more like your own is with decorative plant pots. Whether you love all things white for that minimalist and modern feel, or you simply can’t get enough of colour, they’re a great little accessory for you to have. For all of you white lovers, check out Ikea’s Muskot plant pot for only £2. If you want to make more of a statement, then be sure to look at Ikea’s Gradvis plant pot in black for £5 or the Daidai pot in gold for £1.50. Finally, if you love a bold pop of colour, you’ll love their Vinterfint plant pot in red and just for £2! 

Brighten Your Space With Lighting

Several types of decorative indoor lighting.

(Image credit: getty images)

Make your space feel like home with some LED lights that are sure to make you feel cosy in the evenings. Not only do they look super pretty, but they’re a great way to set the mood for your space. Whether you’re getting ready with your friends for a night out, winding down with some berry tea and a good book, or pulling an all-nighter, they’re a fantastic and affordable way to make your space feel more you. 

Fairy Lights

Fairy lights against a wall.

(Image credit: getty images)

Whether you want to wind them around your headboard, trail them along a shelf, or dangle them like bunting, fairy lights are sure to make your room look great. Just make sure you get battery-powered ones because a lot of student accommodations have strict rules regarding plug-in fairy lights. An affordable option is the eBuzz Battery Operated Micro Fairy Lights in Warm White from Amazon, which cost only £1.99. If you’d like something with a little extra something, you can get Ivy LED String Lights from George, Asda, for £5 to add a little bit of nature into the room. 

Fake Tea Lights

Several tea lights lit.

(Image credit: getty images)

For you candle-lovers out there, we know that in student accommodations, anything with an open flame is a serious no-go. Fear not, because we’ve got you covered. At Amazon, they have a pack of 24 Virosa Realistic Battery Operated Flickering Flameless Tea Light Candles, for just £5.99. These are a fantastic way to help you wind down after a long day of studying, without the risk of an open flame. If pillar candles are more your vibe, then be sure to check out the Cream Waved LED candle from Dunelm, which you can get for £2. 

Accessorise With Wall Decor

Two white shelves with little decorative pieces on.

(Image credit: getty images)

One simple way to inject a bit of personality into your room is with wall decor. But here, we know that prints and frames can be expensive, difficult to get right, and frustrating to hang. That’s why we’ve come up with a few handy ideas to help you fill the space on your walls, without having to break the bank. 

Create Pin Boards

A corkboard with polaroids and fairy lights on.

(Image credit: getty images)

Most student accommodations tend to have pinboards already installed, but if yours doesn’t, this could be a great way to jazz things up. On Amazon, they have a Cork Notice Board for £4.39, that you can get delivered straight to your door and hang up in your room. Pinboards are super handy for several reasons: if you’ve got any postcards, posters, polaroids, or small pieces of art that make your heart happy, you can use them to make a display. What’s more, if you’ve got anything important that you need to remember, like exam dates or upcoming deadlines, pinboards are also useful for keeping that all together. 

Add Mirrors

A lady putting on makeup in the mirror.

(Image credit: getty images)

Mirrors can be a great item to have in your student accommodation. Not only is it super handy for checking how you look before you head out and taking mirror selfies with your friends, but it’s a decorative piece too. Hanging floor-length mirrors can help make your room feel more open and spacious which is especially useful if your uni room is a little smaller than your space at home. For a full-length option, Dunelm has an Essentials Full Length Mirror in white, for just £12. Alternatively, for something more decorative, check out Ikea’s Pack of 4 Blodlönn mirrors which costs £7 or the Blåser mirror for £5 which is super fun. 

Hang Tapestries

A mandala tapestry.

(Image credit: getty images)

A quick, easy, and affordable way to decorate is with a tapestry. Not only are they large, meaning you’ll only have to buy one to cover your whole wall, but they’re super easy to put up using some handy command strips. If you prefer keeping things more monochrome for that classy look, then the Wovte Sun and Moon Tapestry from Amazon is a great option and only costs £8.98. However, if you want something with a little more colour, then be sure to check out the Dremisland Sunset Wall Tapestry on Amazon for £10.99. This one is also a great way to help bring the outdoors into your room to help prevent your room from feeling stuffy if you can’t get outside. 

Wall-hangings

A boho fabric wall hanging against a white brick wall.

(Image credit: getty images)

If you’re looking for something more subtle or on a smaller scale, then wall hangings might be the thing for you. At Shein, they have a beautiful Boho Wood Bead Hanging Photo Frame Clip for just £4.25. Not only does this look chic and modern, but it’s a lovely way to inject a bit of personality into your room with some of your own photos. Whether it’s photos of you and your family, your treasured pets, or simply aesthetic images that make your heart happy, it’s a great and simple way to decorate. 

Use Command Strips

A young women hanging a photo on her wall.

(Image credit: getty images)

Now, we know that you’re not going to be able to just pick up a hammer and stick a nail into your wall - so how are you going to hang all of these wall decorations? Two words: command strips. These are a lifesaver and are a fantastic essential for any student who wants to jazz up their space. There are an impressive variety of command products available for you to choose from, including Heavyweight Picture Hanging Strips, Adjustable Repositionable Poster Strips, and a handy General Purpose Variety Kit. Just please make sure that, whatever you are hanging, you check that its weight can be supported by Command Strips first. 

Add Soft Furnishings

A sofa with a fluffy blanket on and a coffee table with knitted fabric, a mug of tea and a candle.

(Image credit: getty images)

There’s nothing quite like adding soft furnishings for the finishing touches to any room. Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean you should miss out. There are a variety of simple ways that you can really brighten up your space without having to splash your cash or crack open a tin of paint. 

Go Bold With Bedding

Yellow and white bedding with a cafetiere. cup of tea and a c

(Image credit: getty images)

Beds can often become the centrepiece of your bedroom, especially if your room is on the smaller side. So, why not make it look super inviting with funky bedding that will make it extra cosy too? For a more classy and girly look, check out the Scallop Print Pink Bedding from Habitat, for £5.00. If you prefer the more cute and simple look, then the Monochrome Spots White & Black Bedding from Habitat is a nice option for £10. 

Accessorise With Cushion Covers

Three cushions on top of each other, one orange, one mustard, and one cream and blue striped.

(Image credit: getty images)

Now you’ve got your funky bedding, why not pair it with some fun cushion covers? If you don’t already have some cushion inserts, you can find an affordable Pack of 4 Cushion Inserts for £9.99 from Amazon. If your bedding is one colour, then pair it with a pattern cushion like the Floral Print Cushion Cover from Shein which is as little as £1. But if you’re going for more of a statement, you might like the Moon Sun Decorative Pillowcase from Shein for £1.50, which would match nicely with the Sun and Moon tapestry mentioned above. Alternatively, at Ikea, you’ll be able to find cushions that include the cushion insert such as the Kärleksgräs Cushion for £3 which is available in several colours, or the Turill Cushion for £1.50. 

Add Texture With Rugs

A person sat on a fluffy rug with their dog, laptop, and a coffee.

(Image credit: getty images)

You simply can’t beat the feeling of a cosy rug beneath your feet. No matter how small, a rug is always a great way to add texture and dimension to your space. If your room already has quite a bit of colour, go simple yet classy with the Minimalist Polyester Fluffy White Rug from Shein, for £4.25. Or, if you want neutral tones but a bit of pattern, then check out the Shein Tassel Geometric Decor Woven Rug, priced at £7.50. Alternatively, if your style is more maximalist or boho, you might like the Geometric and Paisley Print Anti-Slip Rug from Shein, which costs £3.50. 

Stay Tidy With Desk Organisation

A desk set up with a laptop, stationery, a calendar, and an ornament with pampas grass.

(Image credit: getty images)

Let’s be honest, a big part of life at university is trying to stay desperately organised, and you know what they say - a tidy space equals a tidy mind 

Stationery Organiser

A white stationery organiser with several compartments filled with different stationery.

(Image credit: getty images)

At Shein, they have a Multifunction Stationery Storage Box for just £4.50 which is ideal for all of your favourite pens, highlighters, flashcards, and more. If you prefer the more industrial feel, check out the Curved Mesh Desktop Organiser from Paperstone for £7.99. Alternatively, if your budget can stretch that little bit further, on Amazon, you’ll be able to find the BTSKY Office Multi-Functional Leather Organiser in white, for £9.99, which is not only super handy but looks luxurious too.  

Enhance Space With Ornaments

A decorative shelf with lots of neutral ornaments on.

(Image credit: getty images)

Who said desks have to be plain and boring? Why not give your work area a bit of a revamp with an ornament or two? If you love the aesthetic of ancient Greece, then don’t miss out on this Pack of 5 Sculpture Shaped Decorations for just £5.75 from Shein. These would look great dotted around your room. For lovers of neutrals and texture, check out the 3 Pack of Mini Stoneware Vases from H&M for £12.99. Alternatively, if you’ve got a strict budget, or you love to repurpose items, why not check out your local charity shops or online platforms like Facebook Marketplace for second-hand steals? Just make sure the listing is trustworthy and legitimate before you go ahead and purchase from any sellers. 

Layla Al-Ani
Home & Garden Writer

I’m Layla, the home and garden editor, and I started working at MyVoucherCodes in November 2022. I have always loved to write, especially after getting my degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, and since getting my own place, I’ve gotten stuck into all things home and garden.

When I’m not writing about saving money on homely purchases, I’m either sitting with my head in a new book, painting a piece of art for my walls, or binge-watching an interior design programme on Netflix. I love to get inspiration and transform my space, usually with the help of a few Pinterest boards and a couple of tins of paint.