Skip to content

By Elsie King, Second Year, English and Film

Elsie advises on how to make your home-away-from-home a stylish safe haven during university.

Once again hundreds of Bristol Freshers will have, with high hopes, stuffed their belongings into their parent's undersized car and made the nerve-wracking journey to their new home. Unfortunately, student halls are known to create less than ideal living conditions. For many students, this is why their bedroom is a sacred place of escape and relaxation. Particularly in halls, it is a place to lock the door on all social interactions and be at one with yourself. However, upon arrival many freshers will have found, at best, a soulless box; (hopefully mould-free) and with nothing but a bed and a tiny desk. Luckily, as we have been shown by numerous daytime renovation shows, a house is not always a home until you buy loads of tat to clutter it up. So, here’s some tips and tricks to create your own Amazing Spaces:

Ambiance on a budget:

To remove the unforgiving nature of the overhead light, I would recommend buying some extra lighting. Grabbing an extra lamp besides the one you're given allows you to create a soft setup, creating a sense of ambiance. You can pick up a lamp for about a fiver upwards at the furniture haven that is Ikea. I would recommend the Lampan lamp, its cheap, whilst the coloured design casts a warm glow over a room. You should also look out for warm-toned lightbulbs, known as a ‘soft white.’ This creates a less clinical feel as the light given off will be far less harsh. Another way to achieve this is of course fairylights, as the twinkling glow always make a room feel especially cozy.

A little life:

If you can't have pets, have plants. Add a little life to your room with a few succulents, which you’ll be able to find for sale at the market stalls in Clifton village, or in shops like Fancy Plants on Gloucester Road. If you find that plant care isn’t one of your many assets try something that takes quite a lot of effort to kill, for example a snake or spider plant.

Elsie's room in Manor Hall / Elsie King


Have a physical reminder of home with some photo prints to stick on your wall. It’s not only a clever way to fill wall space but will hopefully serve to remind you of your friends from home and past memories. I interspersed mine with posters and paintings to make it look more interesting. You can pick up some photos from free prints, you get free photos each month and only need to pay postage fees.

Show your artsy side:

To add a little colour and display some of your interests, consider getting some posters. The Last Bookshop on park street sells posters for just a fiver. That includes a range of designs such as old vogue covers, concert posters, movie covers and more. You can also pick up books for only three pounds whilst you're in there - an especially useful tip for any English students. As well as this, you can explore Redbubble to find bigger posters.

Elsie's posters / Elsie King

Make it Cozy:

To make your room feel more homely I would recommend getting a little rug for the floor, it keeps in warmth whilst really tying the room together. They come up all the time on Facebook market place for reasonable prices, the only downside being most things are collection only. Another way to add a cozy feel is blankets and pillows, Wilko sells a range of very soft blankets and pillows as well as Ikea.

However you decorate your room, the main thing is to keep it both personal and relevant to your interests and it will feel a lot more like home in no time.

How are you planning on decorating your room this year?

Featured image: Gahsoon, iStock