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Making your new space feel like yours

Moving away to university is a very intense time, and among all of the amazing experiences there will be times that you feel homesick, actually sick, or just a bit flat and deflated. For me I have found that ensuring you have a space to call your own, where you feel comfortable, is one of the best ways of helping with this! Having gone through this experience twice at two difference universities, I have compiled a few tips that can really help you when you get to university to make your blank new room truly feel like yours.


Although this seems obvious, plants really do make your room feel more comfortable. If like me, you are hopeless at looking after yourself let alone a plant, Ikea sell amazingly cheap plastic plants that not even I can kill!


Having photos of memories with friends from school and of your family can help to ground you when you feel lonely or sad, and as the year goes on you can add to these with photos of your new friends and memories from university.


The carpets of halls are designed to be hardwearing and hence are not so comfortable. Getting a small rug for your room is a nice way to show your feet some love. Once again Ikea sell these very cheaply including a beautiful vegan sheepskin that I used in my halls room – or if your feeling fancier, a Persian style rug for only twenty pounds!

Kettle/coffee maker

This one may sound a bit extra, but I am. Having a kettle or a little coffee machine can give a really nice homely touch and when you are feeling under the weather or hungover it’s nice to not even have to leave your room.

Lampshades and desk lamps

Once again a little unusual but makes such a difference, the provided lampshades and desktops are often not very stylish, choosing your own is a way to make your room feel more personal.


A long mirror is often lacking in university accommodations, but these are necessary for checking your outfits, and also provide the feeling of a larger room.

Reed diffusers

Normally candles are not permitted in student accommodation due to the fire risk. However, a reed diffuser is a great way to get around this. Often after being empty for a while before you move in, rooms can smell a bit stale, so I always choose a scent I enjoy to counteract this, and make the space smell like mine. If there is a particular scent you use at home, this can be a great way to make the space feel more familiar from the get go.

Bedside table

These are not provided by halls of residence usually, yet I cannot be without one, essential for your cup of tea and any other bits.

Soft furnishings

Pillows and throws may seem unnecessary, however they are an easy way of putting more personality into a room whilst also providing comfort. If you can, sew your own for extra individuality! If not H&M have some great affordable options. A life hack for bedding is to get a double duvet, even if you only have a single bed, this gives you so much more comfort and means if you move into a house in second year with a double bed in your room, you won’t need to purchase a larger duvet!

You can see many of these tips in action from the photo which is of my room in my second year house, the majority of the decorations were brought across from my room in halls. I hope that these tips have in some way inspired you, and will help you to make your room feel less alien. However, it is important to remember it’s completely normal for it to feel strange at first but this will fade with time.

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Preparing for universityTop tipsUniversity halls

Max Jennings • 30th January 2019

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