How To Make Your Uni Cell Liveable

It's that time of year when H&M's glorious homeware department is stocked to the gunnels, BHS is fully prepared and fit to burst, Ikea faces crowds comparable to the population of a small country, and all the other various places where you could possibly go to furnish your home prepare themselves for the annual influx that is: university students.
Yes I had succulents. Yes they all died. Luxuriously long holidays and difficultly transported dependents do not mix.

Yup, this past year has gone by so quickly that the 'halls decor' baton is already being passed on to this year's uni freshers, and as someone who was extremely enthusiastic about decorating my new abode, I thought I would offer what advice I can. Along with many pictures, obviously. All of which were taken by a somewhat nostalgic me before I had to strip the walls bare and live in it in all its impending-demolition glory for the final month, all in case of room inspections which never actually happened.

Bitterness at my short spell living in an un-decorated room of so-called 'Prison Block' aside, here are some photos that I can only hope may come in handy. This isn't a tutorial or a guide or anything remotely useful, other than perhaps some ideas and maybe a little bit of inspiration. Hopefully a lot of comfort as well, since I think I sort of proved that even a room as cold and unfriendly as this was can be transformed into something liveable and nice. I think.

Let's go. (As always, all photos are clickable so you can enlarge them to have a better look!)

I probably don't need to tell you that cushions are nice. You'll have read that everywhere that even slightly mentions decorating a new room and making it feel like home. So yeah, cushions.

Bunting is pretty generic and pretty popular (and pretty.. pretty), but this one is slightly different as it's actually Fairtrade and made from recycled saris. I also went for a rug from the same brand, again made from the offcuts of old saris, which added a lovely burst of colour to the room as well as covering up the less-than-beautiful carpet.

Maps may look cliché and overdone, but if you choose well then they can add just the right amount of colour without looking overly in-your-face or grabbing attention. Mine is from Paperchase, where you can also get a 10% student discount so is the ideal place if you want to stock up on stationery! I also vouched for a valiant attempt at keeping on top of my assignments and various things to do, with a sort of to do list type arrangement as can be seen in the photo. I wrote whatever it was I had to do on a post-it note, along with when it was due, and chucked it onto the relevant section.

Recommendation: attach the pieces of paper with something stronger than just their sticky side, because if they fall off  and you then don't realise you had to do whatever it was, lecturers will not be sympathetic to your cause. "It floated off my to do list." is not going to go down well.

Safe to say, some of these books were read more than others... I can wholeheartedly recommend every single one of the recipe books: A Girl Called Jack for intense budgeting, Nosh for Students for super quick and easy to follow recipes, Meal in a Mug for when you can't be bothered to wash up/are extremely impatient/are mangeing solo (sorry), and Eat Pretty for when you actually want to know about the food you're eating and what it does. Also featuring some choral scores. Oh, and the books about linguistics were pretty interesting too, of course..

Aaaand here we have the shelves that spent the year as a long-term understudy for a dressing table and the random patches of floor and edges of bookshelves where I like to keep these things at home. Housing everything from books and coursework to makeuppy presentable-fying tools, from an extensive collection of contact lenses to vast supplies of drinkable sugar and caffeine sources, I spent a significant portion of my year looking at/re-organising/finding things in/attempting to tidy these shelves. And not to forget the hefty canine doorstop whose efforts proved futile against the extraordinary and unprecedented weight of uni fire-safe doors, resulting in instead becoming a very heavy decoration/humongous bookend.          

I want to take this opportunity to draw your attention to the hook I attached to my wall. It is magical. I bought a bunch of these Command hooks and they were fab - you can stick them to any old thing and then when it comes to removing them at the end of the year, you just take them off in a certain way and they leave no trace whatsoever. Better still, the hooks are reusable! You just need to replace the sticky back. Buy them. Now.

Also, the other decorational saviours: blu-tack (or white-tack for wall cover preservation purposes), and nice push pins. Photos and other bits and pieces that can be somehow adhered to a vertical surface can all make your hovel into a home.
If, like me, en-suites are a foreign world to you, you may also want to consider some bathroomy storage so that your designated basin corner doesn't spill over into the entire rest of your room. I was a tad surprised on arrival at my room, to find that the basin area bore no resemblance to the photos online, and in fact there was pretty much zilcho storage or shelf space at all. Never fear! A last-minute charity shop browse before leaving home had blessed me with what turned out to be one of the most useful things I took to uni: a hangy up shelfy thing. (Yes, technical, thank you.)

Although at first it didn't look like it would fit into the convenient hooky thing jutting out of my wall (I'm just assuming it was meant to be like that..), Dad sort of tore it to pieces, attached it, and then re-assembled it: a task I had to master myself when packing everything up to leave (and I did succeed - turns out I'm very apt when it comes to breaking things, so when this is the goal then I'm fully qualified.)

Well, that's it. Hope this was even remotely helpful or interesting or just kind of nice to look at. Ciao for now and GOOD LUCK AT UNI/COLLEGE/JOB/GAP YEAR/SCHOOL/WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING!

P.S. I think it's now evident that my many-year architecture/interior design phase was always a pipe dream. Sniffle.

*All photos in this post are mine. If you wish to use any, please ask my permission and credit me!*


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