Items to Spruce up Your Student Pad | The Student Pocket Guide
by Rhiannon Davies

Despite the fact that we spend up to three years living there, student houses can lack a homely feel. We often don’t want to invest money on a place we won’t be living in for long, which makes sense. But what if you could learn to love your space, organise your bedroom and make your university halls stylish without burning a hole in your pocket? We show you how with these cheap and easy tricks to style your student room…


It’s wise to invest in matching bedding as it’s going to be the focal point of your room, and you’re likely to keep it until you graduate. You can pretty much guarantee that your bedroom will be painted in neutral colours, which leaves you open to choose whatever colour scheme you want. If you can, invest in colourful matching throws for your chair (when the heating’s broken and it’s mid-January, you’ll be thanking me).

Candles and incense

They say the best way to sell a house is to bake bread for when the buyers arrive. Why? Because it smell good and adds a homely feel. Smells can really influence how cosy your house feels, and scented candles can do just the job. If your halls doesn’t allow them, incense can be a great alternative (just make sure you put it on something non-flammable to catch the ash, and put it next to a window or keep your door closed as your enthusiasm for scented air may not be shared with your flatmates).


Perfect for the classic Cath Kidston room, bunting is the perfect finishing touch for a window frame. And if you’re a dab-hand at sewing, you can make your own from hand-picked fabrics at charity shops or thrift stores making it even more personal (and about a quarter of the cost).


Everyone knows students are notorious for covering their walls in posters. Sure, you can do that, but if you want to get creative (and save yourself a tenner) why not make your own collage? Use old photos, magazines, inspirational quotes, whatever works for you, and make a piece of your own art.

A corkboard

Nothing can upset the feel of a room more than untidiness. A desk covered in papers looks awful, and it doesn’t bode well for your deadlines. Invest in a corkboard where you can stow important pieces of information. If there’s space, adding pictures can be a really nice finishing touch.

Clothing rail

Now that your desk is organised, it’s time to sort out your clothes. Even the tidiest room can be turned upside-down searching for an item of clothing or creating the perfect outfit. Invest in a clothing rail or a hook where you can keep a clothes-hanger. Plan your outfits the night before, hang them up, and voilà, no more last-minute stresses, and you have a tidy, stylish room.

Plants and flowers

Flowers improve the appearance of any room, and can often be found in the reduced section in the supermarket. Grab yourself a bouquet for 70p, and to make them last longer, cut a tiny bit off the bottom and add some sugar to the water. Alternatively, buying a low-maintenance plant such as a cactus can be a great addition to the room (keep this up high on your bookshelf or out of the way so there’s no danger of impaling yourself on this in a drunken stupor). Another plant that can be a lovely addition to a bedroom is a peace lily, which will do wonders for improving the air quality and the general vibe of the room.

Vintage book planter

Here’s one for the DIY lovers, gardeners, and most likely, English students. If you can bear to part with a novel from last year, cut a square hole into it, line it with plastic, add soil, and add a plant. There you have a vintage book planter: decorative, easy, and cheap.

We’d love to hear how you’ve decorated your student room, share your tips below!

Rhiannon is a student studying at Royal Holloway, University of London. When she’s not Feng shui-ing her bedroom, she’s indulging in writing for the GKBC Academy.