How to make your student digs feel like home 3

With the next academic year just around the corner many of you will be getting excited about starting uni and preparing to be fresher! Our next guest blogger, Debbie Nel has written her top tips for brightening up your university room on a budget and without getting in trouble from landlords and their strict rules (so you’re sure to get your deposit back!). Having a room that feels like home is important in your first year and can make a positive difference to your wellbeing, especially if you’ve never lived away from your parents or hometown before . Thanks for the advice Debbie!

Student room feels like home

Image by Sangita

So, you are about to start your university journey, and you are incredibly excited. However, you arrive at your living quarters and they aren’t quite what you expected them to be.

Your room is so bland that it feels more like a cell at a reformatory than it does your home for the next three to four years. Your heart sinks to your feet, and for a second, you consider living out of your car. Don’t despair, the situation is not as dire as it seems. You might not be allowed to paint or do any other structural adjustments to your temporary home space, but that does not mean you can’t easily rev it up a bit by making a few tiny (non permanent) changes.

Since your actual living space is quite small (in most cases), your changes will have to be small in naroom-567735_1920ture as well. Needless to say there won’t be much space for extra furnishings, however, I do recommend you save up some money to purchase a cheap flat screen television that can be hung from the wall (if you don’t already have one). Emphasis being on the word cheap as it’s important to remember you’re now at university and anything can happen (such as an intoxicated student throwing beer all over it, for example!). Extra word of caution, make sure you get permission from the necessary people/authorities before making any holes in the wall to hang the television bracket.

Outside of adding your own TV, below is my list of five small changes guaranteed to liven up your living quarters (and make it feel a bit more like home):

Add a notice board: Make or buy a small easel on which to place a notice board. Paint the easel and notice board in your favourite colour or the same colour as your bedroom walls at home (if you like that colour). Then, pin photographs of your friends, family and pets back home on it, remembering to leave enough space for actual uni notes. The great thing about a notice board placed on an easel is that it doesn’t take up much space since it can be positioned quite closely against the wall.

potted-plant-student accommodationBring a plant: If you are frugal, dig up a plant from your parents’ garden, replant it in a nice colourful pot and place it in your uni abode/room. If you’re prepared to spend a little money, go out and buy the prettiest plant you can find. If the plant is the flowering kind, this is even better as it adds more warmth to the room. Never underestimate the power of plants to liven up spaces. So much so that when I did business studies many moons ago, one of the first things I was taught regarding “how to add appeal to spaces” was the effective use of plants.

Grab your favourite duvet/blanket: Don’t go out and buy new bedding for your student accommodation bed since your old favourite duvet/blanket will help to set the mood/feeling of “home” in your psyche. Even if your bed at home is double and your one at university is a single, you can always tuck the ends inwards. Don’t use bed size as an excuse to buy new bedding, as the comfort your old bedding will provide is invaluable.

Hang your own curtains: If your room has curtain rails/rods then I suggest you do the same as with the bedding –  bring and hang your curtains from your bedroom at home. This act pretty much serves the same purpose as the bedding, with the added benefit of making your room “match” more and seem a lot cosier. The only problem with this is, if you share a room with someone else, you might have to convince them to allow you to use your curtains. A great way of getting your roommate to give in to your request is to tell them that you will solely be responsible for washing the curtains once a month (as this would mean less work for them).

student-room-200-x-300Roll out a rug: Since the chances are good that your floors are tiled or made up of linoleum (or cheap, stained wall to wall carpeting), a rug is a good way of masking all the visual underfoot yucky. Just bring your bedroom rug from home or buy a rug that fits the colour scheme of your curtains and bedding and you’re good to go!

The above five tips should make the world of difference in your student accommodation living space. Why not take a few before and after photographs for comparison purposes? This way you’ll have proof as well as a reminder of the vast changes.

Should your room still look a bit bland for your liking, try hanging a few posters on the walls using white paper like medical tape, as this shouldn’t damage the walls and you’ll only need to wet the tape to remove it. If you would like to add one final little personal touch, you could place a small favourite toy from your childhood (such as a toy car or your favourite little teddy bear) somewhere in your room to serve as both a little decorative ornament and home reminder.

That’s all from me for now. Have fun decorating your space and good luck at university!



Debbie Vermaak Nel aka Debbie Nel/DebNelV/BeingMe is a 35 year old writer and published poet from South Africa who has held numerous accolades for English and writing over the years. She studied in various fields including business and education. Recently she has embarked on the journey of blogging and stock photography. Her most popular blog to date is which deals with the frustrations of being a student.



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3 thoughts on “How to make your student digs feel like home

  • Andrew Webster

    Once again, good writing Debbie. I like the British twist! Thanks for sharing this on Google Plus. A good read I am definitely going to recommend to my younger fellow students. Keep writing Debs and we will keep following you. Andy.

  • Daniel Bester

    OMG! Its Debbie Nel!!! Love all your blogs girl! I’m also going to forward this link to my fellow students (the younger ones who actually live in dorms lol).