Uni tips | How to decorate a student room

This was one of the things I searched the most when I was accepted into Uni. I thought, how on earth am I going to make a little room, in a uni halls, my home? I went for the usual: fairy lights, pillows, nice duvet cover etc. But there are some other things that really helped me feel like my room was my own.

Pictures of my family

When you feel homesick (most people do at some point), having some nice pictures of you with your family and friends, or just of your parents or some pics from GCSEs, can make you feel less alone. I had a picture of my boyfriend and me on my bedside table and a picture of me with my parents sat at my desk. On my pinboard, I had pictures of me and friends, my uni friends that I’d printed out, my nieces, tickets from gigs I’d gone to and motivational quotes or Buddhist quotes (I’m a Buddhist, just to explain this a bit).

Cuddly toys

Don’t be embarrassed by taking a few soft toys, it doesn’t mean you’re a child, it just means you’ve got memories of your childhood. Don’t take the precious toy you’ve had and carried since you were a few months old, because you might get in after a night out and throw up on your bed covers and have to put the delicate 18 year old toy in the wash (not a good idea). Instead, take something that will look cute on the bed, that can be cuddled when you’ve got the flu and something that’s quite resilient. I had a Stitch toy my boyfriend gave me for Christmas a few years ago, and the ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ dragon (named Aurora) that my boyfriend had sent to me during my first month of uni. You might be an adult now, but don’t underestimate the comfort of having a toy to snuggle when you’re sad.


Primark is my FAVOURITE place for homeware, I have two gorgeous pillows from there which adorn my bed with some colour and style. I recently popped into IKEA (that’s a lie, I spent a few hours in there) and found some cushions that had been reduced from £10 down to £2.50 each!! I bought two obviously. Keep an eye out for a deal, because for some reason pillows can be really expensive.

Fairy lights

Battery pack for halls, plug in for private houses – I got these gorgeous copper ones from Amazon, they’re a thin wire so they stay up well and I taped them around the edge of my ceiling (very instagrammable). Masking tape is really good because it doesn’t ruin the wall and you can replace it easily. One of my housemates, Charlotte, has glow in the dark stars and some planets that look so cute on her wall when the lights are turned off.

A piece of art or a print that makes you feel happy


Marisa Peer, the renowned therapist, has written about displaying confident declarations in your environment to boost your life state. For example, ‘I am enough’ is on the front of my phone lock screen*. This print, from Emily Rollings, does this with the bold but classic lettering. The gold, hand pressed foil, is so on trend right now it would fit in with all homeware styles on the high street. I found that over the past two years at university, my courage and bravery to do new things has increased (along with my overdraft and dress size)! Moving out, studying more complicated things, making new friends and leaving the safety of home, all requires courage, so I think this print is so perfect for any new or current student.

*[You can get a 30% discount and free shipping on this print from www.EmilyRollings.com with my discount codes: GOLLYMISSMOLLY + GOLLYMISSSMOLLYSHIPPING]*

I’ve had an aloe vera and a cactus plant in my room for the last two years and they are so easy to look after I can’t believe I haven’t killed them yet. It is quite satisfying to know you can keep something alive too! They look lovely and make my room feel homely.


They look gorgeous on that new IKEA duvet cover, keep you warm when your student house heating gives up at the start of December and can be used as a blanket burrito when you’re nursing a hangover from hell. A must have in every bedroom, I remember in first year my housemates and I would sit on the sofa and watch movies with the projecter we’d bought all wrapped up in our blankets during the winter, it was much easier than bringing your duvet down two flights of stairs and it’s easier to wash. Mine is actually from The White Company (it was from an outlet store, I’m not minted), but I do have a beautiful patterned one I bought from Primark that was about £12.

Magazines in my magazine rack

I bought these gorgeous copper baskets when I needed something to store my eyeshadow palettes in, but decided to get a bigger one for my huge Cosmopolitan collection (I hoard magazines). I also found that having magazines is a good way to invite potential friends over. Sometimes my friends and I sit on the sofa, or on my bed, and flick through old Cosmos, always rediscovering something. They are also good for painting your nails on too (does anyone else do that?).


Halls tend to have enough lighting, but if you’re like me and you like to read (Cosmo) before bed without having the glaring ceiling lamp on, then I recommend buying a little bed side table lamp from somewhere cheap. I bought mine from Wilko (This is a newer version of mine, it is only £9!), it’s really pretty and it has lasted me all three years. Wilko also does cheap bulbs.

Things to avoid:

  • Candles – most landlords don’t like candles because of insurance, and most uni halls have extremely sensitive fire alarms. Use fairy lights instead.
  • Reed diffusers – they might smell and look nice and instagrammy, but they tip over easily in a bedroom and aren’t worth the money. Instead get a nice room spray, Febreze ones are normally on offer and last a lot longer. (I definitely would recommend getting something like a room spray, to mask the smell of hangover after Freshers).
  • Don’t bother buying a door stop for halls, most rooms have fire doors which means normal doorstops are useless. I used a 16 can fridge pack of diet coke, then a crate of beers. It worked just as well and meant I kept my drinks in my room which was surprisingly handy.

Is there anything else you’d add to this list? If you’re off to Uni next month, where are you going and what are you studying?

Thank you for reading!


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