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Student Accommodation

16 cheap ways to decorate a bedroom

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Want a haven to come back to without it costing the world? There are loads of ways to decorate your uni room cheaply. Read on for some top tips to improve your room's decor on a budget.

Bedroom with friends

Credit: Yuliya Yesina, Monkey Business Images, Olinda – Shutterstock

Now that you've chosen where to live at university, it's time to think about room decoration. Whether you're moving to uni as a fresher, or you've got a new house as a returning student, decorating your own space and making it feel like home is so important.

While this might sound expensive, we've found the best ways to decorate on a budget. Yes, you can have a nice room and money in the bank!

From bedding to lamps and decorations, we've put together a guide so you can get the most out of your university-living experience.

Find out how to make friends at university before you arrive and during freshers' week.

How to decorate your room at uni

Here are the best ideas to decorate your rented room at uni, cheaply:

  1. Get pretty bedding

    colourful bedding

    Credit: All About Space – Shutterstock

    Cost: around £15 – £25 (depending on the shop/deals)

    When you move into your new university room, bring some homely essentials with you to brighten up the room and add your own personal touch. Stylish bedding is a great start.

    Having lovely bedding is probably the easiest way to introduce colour and interesting patterns to your new room. You'll immediately make it feel more like home, without having to spend much money.

    Depending on what you're looking for, you can get cheerful bedding from Dunelm. It's also worth looking at the Urban Outfitters sale in case there are any good discounts on duvet covers, pillowcases, cushions and more.

  2. Invest in a blanket

    Cost: around £5 – £20

    Dress your bed with a blanket or throw if you're feeling fancy. These not only make you look like you have your life (and room) together, but they'll serve well in the winter when it gets a little chilly. They're also very cosy, making them ideal for when you're feeling homesick.

    You can find cheap homeware in shops like Primark and IKEA.

  3. Get storage boxes and separators

    storage boxes under bed and on wardrobe

    Cost: around £3 – £7

    If you have a small room in university halls (or in your student house), make the most of your space by using storage solutions.

    You can get boxes from Amazon (similar styles available from IKEA) that are brilliant for the top or inside of your wardrobe, or wherever else you have space.

    You may find that you also have some space under your bed to store stuff. Storage boxes and bags that fit under your bed will make it easy for you to access your favourite items, without your room getting too cluttered.

    Another option is IKEA drawer separators. They help you to make the most of your drawer space, no matter how big or small.

  4. Buy lamps for extra light

    Cost: around £6 – £20

    A lamp is a great essential to show off your taste. From experience, we'd say it's best to get one to start with, but some rooms may have space for two (lucky!).

    Lamps are great for giving off a softer, more relaxing glow than ceiling lights, which can sometimes emit a harsher light. Perfect for your relaxing haven.

    Dunelm has some good options available for a range of prices.

  5. Get stick-on blinds for rooms that are too light

    window with stick on blinds

    Cost: around £4 – £5

    If you get too much light in your room and find it hard to sleep, look into getting blackout blinds. In particular, you might want to try the blinds from Amazon or IKEA that stick onto the window frame.

    You might also be able to find stick-on blinds in IKEA, too.

    With stick-on blinds, you should be able to take them down at the end of your tenancy without leaving any marks, making them perfect for renters. And they're especially good if your landlord has installed curtains that look and feel as though they've been crafted from tissue paper.

  6. Add fairy lights

    Cost: around £3 – £15

    Fairy lights are a great way to liven up a bare-walled, unfriendly house without overdoing it. Plus, fairy light curtains look amazing over windows.

    It can feel impossible to decorate your student room walls due to the rules in your tenancy agreement. But, we used the Command Decorating Clips to attach lights to our walls and had no issues removing them.

  7. Use decorative vines/string for photos

    plastic vines on wall

    Cost: around £8 – £10

    Got a couple of clips left from tip six? You could use the rest to attach decorative vines or string (for photos) to your walls.

    Vines are a great way to add a pop of colour and personality to a room without turning it into an actual jungle!

  8. Hang photos and prints

    Cost: around £2.50 – £13

    Pictures of your family and friends will comfort you when you're having a down day and missing them a bunch.

    Try attaching your photos to some string to display them with a homely touch.

    And, if you're a fan of frames but are worried about leaving holes in the walls, these Command Picture Hanging Strips have got your back.

    Alternatively, you could rest the framed photos on top of your desk.

    If you're feeling fancy, you could print out the photos via Cheerz for Polaroid-style pics. However, it is possible to print photos for free (just paying for postage) via sites like Snapfish.  We go through more options in our guide to free photo printing services.

    Also, at the time of writing, you can buy photo frames for as little as £1 from Dunelm.

  9. Find a memo board

    memo board with leaflets attached

    Cost: around £6 – £25

    A memo board is another great way to display pictures, notes, plans and even fairy lights. And, like most other things, it can be hung with Command Decorating Clips or Command Medium Hooks for a damage-free look.

    Whiteboards are also very useful for jotting down your to-do list, deadline reminders and shopping lists.

    You could try looking on Amazon and Argos for noticeboards and whiteboards.

    If you struggle to keep up with plans, check out how to be more organised.
  10. Buy a wall tapestry

    Cost: around £10 – £20

    Wall tapestries can be relatively inexpensive, but will add a burst of colour to your room. And, again, you can use decorating clips to hang them up.

    There are loads of different colours, styles and materials to choose from.

  11. Use Washi Tapes

    washi tape decorating wall skyline

    Credit: – Shutterstock

    Cost: around £5 – £10

    Keen to get really creative with your room decoration? Try using patterned Washi Tapes to decorate your walls. It's basically glorified masking tape and, again, should let you personalise your room without losing your deposit.

    There are some good options in Typo, but they can be found pretty much anywhere with a home decor section.

  12. Add wall decals

    Cost: around £9 – £15

    Wall decals are an ideal way to make your new room look luxurious, without having to spend much money.

    If you're not up for making your own design with washi tapes, wall decals are a super easy and damage-free way to snazz up walls, furniture and dull doors. You can make a pattern with them or just dot them around in places you think could do with an extra bit of love.

    If you haven't already, find out if you need student contents insurance.
  13. Hang a mirror

    woman looking in mirror

    Credit: Odua Images – Shutterstock

    Cost: around £15 – £40

    So you've arrived at uni and there's no mirror to be found? We feel your pain.

    IKEA and Argos both have a big range of mirrors, and you might also be able to find low-cost ones in charity shops.

    If you're not allowed to hang things up in your room, look out for mirrors that have stands, or that can lean against the wall.

  14. Get plants

    Cost: around £10 – £30

    Why not adopt a houseplant? If you're not the best at remembering to water plants, consider cacti and succulents as they're relatively easy to look after.

    There are some lovely plants for sale at Patch Plants and Bloom & Wild.

    You can also spring a little life into your room with fake plants. If you're not ready to become a plant parent, they'll look vibrant all year round, require zero care and can often look pretty realistic.

  15. Add small decorations

    Cost: around £5 – £15

    Reed diffusers can make a room look and smell very put together.

    And there are loads of other decorations you can add to your room, like vases and scratch maps.

    Have a look in the home section of TK Maxx for more budget-friendly decorations.

  16. Get desk storage

    Cost: around £5 – £15

    Your desk will also need some form of organisation, but it doesn't need to be fancy! A good magazine rack will be useful for storing papers, and it might also help to get a pen pot.

    Depending on your room and what you've been provided with, you may need a desk tray to hold your books, notes and other stationery. It'll save you time searching for notes when it comes to last-minute revision.

Now that you're a pro at interior design, find out the top things to do when you start university.

Lauren Nash

WRITTEN BY Lauren Nash

Lauren is a deals and discounts expert, and the Digital Marketing Manager at Save the Student. She is passionate about saving money and has appeared on Channel 5 documentaries sharing her money-saving tips. Lauren's work is centred around securing the best exclusive deals for Save the Student and working with great student brands.
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