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Student life: creating a practical interior decor on a budget

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University life is an exciting adventure entered into by most students with trepidation and a degree of anxiety. One of the main causes of concern of new students is accommodation; finding somewhere to live if the university’s student accommodation is unavailable can be problematic.

Student accommodation

Many freshers spend their first year living in close proximity to other students in the university’s student accommodation. This can bring problems. Common experiences reported by students living in student residences include excessive noise from neighbours and the surroundings, conflict with roommates and a sometimes crowded, busy environment. However, there are benefits to living in student accommodation. Dormitory blocks are always full of people and are an excellent place to establish a social life. They are usually on or close to your campus and usually a short walk or bus ride from a city centre. Lastly, they serve as a melting pot of interests, so it is very easy to find help or guidance in a wide range of pastimes.

Once accommodation has been found and the settling in period is over most students start to personalise their living accommodation. Funds are often limited of course but it is possible to improve your living spaces without breaking the bank. Read on to find out how you can spruce up your abode without breaking the bank.

It is important to be able to express and make things your own. In student residencies, you are slightly limited because they are not permanent residencies and certain actions are firmly prohibited or require official approval. It is always a good idea to consult the university authorities or your private property owner before making changes because it can prevent you breaking any rules or having to pay fees for damage. Students usually have a tight budget so decorating and furnishing might have to be limited in nature. Below, you can find a list of ways to design your living areas and save money.

Funky lighting

Replace your basic pendant light bulb with some table lamps – these can be picked up cheaply. A lot of reading will hopefully be done, so ensure that whatever lighting you use will be adequate to avoid eyestrain.

Plants and flowers

Incorporating fresh flora is an excellent (and cheap) way to accessorize a simple space. There are tons of options to consider, from colourful flowers to table and pot plants. Who knows? It could even reveal the green thumbs you didn’t know you had!

Window shutters

In addition to being a more modern option than curtains, window shutters can be a healthier choice. Although they are classic window dressings, curtains are often susceptible to mould formation, which is less likely on window shutters. Some types of mould can create a health and safety hazard for residents throughout a complex. If you find that you are in a poorly ventilated property that may have a common mould issue, consult your property owner about the problem. Mould is most likely to appear in heavily used bathrooms where the window cannot be left open due to security concerns. A dehumidifier could be the answer but there would be associated running costs. There are many styles of window shutters that can be found both online and local retailers.

Temporary/removable wallpaper

In a student accommodation, you won’t be able to paint the wall unless your landlord approves – and that could be under the condition that you revert it to its original colour before you vacate the premises. Removable wallpaper is an excellent solution because it is exactly that. You can apply it with a simple glue-like base and remove it at any time. It would still be a good idea to consult your property owner, but this is certainly an accessory that’ll be hard to deny!

Colour pops

A little colour never hurt anyone! You can add some extra colour to a simple decor with a variety of accessories, including furniture covers. Most student accommodation is already furnished and if you don’t like the basic set, furniture covers will give you an opportunity to make them your own. Pillows and beanbags are a good and inexpensive way to incorporate colour into a room and maximize comfort for any guests.

After consulting your landlord, you will be aware of your limitations and be more prepared to make the most out of your situation. Whether your accommodation is a rented room, apartment, or shared house it is very easy to make it your own. So, head to the DIY store and second-hand shops and start spending – responsibly, of course!

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The Yorker
The Yorker is York's best outlet for student journalism independent of the University of York Student Union and the largest student-run business in the city. For editorial queries please contact the Editor at editor@theyorker.co.uk.