How to make your halls feel homey

9 mins read

Things can’t stay the same forever; we’d all get pretty bored if that was the case. I know that sounds like something corny an elderly relative would tell you, but it’s true.

Whenever a new, daunting experience presents itself to you, think back to the person you used to be. Then, focus on how much you have grown, and how events throughout your life have shaped you into the individual you are now. Try as hard as you can to keep an open mind and view change as a positive, natural part of life which you should accept and be at peace with. 

Starting University can be scary. You’re full of excitement, but at the same time, you can find yourself racked with nerves and worrying over what’s to come. But believe me when I say that every single fresher has mixed emotions when setting out on this journey – even if they look calm and cool as cucumbers. 

One way of ridding some of the anxiety you may be feeling is to think ahead about the room you’re moving into. There are many wonderful things to look forward to at University, one being that you get your very own place!

The University of Stirling has a super helpful site for knowing the basic essentials to take, but if you’re wanting to get inspiration for how to make your accommodation reflect your personality and give you a sense of comfort, then peruse this article at your leisure. 

Dormitory room with two teen men brothers sharing bedroom. Friends males study home together flat vector illustration.
Credit: Adobe Stock

Set the mood

As you’ll be living in halls, you no longer have to fret over family members telling/yelling at you to turn your music down – though you must remember to consider the other people living in your accommodation. For the most part however, you can play your music loud and proud when in your room.

I would recommend placing your speaker on a high shelf, as this can really enhance the sound. If you don’t have a speaker, the old phone-in-the-glass trick works just as well to crank up the volume. 

Music is a great motivational tool. Blasting out your favourite playlist can make you feel on top of the world when getting ready for a night out and can also help you muster up the emotional strength it takes to make it to a morning lecture. 

Get comfy 

The majority of accommodation buildings provide students with plain bed linen. I stuck with this linen throughout my first year, as it suited me just fine – linen is linen, right? That’s what I thought, but I know of other students who were deeply offended by the spiralled pattern on the sheets they were supplied with, so you may wish to switch them up and get fancy with your own personalised pillowcases and duvet. 

You might also want to invest in a cosy blanket or some cushions when you arrive, as degree-level assignments can take their toll, and you may experience an urge to turn yourself into a blanket burrito or encase yourself in a cushion cocoon at times. Putting a fluffy rug you particularly like on the floor or over your desk chair, and pinning a tapestry up over your bed can also add that relaxing feel to your space and reduce stress. 

When I first moved into halls, it took me a while to feel my room was my own – it was like I was a guest in a hotel. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to pin some posters, cards or photographs up on your wall, or alternatively, on the inside of your wardrobe door.

Being surrounded by prints of your choosing can really bring it home, so to speak, that your halls are your home for the year. Arranging sentimental items on your desk may also help you get properly settled in. 

Add some life into your room

The lighting in student accommodation is, in my opinion, of top-notch quality, as everyone is aware of the fact that good light while studying is of high importance. Still, hanging some ambient string lights up never hurt. 

Half-way through my first year, I was gifted an LED light box with lots of letters, so I could have a motivational quote shining bright by my bedside. I’ve found you can’t go wrong with a quote which really speaks to you, all lit-up on a board. 

Buying some plants can also add vibrancy to your room and make you feel more in touch with nature. You can always opt for fake plants if you’re like me and all your plant pals keep dying on you. 

Credit: Pinterest

Make the most of the storage space

One of the best things about University accommodation is the storage space. You’ll be faced with so much storage space that you don’t know what to do with it! Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix is a fantastic show which teaches you how to keep on top of clutter.

I tend to call the show Tidying Up and Breaking Down with Marie Kondo, as I’m a renowned neat freak and tend to go over-board with the storage solutions. That being said, organising your storage space can be very satisfying and prevent you from getting overwhelmed during your first semester. 

When I was younger, I never understood the point of tidying. I never understood why I was scolded for leaving all of my stuffed animals strewn across the hallway. Each and every morning I’d open up the cupboard door to the stuffed animal menagerie and scatter them about everywhere. Similarly, I never knew what was so bad about making towers out of eggcups all over the kitchen floor or hacking away the hair on my dolls’ heads and leaving piles of synthetic hair in the corner of the carpet. 

Since watching this show, however, I have learned that there are many energy-boosting benefits to tidying. Making an effort to keep your workstation pleasant-looking is incredibly effective for timesaving.

Hacks I’ve found to be really useful include storing your shoes on shelves rather than the floor; hanging jewellery and other accessories on drawing pins (if your halls have pinboards); owning a wash-bin that is easy to transport to the laundry; storing things in a way so you can see everything inside drawers; dabbing a little nail polish on the base of your kitchen utensils so they are easily distinguishable from those of your flatmates; and keeping a special biscuit tin in your room.

This can be dangerous, but also a good way to reward yourself while studying. To quote directly from the biscuit tin I kept in my room at halls: ‘if you feel something is missing in life, it is almost always a biscuit.’ 

Featured image credit: Entrepreneur.com

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