Are you looking for inspiration for decorating your University room on a student friendly budget? Check out our room makeover video with Interior Designer Shelley Matthews, as well as Mikaela’s top tips for transforming your student room into your dream living space!

10 ways to decorate a student room on a budget

By Mikaela Price

Decorating a student room on a budget can seem like an impossible task but I’m here to prove it’s not. Here are 10 ways you can spruce up your student room on a budget!

1. Fairy Lights

These are a pretty common staple in most student rooms but that doesn’t mean they are less necessary! Fairy lights are a cheap and easy way to make your room more cosy and inviting, as well as only costing around £3 per pair. Even if you are short on plug sockets, most fairy lights are battery operated so why limit your room to only one pair? 

Fairy lights above a bed

2. Smart storage solutions

It’s no secret that many student rooms are pretty low on storage space, especially the wardrobe and desk area. These can easily be fixed with smart (and cheap!) storage solutions. In a wardrobe, you can use IKEA Kallax boxes that cost between £2.50 and £3.50. These boxes come in a wide range of colours and store lots of objects. I actually keep two of these boxes on top of my wardrobe, in which I keep pyjamas and all of my shoes.

When thinking of desk storage there are plenty of options. If you are looking to maximise space you can find a small set of desk drawers from WHSmith for around £15, which is big enough to store notebooks as well as all of your stationary. Or if you are a bit tighter on space, you can use an array of different jars and pots to store pens and other stationary. 

yellow storage boxes
Pencil pots and a cactus

3.Things to remind you of home

Coming to university can be a difficult experience if you become homesick. This can be helped by decorating your room with photos of your family/friends from home to remind you of them when you’re feeling low. You can also bring sentimental items, such as a stuffed toy or a pillow, to make you feel more at home in your student accommodation.

a group of people silhouetted against the sun

4. Small Decorations

Small decorations can really bring a room to life, and sometimes you can find them in the places you least expect. Small cactuses, candles or ornaments are just some examples of these decorations and they often cost under £5. You can find cheap, small decorations in places such as Wilko, B&M bargains and The Range. However, if you are looking for more quirky ornaments then I recommend searching local charity shops for vintage decorations that cost around £2 - £5. 

mini cactuses
a bedside lamp, a white table lamp

5. Lamps

There’s nothing worse than getting to uni and realising you only have one main light in your bedroom. To improve the lighting situation I recommend bringing 2 or 3 lamps with you, one to use as a desk lamp for late night studying and one to act as a bedside table. Not only can a lamp help to make your room feel more cosy, but it can also make your life easier by having a lamp right next to your bed. You can buy lamps from IKEA for under £5, such as this desk lamp I bought for £3 and bedside lamp I bought for £5. 

6. Command hooks

When living in student accommodation, most contracts state that you cannot make alterations to the room, such as screwing nails into the wall. This can be easily avoided by using damage-free command hooks. These are sticky hooks that can be attached to the wall and used to hang posters, fairy lights or wall decorations. The medium clear hooks are around £3.50 and have a maximum weight limit of 1KG, so always make sure to not exceed this weight limit to prevent the hooks falling down.

7. Posters/wall decorations

Having empty walls can make any room feel cold and bare, but this can easily be fixed with wall decorations! You can choose posters that are focused around your favourite band or sports team, or even a cute wall decoration such as a canvas. These can be hung using White Tack for posters or command hooks for heavier decorations, therefore making them cheap and damage free! 

a keep smiling wall poster

8. Have a theme

It can be difficult to buy items for a student room if you have no plan to follow. Before I came to university I decided my room was going to follow a nautical theme, since Swansea Uni’s Bay Campus has a beach on site. From there I then searched secondhand sites for decorations that fit my theme on a budget. Having a theme can help you make sure you don’t overbuy items/buy multiples for your room, and therefore save more money.

9. A laundry hamper

This may seem like an obvious staple for a university room but some laundry hampers can become quite pricey! A simple way to avoid this added extra cost, and dirty clothes all over the floor, is to buy a pop-up hamper. These are usually £5 - £7 from Wilko and come in a wide range of colours. 

colourful clothes pegs

10. Rug

And the final item on this list is a rug. Rugs can help make a room look less empty by covering excess floor space, and also adding a pop of colour to the room. Although you will need to shop around for a cheaper rug you can easily a find large one for under £15!

a blue rug, a frame, plant, bag, laptop and shoes

I hope this, together with the makeover video, gives you some inspiration on how you can turn your room into an Instagrammable haven!