Want a haven to come back to without it costing the world? Decorating your uni room doesn’t need to be an expensive affair. Here’s how to make your room look Insta-perfect on a budget!

university room pictures on wall

Credit: Angharad Clarke

Now that you’ve chosen where to live at university, it’s time to think about decoration. Whether you’re moving into university as a fresher, or a new house as a returning student, decorating your own space is important!

As expensive as this sounds, we’ve found the best ways to decorate on a budget. Yes, you can have a pretty 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 uni room ideas

Here are the best ways to decorate a rented room at uni, cheaply:

  1. Get pretty bedding

    colourful bedding on bed

    Credit: All About Space – Shutterstock

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

    You’ll want to bring some homely essentials with you to brighten up the room and add your own personal touch – and stylish bedding is a great start.

    Depending on what you’re looking for, you can get cheerful bedding from Wilko and Primark.  It’s also worth looking at the Urban Outfitters sale for some nifty discounts!

  2. Invest in a pillow and blanket

    pillow and blanket on a bed

    Credit: Alena Ozerova – Shutterstock

    Cost: £3 – £10

    Dress your bed with a pillow and matching blanket if you’re feeling fancy. These not only make you look like you have your life (and room) together but serve well in the winter when it gets a little chilly. Brrrr!

    Primark is a great place to get cheap homeware and is definitely worth the trip. They often have sales on this kind of thing too, so keep your eyes peeled.

  3. Get storage boxes and separators

    storage boxes under bed and on wardrobe

    Cost: £1 – £12

    If you have a small room in university halls (or in your student house), you’ll want to make the most of your space and use storage solutions. These boxes from Wilko (similar styles available from IKEA) are brilliant for the top or inside of your wardrobe, or wherever else you have space!

    You may find that you have also some space under your bed to store stuff. These storage boxes will fit perfectly under your bed and make it easy to access all your faves.

    We’d also recommend these IKEA drawer separators to make the most of your drawer space, no matter how big or small!

  4. Lamps for extra light

    lamps next to colourful bed

    Cost: £2.75 – £10

    A lamp is a great essential to show off your taste. From experience, we’d say it’s best to stick to 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 harsh white light. Perfect for your relaxing haven.

    We bought ours from Dunelm, but we also love this Argos selection!

  5. Stick-on blinds for rooms that are too light

    window with stick on blinds

    Cost: £3.50 – £5.50

    If you struggle with too much light in your room and wake up with it peeking through your curtains, we’d also recommend these stick-on blinds from Wilko which can also be found in IKEA.

    Stick-on blinds can be removed at the end of your tenancy without leaving any marks, making them perfect for renters. And they’re particularly good if your landlord has installed curtains that look and feel as though they’ve been crafted from tissue paper!

  6. Fairy lights

    lights on brick wall plant room

    Credit: Africa Studio – Shutterstock

    Cost: £5 – £15

    Fairy lights are a great way to liven up a bare-walled, unfriendly house without overdoing it.

    It can feel impossible to decorate your student room walls due to the rules in your tenancy agreement. We used the Command Decorating Clips to attach lights to our walls and had no issues in removing them (after following the instructions, of course!). They kept both our contract AND walls intact. Score!

  7. Decorative vines/string for photos

    plastic vines on wall decoration

    Cost: £3 – £9

    Got a couple of clips left from tip six? 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. Photo hanging and prints

    picture frames on wall with plant print

    Cost: £3 – £10

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

    Try pegging your photos to some string to display them with a homely touch – we’ve found this snazzy photo hanging kit to get you started!

    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!

    You can print your piccies out cheaply via FreePrints or (if you’re feeling fancy) with Cheerz for polaroid style pics. We’ve got a whole guide dedicated to free photo printing services right here!

  9. A memo board

    memo board with leaflets attached

    Cost: £3 – £10

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

    You can make your own whiteboard calendar by using paint chips from your local hardware store, glue and a big photo frame. Adulting and organisation, here you come!

    If you struggle to keep up with plans, check out how to be more organised!

  10. Washi tapes

    washi tape decorating wall skyline

    Credit: Photographee.eu – Shutterstock

    Cost: £1 – £5

    If you want to be super extra, get some patterned Washi Tapes to decorate your walls. It’s basically glorified masking tape (remember that from school?) and, again, allows you to personalise your room without losing your deposit!

    We found ours in Typo, but they can be found pretty much anywhere with a home decor section. Nice!

  11. Wall tapestry

    wall tapestry in blue and red

    Credit: Amazon

    Cost: £6 – £15

    If washi tape isn’t to your taste, a wall tapestry might be. These serve fierce looks, are relatively inexpensive and, again, can be utilised alongside the decorating clips we’ve been banging on about!

    There are loads of different colours, styles and materials to choose from. Click through to get the one on the left and the one on the right.

  12. Wall decals

    wall decal gold dots Scandinavian room minimal

    Credit: Photographee.eu – Shutterstock

    Cost: £7 – £12

    Yaaaaas to wall decals!

    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.

  13. Mirrors

    mirror uni looking room tidy

    Credit: Odua Images – Shutterstock

    Cost: £8 – £20

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

    These IKEA four-panel square mirrors are all the rage, and when you’re done with them you can just leave them on the walls for next person if your landlord/halls don’t mind.

    We’d recommend checking with your individual halls or landlord if you definitely are allowed to hang a mirror. Alternatively, you could grab something similar to these mirrors, so you can take it with you wherever you move to!

  14. Plants

    plants in room clean green

    Credit: Prystai – Shutterstock

    Cost: £2 – £8

    A touch of green never killed anyone (we think?!), so why not adopt a houseplant? If you’re not too good at remembering to water your babies, consider cacti, aloe vera and spider plants as they’re relatively easy to look after.

    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. Decorations

    candles decoration modern blanket plants home decor style

    Credit: Daria Minaeva – Shutterstock

    Cost: £1 – £8

    Candles and reed diffusers can make a room look and smell very put together!

    We tested the candles from Primark. Our verdict? We rate them! We’d also suggest having a look in Home Sense or TK Maxx for budget-friendly candles.

    There are many other decorations you can add into your room, such as vases and scratch maps.

  16. Desk storage

    desk with pen pots and gadgets

    Credit: Stock Rocket – Shutterstock

    Cost: £2 – £12

    Your desk will also need some form of organisation, even if it’s not too fancy! We recommend coming prepared with a good magazine rack (to store papers), a pen pot and an in-tray.

    Depending on your room and what you’ve been provided with, you may need plastic desk storage boxes to hold your books, notes and other stationery too. It’ll save you time searching for those pesky revision notes when the time comes for a last-minute cramming sesh!

Now that you’re a pro on interior design, take a look at these 34 things to do when you start university.

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