How to Decorate Your Room in Student Halls

a student lying in a dorm room
September 2023 by


If you’re starting university for the first time this year, it’s likely your new student room will be the first bedroom you’ll have to decorate since choosing your childhood wallpaper back home. And properly decorating your new room in student halls can make a difference when it comes to feeling at home in your new student accommodation!

Keep reading for our top tips on how to decorate your room in student halls without totally burning through your student loan. As well as how to decorate other spaces like your new shared bathroom and even your shared kitchen…

Student bedroom decor checklist

With student halls of residence really varying depending on university, location, and price, not one student bedroom is the same. However, they usually have one thing in common: they’re not the biggest!

This student bedroom decor checklist will ensure you’re making the most out of every inch of your new space, as well as creating that homely and welcoming vibe that’s so important when settling into life as a fresher.

1. Colourful bedding

A really easy way to quickly turn a drab and plain university bedroom into a home-from-home is by adding a vibrant duvet set. But colourful bedding isn’t just great for introducing colour into a room.

Coming back from lectures and being able to crawl into a nice new soft duvet will make the adjustment period into a different type of full-time study a whole lot easier… If you’re really worried about getting homesick, you could even bring your favourite bedding from back home!

colourful bedding

Image credit: Next

2. Lamps

The overhead ceiling lights in most university accommodations are anything but cosy! That’s why bringing in some extra lamps is a great idea to give off a softer and more relaxing glow. From floor and standing lamps to cute little reading lights, adding a few more light sources will quickly turn your standard-issue university bedroom into a super cosy den.

3. Fairy lights

Speaking of different kinds of light, putting up a string of fairy lights is as much a rite of passage as going to fresher’s week for UK university students. And for good reason! Fairy lights can make a student room go from cold and impersonal, to warm and welcoming in seconds.

Whether you hang them around your walls, line them along your desk, or even run them along your bed frame, just make sure to check whether your halls allow plug-in fairy lights, or if they would prefer you to get battery-operated ones for fire reasons.

fairy lights

Image credit: Amazon

4. Prints and photos

Hanging up photos and prints of your family and friends back home will provide you with some much-needed comfort for when you’re having a bit of a low day, which is very normal for most freshers!

FreePrints is probably the most popular choice for printing photos for students, however, Photobox also does some great discounts for students looking to spruce up their student bedroom with some familiar faces.

5. Plants

The kind of peacefulness that plants bring to a room is essential for a time as hectic as semester one in first year. And the fact that plants have also been proven to reduce stress and increase productivity makes them a no-brainer for any student bedroom.

However, since it can be difficult enough adjusting to life at university without having to take care of someone else as well, we recommend getting some plants that don’t need much looking after. For example, a spider plant, hedgehog aloe vera, or a monstera plant.

monstera deliciosa

Image credit: Leafenvy

6. Wall hangings

Much like fairy lights, wall hangings or tapestries are pretty much commonplace in any student bedroom. Popular designs include bright mandalas, tie-dye patterns or even fabric cloth maps. Whatever type of wall hanging you choose to include in your new university bedroom, just make sure to check the rules on hanging things up first.

7. Pinboards

Given just how much students love hanging things on the wall, the majority of university accommodations come with pinboards or corkboards for students to personalise and decorate. The best thing about pinboards? They can always be customised. So photos with your new university friends from Fresher’s Week can quickly be added as the weeks go by!

8. Rug

With so much blank wall space, it can be easy to forget to decorate your floor, as well. However, a good rug will tie everything together and make your student room feel a lot more homely.

Fluffy rugs are often popular with students since they keep your toes toasty when you have to get out of bed in the winter for those pesky 9 am lectures.


Smart tips for decorating your student room (and keeping your deposit!)

While searching for brand-new decor for your university bedroom can be really fun, it’s important to remember that you’ll also need to move out at the end of the year. This means it’s probably not a great idea to go wild painting any walls, drilling any holes, or even using blue tack to stick up any posters.

Since landlords and university halls of residence are often extremely strict with damages (and will happily deduct a small fee from your housing deposit!) keep in mind these smart decor tips for doing up your new student room – and keep 100% of your deposit, too.

Hang things up with wall-hanging strips

Blue-tack, sellotape, and even white-tack will all leave a mark on your wall when taking down posters and prints at the end of term. Instead, hanging strips provide a mark-free solution for decorating bare walls. And since wall hanging strips have been designed to hold a lot of weight, it’s even possible to use them for heavier frames and bigger cloth tapestries.

Look into smart storage solutions

It’s highly unlikely that any university landlord will look favourably at you drilling into the wall to put up a set of shelves. However, we also understand that many student rooms lack a lot of space. Smart storage solutions like small clothes rails, under-the-bed storage boxes, and over-the-door coat hooks help you maximise your space in your student bedroom, without having to put up any shelves.

Buy a sticky black-out blind

Establishing a regular sleeping pattern is tough in first year; especially when student nights take place on the weekday! Since you can’t install a roller blind without putting holes in the wall, a sticky black-out blind will help you create a dark and cosy bedroom perfect for sleeping… and taking a quick nap at 2 pm after coming home from a particularly tiring morning of lectures!

sticky black-out blind

Image credit: Dunem

How to decorate your student bathroom

As well as having to think of some fun interior design for your new university bedroom, you’ll also likely have a bathroom that needs decorating too.

So, whether you’re lucky enough to have bagged an ensuite, or you want to make your shared bathroom feel a little bit more homely, here are a few things to buy to decorate your bathroom in your student accommodation.

Bath mat

Keeping a bathroom clean can be difficult, especially if you’re sharing it with a few other people! A bath mat is an easy way to make your bathroom feel fresh (even if you probably should go around with some surface cleaner soon) and keeps you from having to step on a particularly dirty floor after a shower.

And bath mats don’t just have to be used for the bathroom! If you’re still on the hunt for that perfect fluffy rug for your bedroom, why not take a walk down the bathroom aisle in-store…


Toiletries can quickly amount up. Keep the shower clutter-free by investing in a good bathroom storage solution. It could be wire baskets, plastic boxes, or even an over-the-door rack.

Not only will smart storage solutions keep your bathroom clean and orderly, but hiding away your shower products will also prevent anyone from stealing your expensive conditioner…


As much as how plants can make a big decor difference in a student bedroom, they’re also a great addition to any student bathroom. You can grab a few small succulents in most high-street stores, and if they’re in the bathroom, you’re also more likely to water them given the sink is so close by…

For a fun mini DIY project, grab a few plain plant pots to decorate with your housemates. The best designs can have pride of place in the shared bathroom!

4 ways to decorate a shared student kitchen

The most important hub for socialising, the place you’ll likely form the strongest of university friendships, and also the spot you’ll be making the majority of big student dinners, decorating your shared student kitchen is a surefire way to improve your first-year experience in halls. You’d be surprised at just how less offensive two-day-old dirty dishes look when fairy lights are running along the counter!

Here are 4 things for your decor checklist to spruce up your shared student kitchen:

1. Draining board rack

Organising your clean washing up with a draining board rack can prevent a haphazardly stacked pile of crockery from smashing all over the place. They’re also great for saving your tea towels from becoming completely drenched.

draining board rack

Image credit: Amazon

2. Fridge magnets

Add a little bit more fun to a dull and lifeless fridge with some funky fridge magnets. Whether you buy them over the year together with your flatmates, or even bring them home from some obscure trips you go on during term time, magnets are also great for sticking up all sorts of leaflets for events happening in and around campus. Most importantly, they’re perfect for hanging up that all-exposing chunder chart.

3. Music speaker

A speaker is essential for general university life; however, its most important place is arguably in the shared kitchen. For example, if your flat is hosting pre-drinks, you’ll need a speaker to play your specially-curated Freshers’ playlist. Or if yours is the home everyone is coming back to after a night out, a speaker lets you put on some chilled music to wind down.

4. Festive themed decorations

The fast-paced lifestyle of university can easily make you lose track of time. This can often mean that seasonal events like Halloween and Christmas can also creep up on you out of nowhere! Get into the spirit of these events by decorating your shared kitchen together.

If there are a few of you in your flat, you can split the cost of a fake Christmas tree and decorations. And making paper snowflakes is way more fun when you’ve had a few drinks! The same goes for pumpkin carving in the autumn, while getting your Halloween costumes ready together is definitely a group event.

Decorating your student accommodation is an easy way to make the adjustment period from Sixth-form college student to university first year a whole lot easier. With these decor checklists, tips and tricks for sprucing up your rented space without incurring any extra damage costs, and general interior design inspiration, you can make your student flat a place you actually want to go home to after a long day of studying (or drinking at the pub…)



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