When we are younger we walk through Ikea with our parents wandering the show kitchens and creating that dream aesthetic of our future homes. Many of us may have even been unduly critical of our childhood homes for not fulfilling that idea of the dream house. But then we hit our twenties or we go to university and we enter the world of rented accommodation and we come to realise that the dream home takes a little bit more than a Pinterest board and good intentions.
Now please do not get me wrong, this post is not about complaining about where I live or to discourage you from renting. Rental apartments, houses, and rooms are the ideal option for those looking to move out short term, save up for a home or travel the world. But there are certainly some drawbacks when it comes to moving into what is essentially a long-term hotel room. When you move into rented accommodation it isn’t always the fresh and clean slate that you anticipated, especially for many students who move into furnished places with strict decoration rules in terms of banging nails into walls or heaven forbid hanging fairy lights. I’ve always had fairly lenient landlords so this hasn’t been a huge issue for me but I know from experience that it can be a bit disheartening when you finally get a space all to yourself and you still doesn’t feel like you. A lot of this can be from the furniture you get stuck with and most definitely the interesting artwork that landlords seem to love.
This post is particularly relevant to those of you trying to make a space feel more personal on a budget or without making any massive property altering changes. For students, there is a good chance you will be moving place every year which means having easy to move stuff that will fit into different spaces. From my experience it is little touches that can make all the difference, they can be found cheap, moved from place to place and aren’t gut-wrenching to give away if you end up moving and they don’t fit with your new pad. I was going to call this post making the best of a bad location situation, but that really isn’t fair. With the exception of heating issues or one too many IKEA paintings the places I have lived since being at university have all been far nicer than a student deserves. But they aren’t mine, I have to live with the coffee table I don’t like and there isn’t a lot I can do about the impractical radiators or the cupboards I wouldn’t have personally chosen. But that doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy there, it just means that when I can’t change the big things I treat myself to something small and inexpensive to make the place feel more mine.
1. Pineapple and Coconut range (Reed Diffuser and Room Spray) – Primark £3 each
If you have a love of Pina Coladas and taking walks in the rain then this is the scent for you. With the joy of rented accommodation comes the joy of ever changing neighbours. Last year I had the joy of heavy smokers next door and this year it’s a couple with a deep love of jacket potatoes. When you come home after a crappy day the smell of your home is one of the first things that hits you, it can also be really awkward to bring over visitors is you are self-conscious of a smell that is out of your control. For the price both of these products have a huge scent pay off, they are delicious and sleek looking meaning that they work as decoration as much needed breath of ‘fresh’ air. Finding the right scent is a cheap way of putting your stamp on a room or a home and is adaptable with seasons if you prefer a fresher scent in summer and a cosy baked goods aroma in cold of winter.
2. This lil‘ grass guy – various retailer <£5
So this guy was given to me as a gift, I think he was from Tiger but I don’t know for sure how much he was. I’ve had a look online and you can grab ones like him for around £5 or under. Shaggy as I have named him (as he is a pot head) was a house warming present and is a very welcome addition to my kitchen window sill. When you live in flats you really miss having a garden to wander particularly if you live in a city or somewhere the weather doesn’t permit long walks. This little guy brings a bit
of fresh life into my apartment, I’ve become very maternal towards him and am a bit obsessive over his watering schedule. He is small and unintrusive and very difficult to kill (I have a bad history with plants). But he brightens the place up and it is also super exciting to watch his hair grow.
P.s. can anyone tell me if I’m supposed to be cutting his hair, he is starting to look a bit wild.
3. Butterfly wall decal stickers – Ikea £4
So these come with a warning that although they say the won’t damage paintwork on the packet take everything with a pinch of salt. I have them on a painted wall at the moment and I have my suspicions about taking them off. When I moved into my current place there were pictures oh every wall pretty much everywhere apart from the bedroom. The space felt quite bare and cold. I couldn’t afford to buy a big painting for this wall and that’s impractical if the next place I live doesn’t allow picture hanging or have space for large paintings. But I hated the space above my bed being so bland. These individual butterfly stickers were a very impromptu purchase but are perfect for the space, the colours of blues, greens and yellows are my ideal bedroom colours. I loved that they were individual stickers so you could really use them to fill your specific space. Ikea has loads of great wall decals and they are a cheap and easy way to fill a space.
4. Friends photo board – Tesco £5
As a student I’ve two bedrooms to decorate for the next few years, over my blog I will try to point out the few products I love so much I have them in each room, these you can pretty much guarantee as my absolute favorites if I’ve loved them enough to buy them twice. This little photo board is one of those things. It is big enough for 5 pictures and is light enough to hang with blue tac if you have a fussy landlord. I have one in a hallway as it is long enough to fill quite a large space. I also have one in a bedroom that I use to hang a couple pictures but also necklaces that I don’t want to tangle. My initial plan with the one in the hall was to use it as a key holder but I actually already have a little shelf for that in my flat. This was really cheap cheers up the room a little bit. One criticism is that the gap between clips is a little small for 5 6×4 photos, but it’s the perfect size for a mix of polaroids, photo booth strips and regular photos.
5. Canvas Prints – £5 Primark
Luckily these are really on trend at the moment so they are available everywhere and on the cheap. The beauty of a canvas print is that if you aren’t allowed to hang things on the walls they can be propped up on tables or against the window, meaning you get decoration without leaving lasting marks. This particular one was hung up in place of artwork left by a previous tenant in my flat, I was going to have a blank space but when I took down the old painting the wall was really scuffed and damaged so it was way nicer to just cover it up. I think the nice thing about these is its really easy to get exactly what you want, be that mantras or photos. Most photo printing sites do personalised canvas prints for at a good price and most home departments have a good selection of prints. While I am adverse to many of the more cliched prints we all have little phrases that make us smile. So put one up in your room to look at every day and smile when you do. Plus it has glitter so I’m sold.
I’m always on the hunt for new cosy home bits so let me know your go to shops or any items you think should make my list