How to make a uni room a cosy haven

Making a uni room into a haven can help Freshers cope with their first year away from home. Sharon Dale reports

Bedding, a computer and a suitcase full of clothes may be all your offspring needs when they move to university but going beyond the basics will make their first year much more bearable.

That tiny space - and it will be small - is where they will eat, sleep, study and watch Netflix. It's also where they will go when they are feeling down.

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Personalising that room and making it more comfortable, less drab and more attractive will provide some psychological ballast in what can be a difficult first year for some.

Try and get an idea of the space and what's provided as forewarned is forearmed. Most first year accommodation has a bed - usually single - a wardrobe, a chest of drawers if you're lucky, and a desk and chair.

From a practical point of view there probably won't be enough storage. One of the best buys you can make is Ikea's fabric Drona storage boxes that come in a flat-pack and start at £2.75 each. They are perfect for holding everything from files and books to shoes and jumpers.

You might also want to invest in an inexpensive set of storage drawers. Argos does a slimline tower with four white baskets for £20. Don't forget a pop-up laundry bag.

A pinboard is perfect for photographs of family and friends, cards, gig tickets and reminders.

Bring posters and pictures but use Washi tape as tac and sticky tape may well be banned as both will damage paintwork.

The carpets in most student accommodation are utilitarian and tend to be “landlord brown”, “sludge green” or, worse, bright blue. If you can fit a rug in the car then bring one. It doesn't have to be big, just something that feels soft and comforting when you get out of bed in the morning/afternoon.

If you're buying new bedding, Ikea has some great, contemporary styles that appeal to young people and the thread count is good so it washes and wears well.

Top it with a throw and a couple of cushions. Again, Ikea excels at both but also try Home Bargains, George Home at Asda, Wilko and Primark.

Lighting matters so fairy lights are perfect. You may also need a bedside light. Candles are often banned but you can use electric tealights in little glass holders or upcycled jars.

Houseplants are all the rage but may not survive neglect so take advantage of the abundance of faux plants and flowers on sale. Primark has a faux cactus in a fashionable monochrome pot for £4.50, while Sainsbury's has some pretty fabric flowers arranged in jars.

Don't pay a fortune for anything as there will lots of spillages - tea, coffee, wine, beer, Nutella and spag. bol.


Leaving home for university is a big step for any young person, however confident they may seem. Send them off with a few reminders of home like their favourite mug, a picture of the family and the pets and a print out of a few favourite recipes.

Have a day out in their university town/city so they can familiarise themselves with the area, transport links and the facilities. That way the first few days won't seem so daunting.

Also encourage them to make links with other Freshers in their halls through social media.