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Uni room decor ideas: how to give your halls accommodation a cheap but bougie makeover

From budget ambient lighting to stick-on wallpaper that won't dent your deposit, here's everything you'll need to make a student room feel like home

Published: February 14, 2022 at 11:10 am
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From fluorescent strip lighting to ugly carpets, student accommodation decor usually leaves a lot to be desired.


Here's how to transform your uni room into somewhere you'll actually want to stay in...

Uni room decor ideas

Take extra lighting

Alice Cream Glass Table Lamp, Urban Outfitters

The harsh overhead lighting that you often find in halls just isn’t a vibe, and if you don’t fancy sitting under fluorescent strip lights for an entire year, ambient lighting is your best friend. Think bedside table lamps, desk lamps, sunset lamps, salt lamps or even colour changing LED strip lights – these can be applied to the underside of shelving and furniture to give your room a TikTok inspired glow.


Stock up on storage boxes

Collapsible Pastel Storage Crates, Etsy

Savvy storage is a must have for any compact uni room – not only will it keep your room looking tidy and organised, but it’ll also give you more room to move about in the long run and stop your space from becoming overrun with clutter. We particularly love using seagrass baskets or foldable storage crates in bright, pastel shades – you can fold them and store them under your bed when they’re not in use, and they’re great for adding a pop of colour to an otherwise bland room. Keep an eye out for them in Primark and Typo!


Buy fresh flowers

Acrylic Vase, Typo

Ok, we’ll admit that the idea of buying fresh flowers each week might seem a little bit bougie to those on a student budget, but you won’t believe the impact a £1.99 bunch of Lidl tulips can have on a room. Just style them in a colourful vase to give your room an instant lift! If you're after a more long lasting option, you can always opt for artificial houseplants or dried flowers instead.


Transform boring walls with a wall collage set

Danish Pastel Wall Collage, Etsy

The cost of art prints can add up if you want to buy loads, so collage sets are a game changer. There’s loads of different packs on Etsy, each designed to suit a different aesthetic. They look amazing grouped around a bed or on the wall behind your desk, and if you don’t want to stick them on the walls, you can always use them to spice up a plain pin board.


Want more wall art, but have a limited budget? Don't panic as we have 14 ways of sourcing free pictures - or almost free!

Get nice bedding

Yellow Pastel Bedding, Etsy

A nice bedding set is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to give a room a new lease of life. You don’t have to get an expensive one to transform your space – Primark, Dunelm, Argos and Sainsbury’s Home all have amazing sets for really reasonable prices, and don’t forget to have a look in Olivia Bowen’s favourite, George at ASDA, too – they always have great budget-friendly designs!


Add plenty of fairy lights

Kikkerland Ivy String Lights, Urban Outfitters

It’s a universally accepted law that fairy lights make everything look better. We love hanging a fairy light curtain behind a bed and attaching Polaroids to the cable with mini craft pegs for a personalised look. Ivy string lights – like these ones from Urban Outfitters – also look amazing wound around a bed frame, over a desk or along a shelf.


Inject life with real houseplants

Etched Floral Plant Pot, Urban Outfitters

Studies have proven that having plants in your room can give your wellbeing a huge boost, so make sure to pack as many in possible! Check out our guide to where to buy affordable houseplants to get you started. You can put little cacti on open shelving, hang trailing plants from woven macrame planters or put aloe vera plants on your windowsill.

Don’t forget a stylish mini watering can and some aesthetic plant pots for them to live in.


Up the comfort factor with cushions

Y2k aesthetic petal cushion, Etsy

Want to give your halls a ~luxe~ look? Cushions are the answer. Ok, we’ll admit, they might not transform your room into the Ritz overnight, but it’ll be much cosier and comfier than it was to begin with. We love looking for quirky options from independent makers on Etsy or Not on the High Street.


Try self-adhesive wallpaper or stick-on tiles

Peel and stick wallpaper is a godsend for covering up ugly walls – it’ll transform your space in minutes, and you can simply peel it off walls when you leave halls without leaving any residue behind! If you’re lucky enough to have an ensuite bathroom attached to your room, you can even buy stick on tiles to give the ones that are already there a makeover – both the wallpaper and tiles come in all sorts of colours and designs, so you can be as bold or as subtle as you like.


Don’t forget throw blankets

Pink Fleece Throw Blanket, Urban Outfitters

The key to a homely room is layers, layers, and more layers, so don’t forget to take extra blankets and throws along with you when you move. Opt for patterned, colourful throws if you want to inject a bit of personality into your room, or go for something more understated – like a neutral chunky knit – if you prefer laid-back, Scandi style. They’ll help to make your space feel cosy and always come in useful when friends stay after a night out!


Use mirrors to make your space feel bigger and brighter

Wavy Mirror, Etsy

As well as being totally practical, mirrors are great for making a small rooms in halls feel bigger. You can put lightweight mirrors up on the wall with command strips, or, if you’re dealing with something heavier, you can lean them against the walls for a no damage, boho look. Asymmetrical mirrors are a particularly stylish choice, check out our pick of the best wavy mirrors for inspo.

Short on wall space? Keep an eye out for full length mirrors that hook onto the back of doors – they’re a great space-saving solution!


Add extra seating

Reema Pink Back Cushion, Urban Outfitters

It might seem simple, but putting some additional seating into your room will make it feel more homely, as you'll have a socialising space that isn't just your bed! Rooms in halls are generally on the smaller side, so it’s useful to have multipurpose chairs, like foldable futons, or chairs that you can store out of the way when not in use – think 90s style inflatable chairs or sleek, Pinterest-inspired fold-away options. Beanbag chairs and floor cushions are also a great shout!


Spruce up your walls

Canvas Art, Typo

Adding some wall art is also a really speedy and simple way to change up the look of your space. Brands like Desenio, Postery and Dear Sam all do great posters for budget prices, and wall hangings are also great - they won’t just hide nasty paint colours, they’ll instantly make your room feel more cosy and welcoming thanks to their woven texture. Use command hooks and strips to attach your chosen decor to the wall without causing any damage!


Create a glow with battery candles

Electronic Candle Light, Shein

Uni halls often prohibit lighting candles, but battery operated ones are a fine alternative – they’ll look just as effective and won’t burn the building down if you leave them on by accident. We always get ours from Lights 4 Fun – they look super convincing and last for ages.


Transform ugly flooring with a rug

Checkerboard and Flower Rug, Etsy

Last but not least, uni hall carpets usually leave a lot to be desired décor wise, so rugs are great for covering up an unappealing floor. They’ll also give your deposit some protection from any accidental spillages that might occur during pre-drinks, and you can always move them around to switch up the look of your room too!




Thea JeffreysDigital Writer

Thea Jeffreys is the Digital Writer on, and is passionate about all things home décor. When she’s not scouring the internet for budget-friendly homeware finds, you’ll find her writing about the latest interior trends and handy upcycling tricks.


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