I have lived in my current student house in Nottingham for the last year. Being creative, I was keen to improve my student room from the mish-mash of bland furniture that my room contained. I am not one for lots of posters and wanted to make my room feel home like home and add some of my own style. However, being a student there was one obvious barrier to this – Money! I could easily find lots of things I wanted in my bedroom in my student home, but unfortunately most of my tastes didn’t meet my budget. This is where my creative side came in!
My student home in Nottingham was located very near the city centre. Luckily, Nottingham has a large city centre and a wide range of shops from expensive designer shops to pound and charity shops. I actually started my search for bits and pieces for my room in some of the more pricey shops, the ones I would have gone to at home with my parents. It was then I realised that paying £15 plus for a cushion was not going to suit my student budget. This is when I realised I needed to be creative in order not to compromise on the final effect.
The first thing I desperately needed was a full length mirror, essential when getting ready for those nights out. I had a look around some charity shops located near my student home and came across a full length mirror with a plain wooden frame for £3.50. It was in good condition but did not quite have the style I wanted. My room was currently quite bare and dull looking apart from a purple duvet my parents had bought me. I decided that I wanted a purple frame to match. I went to Wilkinson’s and picked up a tester pot of purple paint, a cheap brush and some masking tape for £5. I then masked off the edge of the mirror and painted the frame purple. One dried I peeled off the tape and had a great, unique mirror.
The next thing I wanted was some pictures. I love flowers and butterflies but couldn’t afford expensive pictures or canvases. I had a look around some DIY shops and found some wallpaper I liked. Although you are not allowed to decorate in most student homes, especially not with wallpaper, I love the designs and cut some rectangles of wallpaper out and placed them in cheap frames to make some stylish pictures. If you don’t know, most DIY stores let you tear of samples of wallpaper rolls to take home so you can easily get enough for a few pictures from free samples. There is nothing better than things which are free!
Another issue I had was storage. I have loads of clothes and trying to fit them into the limited storage in my room in my student accommodation wasn’t very successful. I found a small bookcase for £5 in a charity shop. I then discovered cheap vacuum bags in a pound shop – great for storing thick jumpers in the summer months. I also had some paint left over from the mirror and used this to paint some old shoe boxes which were great to place on top of a chest of drawers for storing cosmetics. I also found boxes which I received jewellery in for presents were usually quite attractive and useful for storing hair bobbles and clips.
I also found trawling round cheap shops was rewarding and I picked up some real bargains. My favourite was a purple lampshade with black flowers on from The Range for £1.99! Some of my other favourites include Pound Shops (it is surprising what you can get for a pound!), Wilkinsons, Supermarkets, Ikea (if you have someone who can drive it is just of Junction 26 of the M1), Argos, Home bargains, B&M bargains and Dunhelm Mill.
Now I am in my third year at University, my second in my student house in Nottingham and think I have finally got my room just how it! Though I always have an eye out for a bargain…I can’t resist!