After living in student flats for four years, I think it’s safe to say that I’m pretty qualified to give my top tips for making a place feel homely. So here are the five things I think make the most difference in making a house, a home.
Soft furnishing are quite possibly the most important factor in making a house (or flat) a home. A nice bedding set, a couple of throws, rugs and cushions can make the world of difference. I have the most hideous green and tartan sofa in my bedroom so to try and make it less horrendous I piled on as many gaudy cushions as humanly possible, aiming for the bohemian look.
Jersey bedding may possibly be my favourite thing ever. It’s revolutionary. Even in summer, I must snuggle. Crunchy bedding is not welcome in my sanctuary. I spent approximately seventy per cent of my life either in or on my bed, and that is why bedding is important. Having bedding that looks and feels like the epitome of comfort is a key component of cosiness.
If you’re anything like me and spend most of your time in your bedroom, it is essential to have a few different places to sit. Having that separation between your working, living and sleeping place is difficult when you’re a student. We don’t all work in the library, we don’t all socialise in a bar, a fair amount of us do everything from home. Considering that, in the future, I’d like to work from home, I think finding the right balance is important for everyone.
To help my transition of moving from my parents’ house to independent living, I took some things from home including cutlery, a chair and a rug. That specific rug turned out to be too big for my current flat and is rolled up and shoved in a corner, but this beautiful, colourful, eco friendly rug that I picked up from a shop in York a few years ago makes the perfect patchwork fit for my bedroom.
Lamps and fairy lights work wonders! An easy and obvious tip, but important nonetheless. Creating an atmosphere that can go from productive to relaxed with the flick of a few switches is exactly what fairy lights are made for.
Lamps I think are a less obvious tool for a tranquil mood. Most people utilise them for softer lighting, but not for ambience. I love purples, oranges and reds and use tone of light to differentiate between productivity and down time. Warm toned bulbs and colours for the evenings and my ceiling light is fitting with a cold blueish white bulb to keep me motivated and awake.
Storing fairy lights in containers, jars, empty lamps or anything else you can find is a clever way of having the impression of fairy lights even if you don’t have the room to string them out. TK Maxx always have beautiful lanterns and homely bits and bobs, which is where I bought this beauty and Primark are obviously the holy grail for fairy lights.
Another thing that contributes to a calming atmosphere is smell. Candles and incense. I much prefer musky, sweet and masculine scents. My two favourites are Marshmallow Fireside from B&M and Raspberry Sundae by Yankee Candle, I feel that the types of scent fit with the style of my room. For brighter and lighter colour schemes I imagine fresh and floral scents would fit nicely, but that just ain’t for me!
Wood Spice is hands down my all time favourite incense smell. For my last birthday, my brother and his girlfriend got me a tonne of different incense scents and the violet batch smell just like Parma Violets, a bit of me that is! Burning stinky sticks isn’t for everyone, if you’re not one for a smokey, perfume bonfire situation, maybe wax melts would work for you instead.
Make the most of the space you have. I’m lucky to have a spacious bedroom in the flat I’m currently in, but I do have a lot of stuff. My desk is where I choose to store and display my jewellery, makeup and stationery. Now, storage doesn’t have to be ugly, plastic crap! I keep my scissors and fancy pens in a mug with bat wings, I hang my earrings on a palmistry hand, I store my makeup brushes in a plant pot and my every day jewellery bits in a ceramic shell.
Papers, notebooks, other stationery bits and bobs are arranged in these rose gold-ish wire tidies. They really do help with saving desk space and the fact that they match is just a bonus. Finding in-trays that are actually individual trays that stack on top of each other is exactly what I was after, and it’s all affordable AF from Wilkos! It most definitely is too much copper in one area but fingers crossed in the future I’ll have a separate desk and makeup area.
These Ikea boxes save lives! I keep aaaallllllll of my paperwork, old university work, spare wires in them, all sorts of bits and bobs. They’re easy to stack, are incredibly sturdy and come in a tonne of cute colours and varying sizes. I store these stunners on the shelves in my wardrobe and they’re just boxes aren’t they really! Can use ’em for anything ya like.
As beautiful as jewellery boxes are, I like to be able to see my choices! I’m a biiiiig jewellery fan, I especially adore rings and earrings I can wear through my tunnels.
I’m a big Disney fan and I also love art. I have approximately thirty-five framed prints in this flat alone, with a fuck tonne more back at my parents’. I may have a bit of a problem… I collect frames. Charity shops, Depop, eBay, I love a good second hand frame and I love a good art print to stick in ’em.
Most of my prints are by Mab Graves and Oh Gosh Cindy, both absolute badass creators that I’ve loved for years and will proudly display these pieces for years to come.
My bedside table does not look like it belongs to a twenty-three year old woman, but it fuckin’ does! My Liberty Minnie from New York and my happy little Scrump sit beside my Mickey mug that holds my cotton wool. On my bedside table I also keep a few bits of my skincare, a lamp, my water bottle and a few more sneaky arty bits.
This shelving unit is just me. Hallowe’en, Gremlins, Coraline, Disney, my sewing machine, a couple of quirks and interests for me to display proudly. Having things to look at that remind you of who you are, what you like and what makes you happy is a lovely feeling.
I’ve accumulated these things over the years, don’t expect to move into your first year uni halls or first ever home away from your parents and have the perfect Pinterest flat. But hopefully these tips help you feel more at home where you are.