1. Cover your bookshelves
You remember how you used to cover your books with sticker paper until middle school? Now it's time to do it with your bookshelves and even drawers. It keeps them cleaner, easier to wipe dust away and so much more pleasant. And it comes very cheap in some meters in a roll.
2. Dress your closet
Most rooms have a big odd wooden build in closet or this classic cheap two panels closet. Chances are it is not pretty, so you an camouflage it with some vinyl stencils you can find (in limited variety of course) in do-it-yourself big stores (Prealpina, Megatek, Jumbo) or order yourself the letters or shapes you want at a local printing company (most of them work with adhesive and it costs around 8 euros, you stick it yourself to save extra money).
3. Chic in the living room
If you are lucky enough to have a separate living space, make it look grown up and chic with another kind of stencil, like this set of three bamboo trees. The options could be endless, but this way you avoid painting or putting nails on the wall (some house owners strictly forbid these).
4. Peaceful reading corner
The most important activity you will be doing in your new home will be reading and studying. Unless your field of studies does not involve projects that require a specific place (like architecture or engineering), build a reading corner with a cozy and comfortable chair, some space for books, sheets and stationery, good lighting and an inspiring poster. And don't forget the color scheme. It should be neutral, peaceful and warm for not making your eyes tired in the many sleepless nights waiting for you.
5. Don't change who you are
If you are a girly girl and back home you used to sleep in pink sheets, cuddling with dolls and bears don't be shy and try to change yourself into a serious person in case you are sharing your home with roommates. Your bedroom is your personal secret kingdom and you have the right to be surrounded by whatever makes you have and feel a little bit like home. So ladies, don't be afraid to grab all your pink stuff with you, along with your fluffy bears. If your mother or grandmother has been making lacy covers and tablecloths for your future house, steal a couple of them now and put them into your rental home. They make the space cozier and ladylike. And remind you of your family of course.
6. Mirror mirror on the floor
Usually you shouldn't wait for a lot of mirrors when you rent a space. I don't know why, but somehow people consider it unnecessary to have more than a little mirror. I know that investing in a big one might be extra expenses you can't afford now, but keep an eye on the supermarkets or home furniture shops that have them. Look for the sales, you might grab a good piece for a cheap price when you least expect it. If you want it very badly, search for a wood working master, they usually take orders and he can make you a look alike big mirror for very little money.
Add some white lights if you fancy and not only you will have more fun when dressing up in the morning, but your room will appear bigger too. Double the profit!
7. Cover ugly walls
Chipped, uneven wall surfaces, bliah paint colors ( I call them vomit of a cat - sorry) are not uncommon in the houses students rent. And frankly, sometimes the rent is not that low to justify these things. If I had the opportunity I would design beautiful bright places with good quality everything for students. As being away from the family, with limited budget is not enough, they have to live in a place not decent for a human being, let alone for inspiring you to read, study, create and have a social life !!
If you have the guts and time to negotiate, ask for the owner to fresh paint the house before you move in. It is very important to kill the bacteria of the previous renters and to prepare for winter cold and humidity. But let's be honest, this doesn't always happen, so instead propose to wallpaper the place, or at least one wall. This will hide the problems of the paint and will create a focus point in the room. Now there are removable wallpapers available and there is no problem to remove it when you leave.
8. Show your pictures
I am sure you have a lot of pictures, old and recent, of yourself, your family and friends. Don't keep them inside an album or a dusty box, but take them out instead and stick them on the wall. Create a heart shape or a rectangular one, or just go and stick irregularly, just like you feel like until you cover an entire side of your room.
You can do a lot of things with pictures. If you have some basic Photoshop skills, you can create effects to unify different pictures and group them together, make everything black and white or enlarge a few pictures and frame them. You will have original cheap art on the walls and you will feel your loved ones closer by being reminded of your memories together.
9. Beautiful tik - tak
If you hate early morning wake ups like me, you better get a nice alarm clock, something classy and beautiful, not the small cheap plastic ones that break once you throw them on the floor. You know what I am talking about, those with the annoying alarm clock. You can't always rely on your mobile phone because sometimes you might fall asleep without activating the alarm, sometimes you don't hear it, or something goes wrong and the alarm never rings, so be sure to have a decent clock by your bed.
10. Add some green
Oddly enough, we think of plants as outside only, or balcony only or high maintenance. But everyone, even a boy can look after a plaint, if it is a small one that doesn't require much light, water and care. Succulents or cactus as we call them are perfect. In a wide variety from tiny to big, different shades of green, so many shapes and families to choose from, everyone can choose their favorite or mix some of them. Put them in a corner in the living room, on your desk or by the window. Your space will look fresher and it is good for your health too.
11. Make room for everything
It is very important to find space for everything you have. Forget boxes and suitcases with hidden stuff inside. Chances are you will never use them for as long they are out of sight. Try alternative storing solutions, especially for the daily needs. If you have a loot of books, use crates as shelves. If you need more space for your clothes, try hanging them in a U shape tube you can hang in the ceiling. Don't neglect the small things, like jewellery, accessories and mostly stationery. Find your pencils and rulers by your desk, by utilizing cans, mason jars or small boxes as stationery organizers.
If there is no bedside unit or you can't afford buying one, don't skip it. You will need something to place your books, gasses, water, skincare, jewellery, coins and everything small you can imagine all year long. Opt for an alternative piece you already have, or ask mum to bring from home. A small ladder or an old stool, a round side table, three suitcases stacked or a simple wooden cube can serve as a decent nightstand.
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I hope you like these ideas. Of course they are not for students only, but for everyone renting or not, living alone or with family. Don't forget that home is our nest, it reflects who we are and what we like to be surrounded with. You can not feel good and rested and secure in a house that does not represent you. Go for small changes, things you can make yourself and cost little to nothing. Never stop decorating, moving things around, getting rid of old stuff and bringing in new. Play with your house, your room, your nook, and be inspired by the beauty around you :)