deluxe dorm room

Uni room ideas: How to take your dorm from dull to deluxe

Published 14th July 2021
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Heading off to university is no doubt exciting, but it’s pretty stressful too, and it’s perfectly normal to feel a little homesick during your first week. One thing that doesn’t help is the state of university accommodation dorms. The walls are bare, the bed is stiff, the furniture is drab and dreary - hardly the most welcoming way to start freshers week! So why not liven it up a bit with these uni room décor ideas?

You don’t need to be Nick Knowles to give your room a DIY makeover. The uni room decorations in this blog are easy to pull off and can be put up quickly. With a mix of practical advice on how to structure your room and pure visual flair, we have all you need to make your dorm room gorgeous in just an hour or two - let’s get started!

Take your university bed from stiff to snuggly

woman sleeping

The idea that students lay about in bed all day might be an unfair stereotype, but you’ll want to make sure the one in your room is as comfy as possible. Universities rarely splash out on nice mattresses, meaning your new bed won’t be quite as nice as your one at home. Trust us, you don’t want to sit through an exam or important lecture with an aching back. 

One way that you can ensure a restful night’s sleep right from the off is to come prepared with a brand new mattress. Most standard beds in halls will take a single mattress, but you’ll definitely want to work out the exact dimensions of the frame before ordering anything. You should be able to find out all the information you need to know on your uni’s website. To save space in your car, we recommend choosing a rolled mattress. As the name suggests, these super space-savers come rolled up, leaving you plenty of room to pack your most precious possessions (yes, teddy bears included!).

How to make your uni bed cosy

girl on her bed looking cosy

The key to a bed that will remain comfy for months on end is by covering it with several soft layers to create cloud-like fluffiness. Before layering up the fitted sheets, make sure you place down a handy mattress protector. Not only great for added comfort, these bedding must-buys will keep your mattress in tip top condition for even longer. After all, you don’t want your brand new bed to be spoiled by splashes of tea or post-party pizza takeaways!

Next, find a soft mattress topper. These thick pads are designed to smooth out any bumps in a mattress and make it as comfortable as possible. This makes them a great alternative if you can’t afford to buy a whole new mattress. They can be made from all sorts of things, from luxuriant duck feathers to smart memory foam. Whichever material you choose, they’re available in a variety of firmness levels, from rigid to super soft. Also make sure to check the washing label of your mattress topper - many can be machine washed! 

Once your bed is as snuggly as possible, it’s time to polish it off with a pillow or two and a duvet. Which tog rating you should choose depends on the material your duvet is made from. A good all-year round synthetic duvet has a tog rating of 10.5, but you might need a lighter tog for a feather-filled duvet. Whatever you choose, once you’ve personalised your purchase with a brand new bedding set, it won’t be long before your dorm starts to feel like your very own den of zen.

Organise your uni room with smart storage decoration choices

colourful bedroom storage boxes

If you want to save yourself an ocean liner-load of stress during your first year at uni, you’ll want to get organised. That doesn’t just mean keeping on top of the required reading list, it also means banishing the floordrobe and making sure your room stays smart. There’s a growing amount of evidence that suggests excess clutter and untidiness contributes to stress and anxiety, so keeping the chaos at bay with simple uni bedroom ideas can really help to combat this. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to spend the whole year cleaning - simply choose a few intelligent university room decoration choices, and you’ll remain one step ahead of the clutter.

A great trick for keeping your room clutter- and stress-free is to maximise the storage potential of cubby holes and crannies in your dorm. Your bed is the perfect example here. Invest in some under-bed storage boxes that can be neatly tucked away out of sight. These nifty storage solutions can be used for almost anything, and are particularly useful if your collection of clothes far outweighs the space in your uni wardrobe. Speaking of your wardrobe, if there’s a space above it, you should be able to squeeze in a small storage basket or two up there. If there's empty space at the bottom, add a shoe rack for some extra organisation.

Bedside tables are a common bit of default furniture in uni rooms. If your room has one, stick a storage basket next to your bedside lamp. Here, you’ll be able to store small everyday items, like your keys, wallet, or your student ID card, keeping them readily accessible for when you’re rushing to reach that 9am lecture on time.

Give your walls personality with posters and wall hangings

bedroom posters

That’s the practical stuff taken care of, now it’s time to make your dorm room feel like a home away from home! Let’s start with what makes your room a room: the walls! The wallpaper and paint that are sometimes chosen for uni rooms can often be less than inspiring, but often you won’t be allowed to paint the walls yourself. Therefore, it’s time to get a little creative. 

Posters are evergreen uni room decorations because they’re so easy to put up. All you need is a packet of Blu Tack and you can go wild on your walls. Show off your cinephile side with some classic movie posters, get creative with art prints and famous photographs, or keep your motivation up with inspirational quote posters; it’s entirely up to you!

Looking for something a little more luxe than a poster? Try wall hangings! They’re usually larger than posters, so they’re great for covering up big empty spaces behind your bed or desk, and they’re available in a whole host of fabrics and prints to suit your style of uni room décor. Wall hangings are a little heavier than posters, so rather than putty adhesives, try sticking tape or easily removable Command Strips.

Create a chilled vibe to relax in

reed smell diffuser

As most universities ban candles outright in halls, what can you do to mimic the atmosphere without getting yourself into trouble in the process? 

The answer lies in the humble reed diffuser! These simple aromatic treats are basically absorbent sticks that suck up fragrant oil from a glass jar. Because there’s no naked flame involved, your building manager won’t have cause to complain, and they’re just as varied as scented candles in terms of fragrance. When you buy reed diffusers, you can choose from all kinds of aromas to fill your new room. 

The only thing that’s missing is that warming glow. How do we replicate that? This is where a bundle of fairy lights come in handy. These can be placed almost anywhere in your room, letting you illuminate areas including your bedside table and other places that light fixtures can’t touch. Fairy lights are perfect for creating a blissful atmosphere because you can buy bulbs in all kinds of colours, or ones that change colours via commands from a remote control or even an app on your mobile.

Relive good times with a collage photo frame

photo collage on wall

One way to chase away those homesick blues is to keep in touch with your friends and family back home. Besides Zoom hangouts and group chats, one way of feeling connected to the people you love is to add their faces to a collage photo frame. This DIY university room decoration is easy to make, plus you can keep updating it with pics of all the great new friends you’ll make over the next couple of weeks!

First, you’ll want to pick which photos you want to include in the collage. If all your snaps are digital files, you’ll need a way to print them off. Buying a brand-new home photo printer might be too costly for a student budget, but there are lots of instant photo printing booths in high street stores that will charge only a few pounds for printing off a few dozen photos. You can also get prints delivered to your house using websites like Photobox.

Once you’ve selected your favourite shots of your friends, it’s time to get crafty. You could stick them right to the wall, but unless you want to explain torn patches of wallpaper to facility management, you’re better off getting a backing. Craft board is perfect for a collage photo frame. 

Pre-arrange your photos before you start sticking them on the backing to make sure they all fit. You can also use a pair of scissors to trim the edges of your photos or cut out the background. Then use some decently strong glue to stick them on the backing. 

After that, you can customise it more if you like. Why not give it a border with some colourful paper tape, or hang some fairy lights around the top?

Good vibes for good luck

bedroom decor

Kit out your dorm with some of these uni room decor ideas and even the most inhospitable residence hall will feel like a veritable palace! You’ll feel happier, more confident, and ready to enjoy all that university life has to offer.

If you’ve already finished your first year at uni, you’ll probably be moving into a privately rented student house with your mates. Landlords are a little stricter than uni accommodation managers, so the decorating rules could be a little different. For hot tips on how to personalise a rented property (without losing your security deposit), read through our tips on how to decorate your rented home. 

Making sure your dorm’s packed with uni room decorations is just one way of preparing for uni. Another is to make sure you have everything you need to complete your course. 

Besides academic supplies, you’ll likely need a computer of some kind to transcribe your notes and write essays and other coursework. Luckily for you, we’ve written a guide to the best student laptops with great choices for every budget. They’ll help you achieve a brilliant grade for your honours - don’t worry, you’ve got this! 

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