How to make a home away from home

It can be difficult making a room in college feel like home with so much else to do and so many restrictions on what is allowed, especially when you have to completely vacate after just eight weeks. With the stress of work and extracurricular commitments, though, it is important to have somewhere to go back to at the end of the day where you feel comfortable. Taking time out to make your immediate surroundings a little more liveable can also be hugely cathartic in itself.

Build a good rapport with your scout by making conversation and keeping the room relatively tidy. While this is a decent thing to do in the first place it also means that when they come in to clean it won’t feel like a stranger letting themselves into you room. What’s more being friendly with your scout could mean them turning a blind eye if you decide to bend the rules regarding what you can have in your room.

A good place to start is getting comfortable and rearranging your furniture to suit your style of working, draft in friends to lend a hand. While there is often limited scope for this, small changes can make great differences such as turning your desk away from the window if you want natural light but are inclined to procrastinate by people-watching.

Decorations allow more room to be creative. They should suit your budget and tastes but also be easy to store or dispose of at the end of term. Photos are nice to have around and can look more sophisticated and grown-up in free-standing frames or adorn walls and notice boards for a more “student-y” feel. If these prove difficult then a piece of string can be strung along a wall and photos hung with clothes pegs or paperclips to give an attractive, bunting-like display. If your college are particularly finicky about things being stuck on the walls then a little masking tape or even a post-it note stapled onto the back of photos is the safest way to avoid marking walls. For a more pragmatic use of wall space a dry wipe wall planner can be put up back to front to produce a handy whiteboard.

As well as printing out your own photos, posters can be made cheaply using sheets of wrapping paper. Some designs (particularly those available at Last Bookshop) make great posters as they are, while others take a little embellishment with a marker and a few witty quotes from your favourite authors or good friends. This up-cycling approach can be used to make a variety of cheap room decorations. While hoarding rows of empty Lambrini bottles may give the wrong impression, bottles that once housed an exotic spirit or post-exam prosecco can make a quirky vase for some fresh or dried flowers; the lose pages of particularly exhausted books can also make eye-catching artwork by printing black and white images over the text; and cleaned jars can make handy desk storage for pens and pins or even (somewhat cliché) drinking glasses.

However you chose to liven up your space all that really matters is that it can provide an escape from distraction when you need to work and an escape from work when you need a distraction.

IMAGE/ University of Exeter