… without breaking the bank.

Your hard work has paid off and you’re on your way to university. While your social life is going to improve and you are sure to get an excellent education, living away from your parents for the first time could easily see a dip in other areas.

Up until now you have enjoyed creature comforts, cooking and laundry service that come with living in the family home. Suddenly you are on your own and you may well feel like you are out of your depth. When you arrive at your new digs, chances are the walls will be magnolia, the worn carpets will be showing the spills and scuffs of years of use.

The landlord is not there to make this an attractive place to live, that’s your job. Brand new carpets and curtains might be out of your budget and you may well be lacking the flair and inspiration of an interior designer, but don’t panic! Help is at hand.

Here are five ways to create a home from home on a small budget:

  1. A burst of colour

It is amazing what a transformative effect a splash of colour can have on a room. Simply repainting a single bedroom wall can create a fresh feeling that makes an otherwise cold space feel warm and homely. It is also quick, easy and much cheaper than redecorating the whole house.

As with any big changes to the house, it’s always worth getting in touch with the landlord first. Most will not object if your colour choices are tasteful. An added bonus is that a lick of paint will hide any marks or nail holes left in the walls by previous residents.

Feeling creative? Painting a section of wall with whiteboard paint is a great use of space for leaving notes memos and messages for yourself and your more forgetful housemates.

  1. Keep it in the family

If you have a lot of pictures from home, there is a very simple way to display them without taking up precious surface spaces. By looping a stretch of hessian cord around your walls and pegging up some photos, you can display all those pictures of your pets, friends and family very quickly and easily. If it is just a few very special photos you could arrange them on your wall or, if you prefer to avoid manual labour completely, simply allocate them a space on your desk.

  1. Pristine plants

Having plants in the home is always a good option. They bring colour and energy to any room and are a simple way to add style to a busy house. However, in a busy house it is not unusual for them to become neglected. If you don’t have the time for watering, pruning and re-potting between lectures, essays and parties, it might be worth considering another option.

Pick up some affordable artificial plants and you will be amazed by the number of people who can’t tell the difference. They look great all year round and only require quick dusting now and then to maintain their no so natural beauty.

  1. Create your own style

Another great way to fill in bare walls are posters and pictures. Quicker and easier than painting, it will hide any blemishes just as effectively. Canvases, framed pictures and even postcards dotted around will instantly bring personality to any space with minimal effort.

A very cost effective way to construct an interesting display is to collect some wallpaper samples with attractive designs and frame them, giving you a quirky take on a feature wall at a fraction of the cost. Samples can also be used to bring tired furniture back to life.

Wall transfers have become increasingly popular way to decorate a student house. A quick search on Pinterest will turn up all kinds of ideas and very soon your room could be encircled by a forest or city skyline. The best thing about transfers is they are easy to remove so committing to one design is never an issue.

  1. Hide what you can’t fix

Chances are the chairs and sofa in your new student digs will be older than you are. It’s not worth worrying about what they have gone through to earn those tatty corners and worn out covers. After giving it a quick clean, all your sofa will need is a charming throw and a few cushions to restore its former glory.

Similarly, threadbare carpets merely need a colourful rug strategically placed over the worst parts and you can spare your guests the horror of what lies beneath.

You really don’t need to spend a lot of money to turn your student accommodation into a home. With a few simple purchases and some creative thinking, you can transform the whole house and hide those well-worn blemishes.

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