Creating a 'home away from home' at Cambridge

Image credit: Bethan Davies

Arriving in your room at the start of term can be a bit of a downer, particularly if your freshers' week schedule is so hectic that you haven't even had a chance to unpack, let alone make it feel homely. But a few small changes can really help to lift the mood of your boxy room, creating a calmer environment for when the workload kicks in.

Start by making the most of the space available; recruit some neighbours to help you move around the furniture if needed, and let as much light into the room as possible. A bit of sunlight is essential! Afterwards, you can start figuring out where your decorations and trinkets can go, as there's often a bit of extra room at the back of your desk or the top of shelves.

There are plenty of cheap ways to liven up the bare spaces in your room. If you're an art lover, try collecting some postcards with artsy prints or purchasing them online. Sometimes colleges aren't pleased with us sticking things to the walls, so get creative by using the doors of your wardrobe or edges of your bookshelf. Posters can be mounted onto cardboard and fixed onto hooks on the wall, which porters are usually happy to fit for you.

It's also nice to have a few personal photographs around, so long as there aren't so many that you start feeling homesick. Using websites and apps like Snapfish or Social Print Studio makes the process as sleek as possible, and big windows can serve as a backdrop for these if you're starting to run out of wall space.

The smell of home usually brings us immediate comfort, but the strict fire regulations in rental properties mean that Yankee candles are a no-go. Work around it by picking up a fragrance diffuser; there's usually a wide range in shops like Zara and Next, or budget versions in Wilko. Wilko and Primark are also great places to find some inspiration, and come up with a colour scheme or theme for your room. Pick up a couple of cushions or blankets to make the bed a little cosier, and find some cheap scarves or sheets to drape across the walls if you're feeling particularly edgy.

The start of term can be stressful; if that restlessness is starting to creep into your mindset, try clearing away clutter in your room where you can and doing a little bit of decorating here and there.
 

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