Spruce up your room: how to make Cambridge feel more like home

Elly Humphrey, Winnie Pui and Amelia Oakley 5 November 2014

Week 5 is fast approaching, and it's not uncommon to feel a bit homesick. To try and ease those blues, we've asked three Cambridge students for their tips on making your room feel a bit more like home. From renting college paintings to finding the perfect home fragrance, there are plenty of ways to spruce up even the smallest room. A few home comforts are sure to soothe even the most stressful essay crisis, so why not give it a go?

Image credit: Amelia Oakley


Get your own duvet cover

Here lies, literally, 3×6 feet of pure, unadulterated, self-expression gold that is free from the tyrannical clutches of the bedders. Go crazy: get one, get seven – and an extra-special fluffy one for week five. When you're having a bad day, it's like being cuddled by a giant duvet version of your oldest teddy.

Smelling delicious

I for one can't live without my candles, oil burners and incense sticks. So when I came to Cambridge and was told that all these things were "fire hazards", I had to find something new to satisfy my love of all things sweet-smelling. That thing was an aroma diffuser. Put in your favourite oil scent and it does the same job as an oil burner except without the problematic ‘setting off the fire alarm’ element. And it glows!

Photographs from home

Every student's room needs to be adorned with an inordinate amount of photos; you want it to look like you just walked into a mind palace of memories. Stick them to every available non-painted surface (of course) including wardrobe doors, cupboards and the back of your door so that everywhere you turn, you can’t help smiling. Try sticking photos to some string and hanging them from the picture rails to maximise the amount of space you have to stick stuff to!

Image credit: Amelia Oakley


Add some culture

I came to Cambridge to study four years ago, and one thing I really miss about home is the big festivals, in particular Chinese New Year. Sadly this always happens during the Cambridge term, so I don’t get to participate in the celebrations. Putting Chinese style decorations on the walls in my room and putting together some Chinese floral arrangements is a way for me to make my room feel like home. This always cheers me up, and makes me feel very proud of my culture.

Make it your own

Personalisation is quite popular in Western culture, and is another way for me to make my room feel homely. For example, my mug is printed with my own photos and I also have some ornaments with my initials on them. I love simple decoration, but overall I think the best way to make your room feel like home is to fill it with things that make you happy!

Image credit: Amelia Oakley


Rent a painting from college

If you are lucky enough to live in a College with its own art collection up for grabs, then take advantage of this incredible offer! For around £5 a year, you could be the proud (but sadly temporary) owner of a piece of beautiful – or indeed hideous – piece of art. Just remember not to deface it in a drunken rage at 3am: you may end up owing the college £20,000.

Bunting and posters

I like to think of the strict rules against sticking things on walls as more like guidelines…By using a suitably wall friendly adhesive, you can spruce up the blank space with your favourite film posters, book covers and, of course, some bunting! Everyone loves a bit of bunting, don't they? I've opted for pom-poms myself.

Cushions, curtains and rugs

Nothing is more homely than to sit back, relax, and procrastinate by napping amongst a pile of snug cushions and pillows, reminiscing about those long summer days when you did absolutely nothing at all. Throw a cosy blanket or a distinctively patterned bit of fabric over your bed, and instantly you've got a wonderful distraction from the fact that your sheets haven't been washed in a fortnight! An ingenious friend of mine even went as far as making herself some voile curtains before she came.

Make everything colourful

Think of everything as a decoration. When you are sifting through the myriad of mugs at a certain trusted Swedish superstore, don't just settle for the plainest of items. Whether it's mugs, desk tidies, or mason jars – if they are going to be on display in your room, it's always worth getting something which will add a splash of colour. Investing in a fruit bowl is also a sure fire way not only to break up the shelf space, but also to ensure that you eat something healthy at least once in a while!