We all know how glad I was to leave my student house, but as uni season is about to start once more I thought I would do a little post on tips to make your uni house feel a little more homely. Moving away from home for the first time can, frankly, be terrifying, and moving in with your friends (or friends of friends) can be more than a little daunting too.
Most of the time, student homes can be a tad grotty. In our third and fourth years in a student home, the people I lived with and myself opted for the cheapest accommodation we could find. It was pretty rank to begin with, so adding the combination of four boys and one very messy Steph to that mix hardly helped the situation. However, over the four years I spent in student accommodation, I came up with some pretty nifty little tricks to make everything feel more comfortable. The anxiety that I suffer from is worst in places that I don't feel are really 'me' or are cosy and comfy, so this was really important to me! Without any more rambling, here are my top ten tips:
1.) Ensure you have a space that is entirely yours. I know this sounds pretty simple, but as I lived with my partner at uni, this was something we really worked hard at making sure we had. Having a space that you can completely call your own means that when you don't want to be disturbed, you can go back to your space and have a little 'me time'.
2.) Make sure a weekly clean is done of shared areas and your room. One of my favourite parts about visiting home when I was at uni was that I could actually touch anything without being worried that I would end up with sticky hands or a whole horde of germs. Even if you don't like cleaning yourself, discuss hiring a cleaner with your flatmates - splitting the cost would make it minimal. We all feel better in a clean and tidy environment, so making sure your student house is one is bound to make you feel a little better.
3.) Candles. Lots of them. Living with four boys in my third year at uni made me realise that sports bring home a lot of unpleasant odours. Now, I'm not saying this is solely a male thing, but as the only non sportsperson in the house, I do like to think that I wasn't the one making everywhere smell of mud and grass and BO. Who knows. So, I set up candles in the living/dining area and one in my bedroom. It made sure that our house didn't smell too student-y and was also really comforting for me when I was working. I'm used to having a tonne of candles on at home whilst doing work, so it made me feel very relaxed.
4.) A teddy, blanket or pillow from home. I know this one sounds super childish, but do you know what? Out of the six different people that I lived with at uni, every one of them had either a teddy or blanket from home. Even if they wouldn't admit it to the average Joe. Curling up with one of these on a night when you're feeling a bit shitty and missing home is the best, especially if it still smells like home!
5.) A throw and cute cushions to cover an ugly-ass sofa. I don't know why landlords of student housing love the most horrendous sofas, but they seem to. I'm pretty sure half of the ones I've seen were taken off of a skip they're so old. They're also usually looking pretty dirty and untrustworthy. A nice pale throw can really help to brighten up a gloomy living room, and cushions are sometimes totally necessary so you don't fall into the sofa's uncomfortable bones.
6.) Flowers. I only discovered the wonder of fresh flowers in my final year and I really feel like I missed out before. They just add some extra brightness to the living room, and seem to perk everyone's mood up a little.
7.) Throw open the curtains and windows to let in some air every so often. I have so many memories of me whining at school or at home when teachers or my mum decided to 'let some air in' like ugh I was cosy, can you not. BUT, when you're spending seven or eight hours at your desk working on uni stuff, it's really helpful to open some windows for an hour or so to get some fresh air in. This also helps to stop your room smelling musty. We got into such a bad habit at all of my student houses of just not opening the curtains, and keeping up with that to let in some light every day not only makes things feel a lot less cramped and miserable, but also makes it harder for mould to grow.
8.) Bring some old movies with you. Snuggling down with a 90s or Disney movie and some snacks is one of my favourite things to do when I'm feeling low. I don't know about you, but watching movies from my childhood definitely makes me feel more at home, and it's even better if you can persuade everyone else to have a uni house movie watching night!
9.) Have special snacks in your room/food cupboard. Okay, this one is a little biased to all you fellow emotional eaters out there. I have some foods that definitely remind me of home, or that I like to eat when I feel rubbish. Cheese smothered nachos and fruit dipped in melted chocolate (not together) are my go-to when I'm feeling really miserable, for example. Boiled eggs with faces drawn on are my go-to when I'm feeling homesick and need a little morning pick-me-up. Whatever your go-to is, have some hidden away in the house for when the stress of uni life gets on top of you.
10.) Put fresh sheets on your bed every week or fortnight. Is there a better feeling than popping on clean PJs and getting into fresh sheets? I really don't think so. I found it SO hard to keep up with this when I first started uni and my mum wasn't there to help me anymore, but sleeping in grotty sheets is pretty miserable. Plus, going out and choosing some new duvet sets for when you start uni really makes the bed feel as if it's your own.
What would you add to the list? I really hope this post was helpful!