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Student Stories

Student Stories

Blogs and vlogs from students of the University of Edinburgh

Your new student accommodation – how to make it a home away from home…

View of a student's accommodation room with pin board and bed spread.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

…by Katie / from Wales, UK / studying LLB Law (Graduate entry)

You have just arrived in your new accommodation. Perhaps you got a chance to meet your new flatmates. If you are no longer a first-year, you may have even moved into a shared flat with some of your best friends! In that case, you would most certainly have had the chance for a hug and a long catch up. But once the socialising comes to an end, you turn your focus to your new room. Your somewhat blank new room. But instead of considering it an empty shell, think of it as a blank canvas with which you can create your home away from home….!

So, what could you add to your new room?

There are many items that you could add to your room, all depending on your personal style of course. Remember to make the effort to make your room your own space, as when you need time to relax or work in quiet, this is often the space you end up in. Therefore it is important you are comfortable there. Here are some ideas you could consider.

  • Posters
  • Photos
  • Postcards from your travels
  • Top tip – if you are on a year abroad/have friends on a year abroad, suggest a postcard exchange. I did so with my friends and now we all have postcards from across the world, from Canada to Germany to Australia
  • A calendar/wall-mounted diary – Blackwell’s bookshop has great ones that are great for tracking essential deadlines. What’s better is that these are free!
  • Plants – or if you’re as hopeless as I am at keeping them alive, fake ones!!!!
  • Anything that reminds you of home – for example, I grew up in Wales and brought a tiny Welsh love spoon with me to university
  • Seasonal and festive decorations – such as pumpkin decorations for Halloween or snowflakes/a small tabletop tree for Christmas
  • A teddy – one of mine was a highland cow called Hamish who quickly became a flat mascot!
  • Something small from your home that you could share with your flatmates. One of my flatmates was from China and brought many gorgeous scent bags and was kind enough to share them, so we all had one in our individual rooms too.

How can you find items for your new room? And can they be found on a budget?

There are a variety of locations you can find accessories for your new room, some of them are widely accessible store chains, others are student specific. Here are some places I found items for my student accommodation.

  • Plant/poster fairs in Freshers Week are accessible around George Square campus
  • Charity shops
  • In our student union, Potterrow, there are often events for new students where they can get a variety of items for free (clothes, kitchenware, etc). These are often left behind by previous students and collected for future year groups
  • Blackwells shop on South Bridge – ideal for academic items such as wall planners and diaries
  • Budget or pound stores – especially for Christmas decorations and seasonal crafts for fun with the flatmates
  • TK Maxx
  • Free prints – an ideal solution to getting high-quality photos printed, the only thing you need to pay for is the postage!

Other practical items to consider?

There are of course more practical items you may need to bring to university to make your life easier. These are not just aesthetic. Here are some items that I learned very quickly I could not have gone without!

  • A doorstop – this helps to keep you integrated and means you can meet new friends as they pass your door, especially in Fresher’s Week
  • Board pins – most student accommodation rooms have a pin board, but you will of course need a way to attach things to it
  • Coat hangers – a must! Always bring more than you think you need
  • A laundry basket or bag, otherwise your dirty clothes will end up all over the floor
  • Items for your kitchen if you are not in catered accommodation

Just remember that moving into a new student accommodation is an exciting start to a new chapter of your life, whether it be moving to university for the first time or moving up through the years of study and getting the chance to choose your flatmates. The process is daunting and when you are faced with an empty room that is your new “home”, it is often hard to picture yourself in there for the duration of the academic year to come. Just remember it is a blank canvas, a place that you can make your own.


Want to find out more?

Chat with Katie

University accommodation

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