Padding it out: Make the most out of your student digs

Summer is stuttering to a close, the nights are drawing in and this year’s run of The X-Factor has begun its annual assault on the TV schedules. For a certain age group, these are the signs that ‘normal life’ is about to resume after a heady three months off, with the student population either upping sticks to a new city or returning for another academic year. Whichever it is, moving to a new home is more than likely on the cards – and that throws up all kinds of dilemmas. Fear not though, because we’re on hand to help you out with at least one of them…


Home from home?

Now, it’s a long time since the team here at MyHaus were at uni, but we do remember that feeling of opening the door to the property you’re going to call home for the next academic year (or longer) and thinking “this isn’t how I remember it from the viewings”.  All that hurrying about you did before slinking off for the summer made finally finding and settling on a property feel like a massive relief. Now though – without the previous occupants’ stuff adorning the walls – the house seems like a cold, unwelcoming shell. And what’s that weird musty smell come from all of a sudden?

Before you start manically eyeballing your tenancy agreement looking for a get out or Googling the number for the local Trading Standards office, listen to us when we say that making your rental property into an oasis of comfort from the grim, terraced environs in which it’s likely situated is really quite easy if you know what you want and where to look.


Access to accessories             

If you’ve chosen well, your new property will probably be furnished. The standard to which it’s decked out however might well be questionable. Expect either mismatched relics that wouldn’t look out of place in a funeral home from the 1960s (we’re not talking about shabby chic vintage here either), or the whole house laden with anodyne IKEA kit, all of which is functional but doesn’t really allow the tenants to express their personality in any way. Sure, you can get creative with stencils and the like, but would you want to risk losing your deposit?

What to do then? Well, if you fancy yourself as a bit of an interior design whizz, you can always look to modify the furniture you’ve been lumbered with should your landlord allow it – sites such as decor8.com and  myfriendshouse are full of inspiration and handy tips – but your busy schedule of study and socialising might not allow you the time to do so. If that is the case – accessories are your friend.

With just a few well-chosen bits of stylistic garnish, you can stamp your own style on even the blandest of identikit student house shells. Be it cushions for communal living areas, prints for bare, cracked and uneven walls, or a few funky kitchenware items, you can give the place a sprinkling of pizzazz without breaking the bank. Ok, so maybe some of the items may seem a little excessively priced for your student budget, but we’d advise maybe splashing out on a few choice items as opposed to subjecting your wallet to a battering. Going for large pieces of designer furniture might seem tempting with that student loan burning a hole in your pocket but you might find that you can’t stop at just the one item and the next thing you know, you’re eating from paper plates (albeit in an uber-modern and stylish pad!).


Making a statement without harming your bank statement

Despite what we’ve just said, making a couple of well-considered bold purchases can be a viable strategy in your quest for cool. The chances are that you’re moving into your new abode with a partner and/or a group of mates, providing the perfect opportunity for you to pool your resources and really make a statement with your interior design choices.

Of course, how far you take it depends on how many of you there are and how healthy your bank balances are, but it can be done without eating into those valuable tuition fee/study aids/drinking funds. We recommend choosing a well-used room and decking it out with a few select items centered around a theme. Maybe you’ll go for a set of Eames chairs in the kitchen, or maybe deck the whole house out with matching designer lampshades and accompanying prints. Whichever you chose, we might have something that tickles your fancy (we know, we know…blatant sales push alert…but we have got some rather cool stuff!).


A helping hand…

So, you’ve read all that and could well be thinking you’re up for getting in on the whole pimping out your pad action but that the whole shebang seems a bit far out of you and your student mates’ reach (even after all of the advice we’ve given). Don’t worry though, because all is not lost – MyHaus has something in store over the coming weeks that can help you jazz up your abode for absolutely nowt. We’ve a little competition up our sleeves that could see you bagging yourself a whole host of ultra-cool interior design stuff for doing not very much at all. Come back here next week and we’ll tell you all about it, and in the meantime, keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter for details.

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