IF THEY’RE flying the nest for third-level studies, or starting a course from home, new students need the right kit for their study zone.
Revamping their bedroom will help mark the new era if they’re still living at home. But if they’re moving into student accommodation, turn the space into a little “home from home” to help them settle more quickly and ensure they’re well set up.
Don’t despair if you arrive to find they’ve not been allocated that airy, modern room advertised in the college brochure after all – but instead have something resembling a hamster cage. If you’re well prepared beforehand, you’ll have plenty of practical essentials – from bedding to towels, colourful accessories and personal touches – that will soon transform it into a happy haven. So, start shopping now and be sure to include a supermarket sweep – their impressive ranges at budget prices are ideal for fast makeovers.
Take a degree in student style with our top picks for an A-grade room… GET THE BASICS RIGHT “University rooms are notoriously small, so it’s about making the most of the space you have, with shelving, storage units and your desk area,” says Wil Law, home design stylist, John Lewis. “Once you’ve got the basic kit, you can make it look good quite cheaply, with colourful accessories and displays of art and photos, which don’t even need to be framed. They can be pegged up on wire or string across a window or door.” NO DESK, NO PROBLEM If you’re studying from home, upgrading the desk you’ve had since secondary school needn’t break the bank – or a slim ladder desk could be a great addition to any space. One word of caution: do make sure you have a proper adjustable desk chair, so those long hours bent over a laptop or keyboard don’t cause aches and pains.
In reality, desks soon get piled high with books and papers – but at least they can start off organised and orderly, if you supply some nifty files and storage boxes.
You’re unlikely to be allowed to hang pictures on walls if you’re in halls (or a rented room), but propping up prints on a shelf, or on the floor, is a great way to show off your personality and inject colour.
Make sure you have a great backdrop for Zoom lectures. Some greenery with faux or real plants is a must, and feature some of your interests, with a selection of photos or music, or colour-code your books.
Even a drab room can be brightened up with a notice board full of photos and cards that remind them of home, and some fun accessories.
Multi-functional kit is great in a small space – like a charger lamp. And if there’s more room, or it’s a first house-share, invest in a chair that doubles as a spare single bed.
Start them off with a tidy room, with clothes storage solutions. (You never know – they may give up using the floor as a wardrobe, if you’re not around to clear up!)
Laundry will be way down the list of priorities for freshers. A laundry bag or basket, so all their washing can be bundled out of sight and tackled when they finally run out of clothes, is essential. It’ll also make it easier for them to bring it home to you at the end of term!
When they’ve discovered they can’t live on takeaways forever, the cooking will start! Having all the essentials will help make it simple. Washing up afterwards is a harder skill to acquire!
By all means, buy them a kettle and toaster, but spend the minimum as items left in communal kitchens can tend to go walkabout.
Beds double as seating in student rooms, and will be the focal point in a compact space, so they need to look the business. Gift them a generous supply of duvet sets – raid the supermarkets for brilliantly budget buys in bedding and towels. Opt for dark colours, which are less likely to show marks or spilt drink stains.
It’s impossible to provide too much storage, and win-win if it looks good as well as being practical. Don’t overlook other solutions too though, like under-bed boxes.
Feeling homesick in the first few days is normal, but you could help speed up the recovery process if you leave them a “cheer up” kit -- a fun mug for their favourite drink, a cosy throw and a cheerful poster. (Maybe parcel it all up and label “for emergencies” then hide it away in a cupboard, so they can find it when you’ve gone).