You’re finally coming to LSE! Despite all the obstacles that 2020 has put in your way, you’ve made it. To a new city (perhaps), to a new university (probably), and ready for the next exciting new chapter of your life (hopefully).
But for those of you who are moving to London, you’re now faced with the mammoth task of decorating your new home, possibly for the first time.
Unsure where to start? Worry not!
We’re here to reassure you that you can make your new dwelling more than just a place to rest your head at night. You can make it a place that feels like home. Your home. And all of this is achievable on a student budget.
Before we continue…
All students have a part to play in keeping themselves and the rest of the LSE community safe. This isn’t just applicable when you are on campus or in LSE spaces, it also applies for when you are off campus as well. This is why the recommended guidance and advice should be followed at all times, including but not limited to: adhering to a safe distance, wearing recommended protective equipment and practising good hygiene and sanitation.
We strongly advise all students to check for the most up-to-date advice and government guidelines and follow them when sourcing items for your new homes. Many retailers and outlets have put in place practices to support the safe visits of its customers, so we recommend looking on their websites before visiting. There will most likely be safety precautions that you will need to take prior to your visit and practices that you’ll need to follow during your visit, so make sure you are aware of these and follow them when visiting shops, retailers and outlets.
It’s important for all of our students to keep safe, especially those at a high risk. To find out if you fall into a high risk category and for more information about the precautions you should take, please click here.
Here are some of our top tips!:
Second hand needn’t mean second best!
Student accommodation often comes furnished or part-furnished, so check your halls or tenancy agreement to find out. If you do need to buy some furniture, why not buy second hand? Not only is it more affordable but it’s sustainable too! And you’ll be surprised at how good the condition is of some second hand items – it really is true what they say, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure!
Finding second hand items has never been easier - buy from fellow LSE students on our exclusive LSESU marketplace on Paperclip or check out Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace to find items in your area.
Plus, you could set yourself up with a little Upcycling project! Grab some paint, varnish and sandpaper and you could turn an old unit into a stylish work of art! Read more here about how to get started with Upcycling.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Why not organise a group trip to Ikea? For any of you who don’t know, Ikea is the go-to place for furniture and homewares. Get lost with your new flatmates in Ikea’s infamous in-store maze and test who has the best flat pack assembly skills! Trust us, with Ikea products, these skills will come in handy…(everything needs to be assembled!)
Of course, you will need to ensure you are only organising trips with people that the government guidance allows you to go with, such as those within your household or bubble. It’s also important to remember to follow the recommended advice, including keeping a safe distance from other customers and to practice good hygiene and sanitation when in-store. Check out Ikea’s website for their safety practices.
Bring your walls to life
No money for Monet? No problem. You don’t need to spend a fortune to enjoy art in your new home.
Prints can be expensive. So why not try making your own? From floral to geometric to motivational quotes, you’ll find loads of fancy wrapping paper or postcards in shops like Paperchase. If you’re more of a music fan, search your local charity shop or record store to find record covers from your favourite artists. Find a few that you like, slot them into a frame (Ikea, Amazon , Wilko or charity shops are great places to look for frames) and voila! – an expensive looking piece of art for a fraction of the price.
Small independent businesses sometimes offer affordable prints through sites like etsy or look out for poster sales at the Saw Swee Hock building (Your Students’ Union – that’s us!
Create your own art! We have the best way to get started with this. Visit the LSESU website and make sure you attend the Virtual Welcome Fair to find art-based societies and events!
You’ll of course need a way to hang your art. Most tenancy agreements don’t permit you to stick blue tack on your walls, so here’s some alternative ideas:
- If you don’t already have hooks, you may be able to negotiate with your landlord or agent for them to put some up, so try to start this conversation if you feel comfortable.
- Command picture hanging strips claim to leave no damage on walls! But definitely do your research and read some user reviews to make up your mind before purchasing.
- Magnetic poster bars allow you to hang posters without blue tack – this is another one to research into!
Cover yourself in comfort
Rugs, duvet covers, cushions and throws – all of these are great investments that can add a splash of colour and personality to your room with minimal effort. Better still, you can use them to wrap yourself warm on those cold winter nights. Brrrrr!
And if you like them – and why wouldn’t you? They’re to your taste… AND. THEY’RE. COSY! – there’s no reason for them to not accompany you in your next move. Ikea, Wilko, Primark and Amazon are some good places to start!
Bring the outside in
Not only do plants look great, but research suggests that indoor plants can improve wellbeing and productivity too. You could consider a cactus for a low maintenance option that’s likely to survive university holidays, or herbs for the added benefit of being edible (think basil for Italian recipes, mint for mint tea and mojitos, or a chilli plant if you like to live life on the wild side!).
Shine a light on it
Whether you need to study or relax, the right lighting can set the mood. Invest in fairy lights and a bedside lamp to create a low-lit, relaxing environment, or a desk light for when you need to focus on your studies.
Changing the lampshade on your main light can change how bright your room is but also lets you stamp your personality on your space!
Home is where the heart is
It goes without saying that decorating your new home with photos of your friends and family and personal mementos can help make you feel more at home. Stuck for where to put them? If frames aren’t really your thing, you could try sticking them on a pinboard or pegging them to a piece of string or ribbon
Switch it up
Rearranging your furniture is a zero-cost way to make a space work for you. Whether you’ve decided to adopt the principles of feng shui or simply want to be able to access that awkwardly placed plug, moving things arounds periodically can have the added effect of completely rejuvenating your room… for free!
Got other suggestions? Better still, got pictures of how you’ve made your new home more you?
We’d love to see them!
Tag us on Instagram @lsesu with your top tips and pics under the hashtag #MyNewLSEHome.
Come on, We’ve shared our ideas, now it’s your turn!