Moving to a new city to study is an adventure, filled with possibilities and new experiences. However, it can sometimes feel a little far away from home. There are several ways to make yourself more familiar and comfortable with your surroundings, such as walking around the city, making new friends on your course and attending university events.
Another way to help you feel at home is to make your room is an oasis that you are happy to come back to after a long day. Psychologists have always agreed that our environments influence our wellbeing. This concept goes back centuries and the Chinese have a name for it: feng shui. Although you may not be able to completely redecorate your room during your stay, there are ways you can make it more personal and we’ve come up with 7 tips to help.
Pick up a plant
Having a living object in your room that you can care for adds a little vitality. Other than looking nice, plants actually have physical and psychological benefits that include:
- Improved mood
- Reduced stress levels
- Increased productivity
- Better attention span
- Easier breathing as plants improve air quality
If you are bad at remembering to water your plants, perhaps consider getting something low maintenance like a succulent or fern.
There are several options for buying plants – you can go online to sites like Patch and have them delivered straight to your door or you can make a day of picking them out by heading to New Covent Garden Flower Market. The market is open from 04:00 to 12:00 on Saturdays and we recommend getting there as early as possible.
Decorate with photographs
This may sound obvious but having pictures of your friends and family on your walls or in frames on your desk is a great way to feel close to them. Seeing familiar faces and places can bring back happy memories and be comforting in moments of loneliness.
You can display your photos traditionally in frames of course, but there are some fun ways of showing them off that are more creative. You can buy fun clip frames like this one from many retailers or use fairy lights to hang them on your wall – there are also lots of DIY ideas on sites like Pinterest if you are feeling particularly creative!
Invest in bedsheets and blankets
London in winter can get chilly. Being warm at night is a very important part of getting enough sleep and making your bed as cosy as possible is a good idea. Buying quality sheets in a pattern or colour that you like can transform a bedroom from an anonymous place to sleep into a place you’ll be excited to come home to.
Several UK shops sell bedding, offering stylish, affordable sheets and pillowcases. You can also buy blankets and cushions if you want to make your bed extra snug, but be careful… you may never want to leave!
Choose art that makes you happy
Art is a form of expression and is able to inspire all kinds of different emotions in us. Having even one print or photograph by an artist that you admire up on your walls will help to make your room feel more personal.
It doesn’t just look good, either; viewing art has actually been proven to give us pleasure similar to falling in love, as it releases a surge of dopamine. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
In rented rooms or halls, it can often be difficult to put things up on walls without damaging them. Luckily there are options that allow you to affix posters, prints and photos without using nails or leaving a mark and you can buy them online.
Something to remind you of home
Most of us have an item from our childhood that we find comforting. For some, it’s a stuffed animal, for others a blanket. When we get older, we sometimes feel like we should let go of these reminders and ‘grow up’. However, when several things in your life change like where you live and where you’re studying, these reminders can gain new importance.
You don’t have to keep hundreds of them or display them on your bed for everyone to see (unless you want to) but having them nearby can make you feel connected to a time when you felt very safe and looked after.
Use smart storage solutions
Often in halls of residence and rented rooms, you don’t have much space. Coming home to a mess can be stressful so to keep everything neat, you may have to get creative with your storage.
Luckily, Londoners are experts at making the most of smaller spaces and there are countless blogs and articles dedicated to giving tips on how to get the best out of your room. If you want to keep it simple, you can go to many retailers who actually have a university collection that includes storage and other bits and pieces you may need.
Buy a rug
This final tip is very simple. Whether you have a wooden floor or a carpet, getting a nice fluffy rug and having it next to your bed makes getting up in the morning that tiny bit easier – especially in winter.