Student’s Guide to Interior Design

Most students sleep, relax, and work in their bedrooms, and so for most it’s the only place they can have some proper alone time away from the hustle and bustle of life at uni. So creating a space that can increase productivity and encourage a calming productivity and encourage a calming atmosphere is super important.


At Here! Student Living we spoke to some interior design experts at Whittam Cox Architects and Nelson & Long. Using their help we made this handy little guide on how to design, decorate, and accessorise the perfect student room.


Proud of your student digs or know someone who is? If you think your room is nice, prove it! Post a photo of it on social media, tag us in it and be in with a chance of winning £500 in vouchers to perfect your pad and titivate your territory during term time.


*terms & conditions apply, see bottom of this page for details.

House Plants

Plants are a great way to brighten up a room or a house. They are soothing, aesthetically pleasing, can help reduce stress and if you’re working with a smaller space, plants are a great way to soften the edges.
You can talk to them too, so think of them as friends you can grow.


There are houseplants to suit all spaces with many that require little upkeep! Plants such as cacti may be favourable as they are hard to kill, no matter your taste or circumstance, we guarantee there’ll be some greenery out there to suit you and your housemates.

What the experts said…

“When tight on a budget go with faux plants.


These are cheap to buy, require no maintenance and you’ve got them forever. You’ll be able to move them to different spaces.”

Indoor Lighting

When you first arrive at your new student accommodation, it is important to get your lighting right. If you have a lot of natural light, this is fantastic, keep the curtains open and let the suns’ rays shine on in. Natural lighting can reduce stress and help with concentration as well as make it easier to get to sleep!


If your room has a limited amount of natural light, bring a bedroom lamp in to limit the use of the overhead lighting in your room. This will benefit you in the late afternoons and evenings when the harshness from the main light may irritate your precious peepers. Stringing up some fairy lights can be a great way to create a calming atmosphere that will encourage restfulness and relaxation. If you often work and relax in your room, lighting is a great way to enable you to create different vibes at the flick of a switch, especially with some swish colour changing LED bulbs.

What the experts said…

“Desk lamps are a great way to create ambience, there are many options on the market for both battery-powered and plug-in lights that can change the feel of a room and make the space feel more personable. Lamps with different brightness settings are a big thumbs up from us, as they are a great way to ensure your lighting is at the right level depending on your tasks and mood throughout the day. Use natural calming colours and have natural lighting and ventilation.”

Wall Decoration

Usually, your student accommodation will have bare or plain (often magnolia) walls which will leave you free to decorate in whichever style you want! Most students have limitations on what they can and can’t do in their bedrooms and living areas, such as no painting or drilling. But you can use those little sticky hooks with double-sided tape, Command Strips, for example, leave no wall marks behind, remove no paint and ensure you get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.


Additionally, hanging a pinboard can help you in numerous ways. Not only will it cover up the boring walls in your bedroom, but it will give you space to display photos of friends and family as well as being a useful organisation tool to note important info such as timetables, to-do lists, revenge plans and more. No more missing seminars or upcoming deadlines! Plus, you’ll keep your landlord happy by not pricking holes into the painted walls with thumbtacks.

What the experts said…

“People are constantly taking photos of friends and family and their surroundings. These are personal to you so get them printed in one of the many formats available today to surround yourself with. Put them up wherever you see fit, the best part is you can just stick them up without fear of damaging any walls.”

Bedroom Storage

Having lots of storage space will improve a room of any size, whether it’s your bedroom or shared living space, a tidy room is always going to look better than a messy one, just ask your mum. Finding homes for clothing and household items helps to keep surfaces clear, creating a pristine environment that will encourage productivity and calmness.


Purchasing new storage space doesn’t have to be expensive, have a look at online marketplaces to snap up some second-hand bargains in your local area or head to a charity shop to find some cheaper, pre- loved furniture. Make sure you utilise the storage space under your bed, there’s often a large amount of unused floor space hiding under there! You could put some of your shoe boxes under there, or suitcases, maybe even your sports equipment such as hockey sticks or yoga mats.

What the experts said…

“Storage boxes are a must. Try and give everything a home to keep your space organised. Look at the space in your room and be clever with how you utilise it. Flexible furniture – fold- out desks, storage within seating/beds. Keep the space clean and tidy. Allow as much natural sunlight into the room. Introduce some planting to create a healthy atmosphere.”

Storing Footwear

One item of clothing that’s universally well-known to be the root cause of visual discomfort or untidiness are shoes. If you own shed loads of trainers and don’t have a shed, the area around the front door could become cluttered with footwear. Investing in a shoe rack will give you space to store all your shoes, leaving the entrance to your room clear and footwear free!


This will mean your guests in the future will be greeted by a welcoming entrance to your abode, instead of a sea of sneakers. It also avoids the awkwardness of asking guests to remove their footwear if they see a shoe rack by the door, they’re more likely to remove their dirty cleats without being asked to..

What the experts said…

“A decent and absorbent doormat at your front door will help with keeping your floors cleaner, so don’t skimp on the welcome mat!”

Creating a productive and calm environment.

Cleaning & Tidying

This one seems obvious, but for you to reap the benefits of your decorations and furnishings, your bedroom and living spaces need to be clean. Most people don’t like cleaning and tend to allow their mountainous floordrobe to become a bedroom staple. But a messy or dirty room can be more than just an eyesore, it can hinder productivity and concentration too.


Don’t bundle your clothes onto a chair or leave them scattered around your floor, utilise your storage space and put them away. If you have pegs or a coat stand, hang up your jackets and waterproofs. Dirty clothes should always be put in a dirty laundry bag that’s placed discretely in the corner of your room. Don’t let those dirty socks dominate your space or worse, your air. Decluttering should apply to all surfaces around your house. Rather than leaving your personal belongings on the coffee table, find a place for everything.

What the experts said…

“Bedding should be washed once a week, and your carpet should be hoovered regularly too. If you’ve had a spillage or dropped something on the floor, sweep/mop it up straight away. And remember, don’t put it down, put it away”.

Feng Shui

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese tradition that originates from thousands of years ago. The basic principles of harmonious and balanced positioning of furniture will help the flow of ‘natural rhythms.’ A room with good Feng Shui is supposed to bring good fortune and health, both are beneficial to the average student, so you might as well put any scepticism to one side and give it a go. In the practice of Feng Shui, it is believed that the organisation of your possessions promotes positivity and peace of mind.


Potted plants are an important part of Feng Shui. It’s said that having plants in a house gives a good flow to chi. Jade, Areca Palm, and Lucky Bamboo are all said to be favourable plants so get yourself one of those and thank us later for the much-improved flow to your chi.

Other Feng Shui fixes include:


Embracing natural light to increase productivity.


Displaying pictures of family and friends to increase positivity and invoke happy memories.


Keeping your laptop and desk as far from your bed as possible. It’s super important to separate your workspace from your living and relaxation space, especially if you’ve got to do these in the same room.


Choosing ‘warm’ colours such a red and yellow near your desk to enhance stimulation, and ‘cool’ colours such as purples and greens near your bed to bolster relaxation.

Styles & Trends


Adj: socially unconventional in an artistic way.


Bohemian is an extremely popular style at the moment. The combination of antique home furnishing and charity shop findings represent people who live an unconventional lifestyle, speaking to those who love to travel, live their life freely, and love colour and fun. Defining features include floor pillows, bright colours, and organic materials, creating a warm and inviting environment that can be done cheaply with the use of pre-loved furniture and accessories.


Adj: existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind.


Neutral colour palettes and ethically sourced and environmentally friendly furniture and accessories made of bamboo, wicker, and rattan are key features of this natural style. This one’s for students who are conscious of the impact they have on the environment and enjoy the colours and materials that the natural world has to offer. House plants are used to oxygenate the rooms and have a calming influence on residents and visitors alike.


Adj: relating to Scandinavia, its people, or their languages.


Functionality and beauty at an affordable price are the defining features of the Scandinavian/Ikea movement. This is extremely popular with students because it gives them an alternative to high-priced furnishings. Natural light and clean aesthetics define this trend in interior design, encouraging peaceful energy to all who choose it.


Adj: denoting people reaching young adulthood in the early 21st century.


The Millennial style of interior design is minimalistic – simplicity over complexity. Plants are used to add a natural element to this style. Other features such as wall art and brass accessories define the millennial trend.


The most important thing to remember when styling your student room is to choose a design that makes you happiest and you like the look of the most. Duh!

But why bother?

You may look around your room and think “it’s fine”, and that it’s not worth the effort to look around fo furniture or artwork, etc.


…but, you’re completely and utterly wrong and here’s why…


Designing your workspaces to suit your preferences will increase your productivity. For example, introducing a desk lamp can offer softer lighting, eliminating the harshness of your main light. Dimmer lighting creates a calmer space and is known to increase productivity.


Having clutter organised in newly purchased storage spaces means fewer distractions. By clearing your study space of room rubble and random junk, you will solely have your laptop, books, or pen and paper to focus on. Keep your study spaces for studying, and your storage spaces for storing. Makes sense. Also, storing loose items in specific spaces means you know exactly where all your possessions are. Think about how much time you will save now that you know where you keep your highlighters!


It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep is key to productivity. Changes in lighting can facilitate improved sleep – introducing softer lighting and removing harsh blue lighting will cut glare which interferes with your sleep cycle.


Naturally, your mind is more relaxed in a familiar space and styled to your taste, so personalising your student bedroom will help facilitate a better and longer night’s sleep.


Also, simply changing bedding and cushions in your bedroom will make you physically more comfortable.

What the experts said…

“If you can afford it, blackout blinds are an incredibly easy way to promote sleep and a healthy sleeping pattern.”



Your environment is detrimental to your wellbeing and mindfulness and, in turn, your health. Lots of people aren’t aware of how much their surroundings impact their day to day life and behaviour. Keep your home clean, tidy, organised and styled to your taste and it’s likely your whole mindset would improve in some way.


The simple fact is that the more stable your environment, the more stable your mind will be. You’ll find everything just that little bit easier, from getting out of bed in the morning to eating the right things to having the motivation to achieve what you aim to each and every day.

Tidy Room, Tidy Mind

Keeping your space tidy will help you keep a clearer head. Even if you don’t study at home and prefer to work in the university library or elsewhere on campus, tidiness in your living space helps you to relax.


This will allow you to separate your work time from relaxation time, which helps to ease your thoughts and improve your sleep, further improving your work.

What the experts said…

“A student home is a home all the same. It might not be in your hometown, or with your family around, but the more you make it feel like home, the more you’ll enjoy your time at university!”

Win £500 to give your room a glow-up!

Proud of your student digs or know someone who is? If you think your room is nice, prove it! Post a photo of it on social media, tag us in it and be in with a chance of winning £500 in vouchers to perfect your pad and titivate your territory during term time. Competition ends 31st March 2022


*terms & conditions apply, see below for details.

Competition Terms & Conditions