Student Style: Updating Your Bedroom on a Budget


Whether you’re in your first year at university and you’ve just moved into halls, or you’re in your second/third year and living with friends in a house share, you probably want to put a unique stamp on your bedroom and decorate it to your taste.
We understand that student loans do not really stretch to pieces of trendy furniture, cool pieces of artwork and stylish furnishings, so we’ve rounded up some of our favourite room restyling tips for those on a budget.  Luckily, there are plenty of fun ways to update your space without spending too much money.

PS: all of our tips are renter friendly, so you can be certain you’ll get your deposit back at the end of the year!

1) First things first, choose your colour scheme

We recently published a comprehensive guide on choosing a colour scheme for your living room overhaul – but the same strategy can be applied to your bedroom update too.  Simply trawl through Pinterest for a little inspiration, choose your “base” colour, then decide the other colours you’d like to pair with it.

When it’s time to go shopping, stick with your colour scheme – you’ll thank us for it later!

Neutral bedroom ©  Favaro JR. Favaro Junior, Flickr

Neutral colour scheme © Favaro JR. Favaro Junior, Flickr

2) Gallery wall

In most student accommodation, you’re unable to decorate.  Painting and wallpapering isn’t allowed, you cannot hang pictures and blue-tac is a no-no.  There’s not much you can do with boring, bland, beige walls.  Luckily, there is one option you can try!  Install your very own “gallery wall” using washi tape. This miraculous wonder is simply a masking tape (or painter’s tape) from Japan.  In true Japanese style, it’s decorated with cute, fun patterns and comes in an assortment of colours, which will brighten up your room just as much as the pictures themselves!  Washi tape is made from natural fibres, it is very strong and it will not leave a trace on the wall*.  It can be purchased from many craft shops in the UK, including Hobbycraft.

Here’s some inspiration:

washi tape art frame

Start collecting pictures out of magazines and interesting postcards.  Love the Audrey Hepburn quote in the photo on the right, “Paris is always a good idea”?  You can find similar quotes online and print them off at home!

* We advise testing washi tape in a small, inconspicuous place first, as we cannot vouch that every brand of tape won’t leave marks on your wall.

3) Wall decals

By using a removable wall decal, you can brighten up your room within minutes, for very little cost.

Here at FADs we stock a range of decals and fun wall stickers, including Banksy-inspired artwork, various pop culture icons like Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix, plus a whole assortment of random, wonderful designs.   Here’s our Union Jack bunting sticker in a very neutral-themed bedroom:

british union jack flag bunting wall stickers

Our Union Jack bunting wall stickers add a personal touch to any bedroom!

Bonus:  take a look at our post about “practical” wall stickers, too.  It’s a must-see for any medical student, biologist, chemist or physicist!

4) Create your own pieces of artwork

Create a unique piece of artwork too add that personal touch to your bedroom.  These DIY projects are inexpensive, but they’ll add a lot of colour and personality to your room.  Crafty DIY projects also give you a fun way to spend an otherwise gloomy, rainy afternoon:

String Art

String art is really trendy right now, and it’s SO easy to do.  All you need is a piece of wood (go in to B&Q or a similar shop and ask if they have any off cuts), some “embroidery floss” (also known as embroidery thread), a printer (to print the design template) and a hammer.  You can design your name, a heart shape motif or something totally random.  Here’s one tutorial to help you get started.  You can find plenty of inspiration on Pinterest too.

String Art DIY

Canvas Art

You can also grab a plain white canvas and paint it with your own design – the world is literally your oyster when it comes to design.

Not allowed to fix artwork to the wall?  It doesn’t matter – you can lean your canvas up against a dresser or cabinet, as the ladies from the A Beautiful Mess blog have done:

A Beautiful Mess DIY Canvas Artwork

Harking back to our original tip in this article, you can see the canvases work beautifully with the girls’ home decor – they have stuck with a colour theme of black, white, yellow and green.

Primed artist’s canvases are very cheap.  You can purchase them from the Home Bargain/BM Bargain-type stores for about £2 a piece.  If there’s a “The Works” shop in your city, you’ll know they sell really cheap art supplies too. All you need for this project is your canvas, some bright acrylic paints, a brush and a little imagination – an inexpensive and easy project!

5) Upcycle an old piece of furniture:

Head on over to your local charity furniture store and find an old wooden chair, side table or cabinet to refurbish.  You can repaint the chair in a bright shade of colour, which will give your room that wow factor.

Here’s a little inspiration from Virginia of – as well as giving you plenty of expert tips and inspiration, her blog post also details some of her furniture painting failures: (hint: do not forget to prime and sand your furniture!)

furniture painting tips

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