By Jessica Lowndes

All to often when moving into new accommodation, students are faced with a room that resembles little more than a bare brown box. Why should we have to conform to these bland, characterless spaces with an abundance of bare walls? With a little bit of TLC you can covert any room into your own personal haven, and it really doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

There are a huge array of charity shops and boutiques lining the streets of Bristol, where you can pick up just a few items that will not only brighten up your room but will help to make it your ‘own’.

Looking for a retro feel? Try RePsycho on Gloucester Road. Here you will find a treasure chest of 1950s, 60s and 70s memorabilia, including vintage lamps, furniture and general knick-knacks that will be sure to set your room apart from any peers. Just a few doors up from RePsycho, Shanti sells handmade Indian wall hangings, rag rugs, and lanterns that will put you back no more than fifteen pounds, and add a touch of the orient to your living space.

Why not draw out your inner domestic god/goddess, pick up some material from the Scrap Store in St Werburgh’s, and make your own colourful bunting or custom made cushion covers – a perfect activity for those sleepy winter afternoons. You could also have a look around your local charity shops to see what further gems you can locate?

During my second year I found a fantastic retro 60s lamp for a mere four pounds that looks great on any bed stand, and creates a cosy atmosphere. If you’re looking for a quick solution to cover up those horrible bland walls, grab a computer and visit www.supernice.co.uk. Here you can find a wall sticker that will cost you around thirty pounds. It takes just a couple of minutes to put up, and leaves behind no marks. This is one of the easiest way to put your stamp on a place.

If you pulled the short straw when moving into your new house, you’re most likely in the presence of a pigeonhole bedroom, under the stairs or in the attic. Don’t threat though, here are a few handy tips for making the most of what you’ve got! A good place to start, is to try and make the room look bigger. A large mirror is perfect for this. Mirrors however can be expensive. Your best shot is to pay a visit to one of Bristol’s many tips and reclaimer yards.

In the case of very small rooms this is the one time that white walls can be a blessing. Pale, neutral colours help again to make a room look larger, so try your best not to clutter the room too much.

If you decide to keep your walls neutral, then make the most of dressing your bed and funk the room up with colourful bed spreads, cushions and throws. You could always try and be ambitious and recreate your own quilt using scrap material.

If you’re blessed with a healthier budget, or are just looking to splash out, then Urban Outfitters at Cabot Circus stocks beautiful boutique style throws.

I suppose we shouldn’t forget the small matter of studying. A desk is an integral part of any students bedroom. Whether there is a desk already in place, or you have to source your own; make it an environment in which you will enjoy getting your head into a book and where writing will be made easier.

A vintage school desk can be currently found in Allsorts antique shop on Cheltenham road, perfect for any creative arts student. If you have a simple desk, try decorating it with a ‘statement lamp’ to illuminate your work, and your mind! No one needs any additional distractions, so most importantly, keep your work area clean! When it comes to studying, a messy desk will only lead to a messy mind.

There’s no denying that a certain Swedish superstore in Eastville will help solve all your storage needs for a fraction of the price.

Feng shui expert, Rodika Tchi states that a bedroom should promote a harmonious life style that calms you and directs your flow of energy. All of which can be nothing but a positive input when trying to study and get through the hassles of iversity! So, roll up your Laurence Llewelyn Bowen sleeves and get stuck into some interior design!

Photo courtesy of Luke Caddel