How to personalize your student dorm
It's easy to think that some bedding and a poster is all you need for student accommodation. But often it's not enough, especially when you are getting to grips with a new city, a new timetable and drunken, late nights as well. By catering to all five senses, you can create a truly relaxing space for very little effort or expense.
Houseplants really do freshen the air and immediately inform your nose that you are home. Either go for plants that improve air quality such as the spider plant or peace lily (added bonus: they are really low maintenance!) or scented ones, such as jasmine, geranium and tea rose begonia. All of these plants require a windowsill with lots of light, so if you drew the short straw on accommodation, consider a good-quality reed diffuser.
Focus on three things you are likely to use or touch every time you come into your room. A key bowl by the door, a throw on your bed and a cushion for your chair. They are literally touch-points and reinforce your sense of sanctuary whenever you enter your room. As an added bonus, the key bowl cuts down on clutter and you can use the throw to quickly hide a messy pile from visitors. A machine-washable rug offers the same option to your feet and can be picked up for pennies from charity shops and warehouses.
LED desk lamps are cheap to pick up these days and can quickly switch between a bright light for work and a softer glow for relaxation. If you like the campsite vibe (but you are banned from using open flames), you can buy battery-operated tea lights online that work just as well without the safety risks.
Also, make use of your noticeboard. It's not just for calendar deadlines or social events: you can also dedicate a portion to visual ideas. Humans work intensely on sight, so if you are doing a long piece of research or a dissertation project, start pinning related images to the board. It's a great way to jog your unconscious and make links between different ideas.
A decent pair of headphones is a must, both for blocking out the world and for focusing on your movie or game (because you will be streaming movies from Netflix, right?). Background sounds can tip the balance between feeling relaxed and feeling miserably alone. Consider asking for a small Bluetooth speaker as a gift which will sync to your phone or computer for radio, music or even seashore sounds to soothe your ears.
Drinking water is important, but usually too boring to remember (unless you have a massive hangover). However, there is research to show you will improve both your memory and attention span whilst studying if you stay hydrated. Make it easy on yourself with a bedside water bottle and your choice of juice or cordial beside it.
University is one of the most intense times of your life, with the freedom to experience and explore everything. Give yourself the best shot at it, with a good bedroom retreat.