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Ways to make your halls more homely to tackle homesickness at university

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Featured illustration: Georgia Harmey

Moving away from home for the first time to go to university is a massive change. While for some, newfound independence can be exciting, others may experience feelings of homesickness and quickly start to miss home comforts, friends and family.

NUS research shows up to 70% of students experience homesickness to some extent within in their first two or three weeks at university. And nearly one in four students at universities in the UK have felt lonely “most” or “all of the time”, according to a 2022 Student Academic Experience Survey.

Although homesickness is common and can be a natural part of moving away from home, there are some steps you can take to make your university accommodation feel more homely to help ease these feelings. Decorating your university room in your own style can make a huge impact to your mindset and help you settle in.

Some accommodation buildings do have strict rules on what you can and can’t use in your room, but there are a number of small changes you can make to improve your surroundings.

We round up some simple ideas to help you get started.


Photos are a great way to decorate your room. They capture all the memories you have made so far with your friends and family, and you can add more throughout the year. Usually, rooms will have a cork board which you could use to display all of your favourite pics. Free Prints is great app for printing on a budget. Sign up for a free account and you will be entitled to 45 free prints each month, subject to a small delivery charge.


Candles are not usually allowed in university accommodation as the fire alarms can be very sensitive and be set off easily. A great alternative to candles is a reed diffuser. They come in a range of scents and can last up to three months and make good decoration on a shelf. Many supermarkets and shops stock reed diffusers so they are easy to find and a good inexpensive purchase. Dunelm have a wide range of reed diffusers online.

LED and fairy lights

Another classic way to decorate your room is by adding LED or fairy lights. LED light have become increasingly popular over the past few years as some are able to change colour by using a remote control. Fairy lights can add warm tones of light to your room and make it feel cosy.

Artificial plants

As we all know being a uni student, it can be difficult to manage time and sometimes we can forget to do certain things. Artificial plants are a good way to add some greenery into your room for minimal effort. They will always look fresh and there is no added responsibility of ensuring that you water them every day.

Blankets and throws

Blankets and throws are a great finishing touch to make your room look and feel more homely. This cosy addition will give you both comfort and the feeling of home. Primark in the city centre has a large budget-friendly homeware section and online retailer The Range have some affordable options too.

These are just a few of the ways you can make your university halls more homely, but there are many more ideas you can try. Search Pinterest for more inspiration and ideas!

If you are struggling with homesickness or feeling lonely support is available.

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Megan O'Sullivan

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