Decorating your living space on a student budget

Living Room

Moving into the alien space of university is hard enough, but buying items for your new dorm room or at doubles the trouble. At the end of each day, we deserve to go back to a room that simply feels like us. But we have needs such as office supplies and wants like that amazing poster with a price just beyond the reach of our bank accounts.

Even little things like extra pillows and clothing hangers, which aren’t necessarily designed to fit into your decor, are a hassle. Budgets and time restrictions conspire to limit our options, and we end up with stark, uncomfortable environments. Luckily, the internet has boundless opportunities to find exactly what we want. Here is a list of great websites and items that are affordable, necessary additions to your space.

Mattress topper

You won’t see your mattress topper, but you will feel it. A good mattress topper can make even the thinnest mattress feel a thousand times better. Toppers range in price, but you can find ones for as low as £15. A quick search on Amazon or Argos reveals a multitude of comfortable options ranging from top-of-the-line to basic.

Clothing organizer

Trying to find a fresh pair of socks amidst a myriad of dirty clothes can really add to your discomfort as you sprint to class with just minutes to spare. While we don’t have to be perfectly neat all the time, finding a place to put your clothes is always a good idea. Ikea sells a good range of boxes for clothing organisation, and at £6 for six boxes, the store offers a good deal.

Cast iron skillet

You will need this no matter who you are or what you cook. A cast iron skillet can match the combined efforts of all of your pans, baking sheets and even pie plates. It can be used to grill, cook, steam and even make caramel. If you don’t partake in elaborate cooking and baking on a daily basis, don’t spend all of your money on a huge pile of cookware that you will just have to move around your various flats over the next four years. All that you really need to make palatable, and perhaps even delicious, food is a soup pot and cast iron pan.

La Redoute

La Redoute sells cheap, modern furniture with clever designs for all those spaces that are hard to decorate. The store’s furniture accommodates a variety of aesthetics, and you can find many pieces for under £50. Prices range depending on your taste. If you order from this company, be aware that it can sometimes take longer than five days to deliver orders –– but when the order finally arrives, the furniture is easily assembled.

H&M Living

H&M Living is a great alternative to more expensive websites. It sells a variety of smaller decor items, such as pillows, vases, soap dispensers, toothbrush holders and much more. H&M Living is an affordable yet stylish website. It’s the perfect place to find those extra things that make your space feel more like home.


Amara is a luxury website for your living space. While many of the products have starting prices of £30 and upwards, Amara has an ongoing sale section where you can find a variety of high-quality items for much less. Of course, even on sale, you have to be choosy, as items can range from £2 to £500. For example, we found luxury towels marked down to £14 and a high-end notebook priced at £4.

In the non-sale section, you can find items like a multicoloured compartment storage box for £5.


Ikea is always a good option for cheap, basic necessities.

Look to this Swedish powerhouse for big furniture buys and small, extra items that make you more comfortable, such as coasters, towel racks, cushions and more.


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