Back to Uni: How to Decorate your Space
Going back to uni requires quite a lot of moving, and finding all of the things you need. Here are my tips to decorate your space at uni sustainably, as well as some recommendations on items to get. As a disclaimer, I don’t have all the items I’ve listed, they’re just products I’ve found that are more sustainable items than those you would usually find.
Tip 1: Use what you (or someone else) has already
Before you buy new things, see if you already have things you can take with you. Maybe you have some succulents or prints you can bring with you. Also, see if anyone you know (friends, family) have anything they no longer need or want that they could give you. You don’t lose anything by asking!
Tip 2: Upscale Items.
Upscaling items is a great way to d.i.y. and to make full use of things you already have but may not need for its intended purpose. I’ve recently upscaled a wooden storage tray into a case to display my photos by painting it white and putting a string across the middle to hang my photos up.
Tip 3: Buy Second Hand
Buying second hand is another way to reduce the number of new purchases you need. There are lots of places you can find a variety of items, charity shops, eBay, gumtree and marketplace are all good places to start. As well as this being better for the environment, it will also save you a bit of money! Since items are usually cheaper second hand, it’s well worth looking.
Tip 4: Support Local Artists
Supporting local artists and finding smaller businesses means you can find more unique items, and the materials are usually sourced more locally, meaning it’s better for the environment too. My personal favourite place to look is on Etsy, there are lots of prints which are good for adding some decoration to your room.
Plants & Succulents
Plants and succulents are scientifically proven to improve your mood and also improve the air quality in your room, plus they look nice too. I recommend finding plants at your local garden centre, but you can find them pretty much anywhere these days.
As in most rented accommodation, you can’t use candles. So, here are my favourite room scents I’ve come across which don’t contain any nasty chemicals and are more natural, meaning they’re much better for the environment.
These room mists are made up of a floral water base, a blend of pure essential oils and a natural coconut-based emulsifier to help the oils and the water blend. The packaging is made of a glass bottle and recyclable plastic lid so a lot better than if it was all plastic, also the ingredients are a lot more natural than usual room mists. A small bottle of this costs £10 and a full-sized bottle costs £19 so it retails around the same price as a typical good quality room mist.
This is an organic reed diffuser, hand-poured in London using pure essential oils which are exceptionally long-lasting, working well for up to six months. It comes in three different scents so there’s enough choice and is only made from reusable glass. It retails a bit more expensive than shop-bought ones, at £40, however, bearing in mind that shop ones can be £19 and only last 6 weeks, it is a lot better value. This is going to be the one that I’m going to try.
Cushion covers are a nice way to add some colour and home-touch to a room. Here are my favourite ethical cushion covers I’ve found, in a range of different designs.
This striped cushion cover is my favourite design of all the ones I’ve found, as it is a very classic design. It is made from eco-friendly linen and cotton yarn so it is made from a lot more sustainable materials than other conventional cushion covers. This is a little bit more expensive, coming in at around £42 for one cover. However, as they are a classic design they could be a well worth investment if they fit your style (and it will last longer too).
This cushion cover is a bolder print and is more affordable than the previous one. It is a fairtrade product handmade in India, so it ensures that the workers are paid a fair price. This is definitely the cover for you if you prefer more colourful designs.
These pillow covers are simple yet classic designs, and are budget-friendly, at about £15 per cover. They’re made in the UK and entirely from linen and come in lots of really nice colours, so are definitely a good budget option. As well as this, it is still sustainable and good for the environment too.
This pale grey linen natural blanket is handmade using ethical and cruelty-free 100% linen fabric. It’s a classic design and colour and is a great investment piece. This is definitely a piece I’m going to invest in when my current blankets become unusable.
This fairtrade throw is a bold pink and white colour and is a bit cheaper than the previous one. This is a lovely looking and budget-friendly option.
This rug is a great way to add some comfort into your uni room. It’s made from environmentally-friendly PET yarn which is made with 100% recycled plastic bottles that have been turned into fibres and then spun into useable yarn. This rug is fairtrade and is also on sale right now, so if you’re looking for a new rug, then this is a good one to go for!
This print is made by a local artist in the UK and printed on FSC certified materials. I love this print and I’m going to be buying it to decorate my new room! This is also really affordable, starting at £6 for its smallest size, so it is definitely budget-friendly.
I hope these tips and product recommendations have been useful, and that it gives you some ideas on how to choose more sustainable items when you need to decorate your space.