Revamping their bedroom will help mark the new era if they’re still living at home. But if they’re moving into student accommodation, turn the space into a little ‘home from home’ to help them settle more quickly and ensure they’re well set up.
Don’t despair if you arrive to find they’ve not been allocated that airy, modern room advertised in the college brochure after all – but instead have something resembling a hamster cage. If you’re well prepared beforehand, you’ll have plenty of practical essentials – from bedding to towels, colourful accessories and personal touches – that will soon transform it into a happy haven. So start shopping now and be sure to include a supermarket sweep – their impressive ranges at budget prices are ideal for fast makeovers.
Take a degree in student style with our top picks for an A-grade room…

Get the basics right
“University rooms are notoriously small, so it’s about making the most of the space you have, with shelving, storage units and your desk area,” says Wil Law, home design stylist, John Lewis. “Once you’ve got the basic kit, you can make it look good quite cheaply, with colourful accessories and displays of art and photos, which don’t even need to be framed. They can be pegged up on wire or string across a window or door.”

No desk – no problem
If you’re studying from home, upgrading the desk you’ve had since secondary school needn’t break the bank – or a slim ladder desk could be a great addition to any space. One word of caution: do make sure you have a proper adjustable desk chair, so those long hours bent over a laptop or keyboard don’t cause aches and pains.

Banish clutter – rock colour
In reality, desks soon get piled high with books and papers – but at least they can start off organised and orderly, if you supply some nifty files and storage boxes.

Picture this
You’re unlikely to be allowed to hang pictures on walls if you’re in halls (or a rented room), but propping up prints on a shelf, or on the floor, is a great way to show off your personality and inject colour.

Zoom in
Make sure you have a great backdrop for Zoom lectures. Some greenery with with faux or real plants is a must, and feature some of your interests, with a selection of photos or music, or colour-code your books.

Memories of home
Even a drab room can be brightened up with a notice board full of photos and cards that remind them of home, and some fun accessories.

Bright ideas
Multi-functional kit is great in a small space – like this charger lamp. And if there’s more room, or it’s a first house-share, invest in a chair that doubles as a spare single bed.

Hang out
Start them off with a tidy room, with clothes storage solutions. (You never know – they may give up using the floor as a wardrobe, if you’re not around to clear up!)

Punchy style
Laundry will be way down the list of priorities for freshers. A laundry bag or basket, so all their washing can be bundled out of sight and tackled when they finally run out of clothes, is essential. It’ll also make it easier for them to bring it home to you at the end of term!

Grub ‘n stuff
When they’ve discovered they can’t live on takeaways forever, the cooking will start! Having all the essentials will help make it simple. Washing up afterwards is a harder skill to acquire!
By all means, buy them a kettle and toaster, but spend the minimum as items left in communal kitchens can tend to go walkabout.

Bonding and chilling
Beds double as seating in student rooms, and will be the focal point in a compact space, so they need to look the business. Gift them a generous supply of duvet sets – raid the supermarkets for brilliantly budget buys in bedding and towels. Opt for dark colours, which are less likely to show marks or spilt drink stains.

Stack ‘n Store
It’s impossible to provide too much storage, and win-win if it looks good as well as being practical. Don’t overlook other solutions too though, like under-bed boxes.

Room treats
It’s the little details which make a room a ‘home’. Doting grandparents could indulge their favourite student with a couple of eye-catching buys that shriek style.

Banish the blues
Feeling homesick in the first few days is normal, but you could help speed up the recovery process if you leave them a ‘cheer up’ kit: a fun mug for their favourite drink, a cosy throw and a cheerful poster. (Maybe parcel it all up and label ‘for emergencies’ then hide it away in a cupboard, so they can find it when you’ve gone). PA/TPN