Accomodation

Student accommodation is often pretty basic, so what can you do to liven up your living space?

Ok, you're broke, the cell they've given you to live in is the pits and you've very little money. Don't panic! Decorating on a shoestring is possible with a little imagination. Before you succumb to the lure of Ikea, here are a few ideas for DIY on a budget.

Most student accommodation is basic and soulless, usually with a single bed, table or perhaps a desk, wardrobe, notice board and a chair.

The best way to overcome the lack of colour in a typical student room is to use fabric and a staple gun, while a novel idea for sticking up posters is to use toothpaste. When you leave, just wet the poster and the toothpaste will come off the walls.

The most inexpensive fabrics are the naturals - mattress ticking, calico, butter muslin and canvas. The bonus with these fabrics is they can be dyed easily and will take colour well. The downside is they can shrink up to 10 per cent, so take this into account when buying. If you are looking for an opulent environment, try sari shops. You can still buy sari fabric at £1 a yard. Velvet is another sensuous fabric. It is expensive when new, but cheap second-hand curtains work a treat and are very warm.

Create atmosphere using candles. Ikea is one of the cheapest outlets - especially for their tea lights.

To create a minimalist feel, use neutral tones and natural materials, including stones found on the beach and baskets from charity shops. Oxfam and other charity shops are great for old throws, blankets, etc which can be used for their original purpose or used for covering unsightly furniture or as wall hangings.

Woollen blankets can be machine dyed, which will give a new colour. Use them as throws or cut them up to make cushion covers.

Storage boxes can be expensive but you can make your own by asking in shoe shops for left-over boxes. Paint with white emulsion and then decorate according to your taste. Save the cardboard drums that crisps such as Pringles come in and then paint them. Great for storing knick-knacks.

If you have a generous parent, look at Space 2 which does state-of-the-art computing furniture starting at £149. Find them on at their website www.space2.com Buying online you get a £5 discount.

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