Six steps to make your room feel like home (on a budget)

With the prospect of home ownership a distant dream for the majority of millennials, many young people opt to rent a room in a shared flat or student accommodation. While tenancies can be short, research shows that a poor home environment can very quickly become a source of stress – and that’s the last thing you need, when studying or starting out in a new job.

Fortunately, as an experienced interior stylist and lecturer in textiles, I can reassure you that there are all sorts of fantastic things you can do to help your room feel like a home – and you don’t have to spend a lot to do it. First thing’s first: come up with a “colour story” and try to stick with it. A good way to do this is to pick three colours.

The first colour will act as the main colour, taking up about 60% of the space, while the second will act as a complementary colour, taking up 30%, and the third will be an accent, using only about 10% of the space.

Once you have decided on your colour story, you need to start thinking about all the other objects in the room, and how they interact with one another. Apply your colour proportions to them, thinking about how much space the different elements take up.


Walls take up a large proportion of your room and act as the backdrop to everything else, so the colour of them can make a big difference. Get in touch with your landlord to find out if you’re allowed to paint your walls – and offer to restore the original colour when you leave.

Colours can help to convey a mood, so think carefully about the paint you’ll use – do you want your room to feel lively? Then pick a bright colour such as yellow, pink or blue. Do you want your room to have a more relaxed feel? Then opt for more muted tones.

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