Home Goodnight Guru How to make your kid’s university digs feel like home How to make your kid’s university digs feel like home How to make your kid’s university digs feel like home Give your teen the best start to university life, by helping them settle into their new pad properly… In university halls, every lacklustre bedroom is the same, so you’ll need to get creative and inject some personality to make your kids’ space their own. While they’ll have their own ideas about how to revamp their new room, here’s how you can point them in the right direction and make them as comfy as possible – giving you one less thing to worry about now they’ve flown the nest. 1. Stay until they’re fully unpacked Tackle this chore together and pronto. Hanging their clothes in the wardrobe and putting course books on the shelf, will make the place dramatically more homely (and that means, less daunting). Prop the bedroom door open, so new housemates can say hello, and get your boxes, bin bags and suitcases emptied. With those out of the way, the room will feel bigger – giving you more space to play with. 2. Grab a mattress protector Their university mattress has likely seen a lot of action, as many as 8 strangers could have slept on it before your teen. You could replace it with a quick and easy rolled mattress (delivered next day), or if the mattress has to stay throw a mattress protector on, which will even get you change from a £20. 3. Pop a mattress topper on If they’re sleeping on a lumpy, bumpy old mattress, how can they be expected to concentrate in class? Make their firm bed softer, or their soft bed more supportive, with a mattress topper, so they can sleep properly before (not during) their seminar. 4. Cover with bed linen Your teen will want nothing more than a comfy inviting bed, especially after a night out, so fresh, clean new bed linen is a must – no embarrassing stains or patterns their new housemates could see. Fitted sheets even save them the bother of making their bed properly each morning, because they stay tidy and in place thanks to their elasticated corners. Sticking to classic white or ivory sheets mean you can experiment with prints and patterns elsewhere, adding one or two standout pieces to give the room an instant focal point. 5. Think ahead to winter Adding a fleecy woollen bed throw will keep them warm through the winter months – helping to trim down their heating bill, while giving them more money for books or booze. 6. Bring your own curtains Your teen’s university bedroom will come complete with curtains, of course, but they could be boring or worse, thin and unable to block out sleep-disrupting light. 7. String fairy lights up Candles aren’t allowed in most university halls, but fairy lights are, so string them up to give the place a warm and cosy feel. They come in all kinds of shapes, colours and sizes (often powered safely by batteries). You could also stick electric tea lights inside of jars for a similar effect. 8. Roll out a rug It’s the best way to cover questionable carpet stains or chipped lino, to make the room feel as good as new, but remind them to keep it away from the bathroom (if they have an en-suite) – otherwise they risk growing a fungal colony. 9. Choose cushions with changeable covers A throw and some cushions will instantly update your teens university pad, but choose cushions with changeable covers, so you can update them with the latest trend. 9. Hang posters on the wall Student Union freshers’ fairs will have loads of cheap posters, all you need to provide is the white tack to stick them up. Everyone goes for the Che Guevara, Keep Calm and Carry on or Nouveau Absinthe / Black Cat ones, so try to sway them towards something more unique. Posters are also great for covering up any marks left by old tenants. 10. Print treasured photos Pictures pegged on string, hung in frames or arranged in quirky patterns on the wall will remind them that they’re not alone. A nice way to do it is to help them print their favourite pictures as Polaroids. 11. Hang a shoe organiser on the back of the door No, it’s not for their shoes, though you could stick some in there, it’s a clever way of creating extra storage for absolutely anything. 12. Use the same air fresheners you have at home A quick spritz of a familiar scent will replace the funky new room smell with something recognisably homely, helping them to settle in. 13. Pick some plant palls Now you may wonder whether they can keep themselves alive, let alone a plant, but you know, actually, you teen will be fine and dandy. NASA proved that plants bust stress (ideal during term time), while keeping the air fresh in their bedroom, by filtering out pollution and mould. If you’re optimistic, think pink and ivory Jasmine blossoms, Gerbera Daisies for their university bedroom. Or opt for hardy succulents and cacti that are also bang on trend at the moment. Cover image copyright University of Exeter, licensed for use under Creative Commons. Fairy lights copyright Stuart Caie licensed for use under Creative Commons.