A Guide To Decorating Your Room

Decorating is one way to show your personality and to make a space that really feels like you and that you can share with your friends when they come to visit.

While not all of us can just buy a whole new bedroom from the IKEA catalogue, or call up Colin and Justin to do the work for us, here are some ideas for decorating your home at minimum cost.


You don't have to be Picasso to spruce up your space. Painting your walls is a great way to change the look of a room.

White or light neutral coloured walls are often a really good idea if you change your mind quite a bit and you can bring colour into your room other ways via bed covers, curtains and furniture.

Some paints, like Dulux, have websites where you can view all the colours of paint and even decorate a virtual room. They may send you samples of the colours as well so that you can see what they look like in your room.

Most paint can be bought in sample sizes so you can test the colours out on part of your wall - a good idea if you’re planning to paint the room a very bright or very dark colour!


  • Dark colours make a room feel small and light colours make a room feel bigger.
  • Likewise, painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls will make the room feel smaller.
  • Check out a colour wheel for inspiration. Colours on the opposite ends of the wheel go together well and better than you may think - like yellow and lilac!
  • You’ll need different paint for painting plaster walls and for painting wood you might want to look into gloss.
  • You can get a special kind of tape for use around the skirting boards or window sills while you paint too, visit your local hardware store or home retailers.
  • Make sure you've got permission! If you're living with your parents or guardians, make sure they're ok with you turning your room into a canvas.
  • Equally, depending on the type of housing you stay in, check what you're allowed to do with the landlord or housing association.
  • If you don't fancy painting the entire room but have pretty boring walls, why not try out only painting one main wall? You can also experiment with using wallpaper to really bring things to life.
  • You can also try a crinkled wall effect. Once you’ve painted a wall, press sheets of plastic wrap on the wet paint and then pull it off. You should be left with a kind of ‘crinkled’ look in your paint. This might take some practice to get just right, so be patient!
  • Stencils can be a really easy way to spice up your room. You can buy them at paint stores or craft shops, or you can make your own. You can apply the paint with a sponge for a more ‘spray-painted’ look, or paint it on for smooth, sharp edges.

Hang It Up

Once you’ve got your walls painted, you’ll probably want to put things up on them. Maybe a collage of photos is your style, or maybe you have band posters that are itching to be blu-tac'd up.


Posters are a great, cheap way to decorate but if you want to make them look really smart, think about getting a frame for them. You can get large glass frames for pretty cheap and they'll, protect them and make them look more professional. The great thing about these frames, too, is that you can just change the poster if you get sick of it.

You can also get poster hangers, which just fit across the top of your poster to hold it straight and keep the edges from curling in.


Having a whole wall of photos of your friends and family can really make your room feel more personal. Sometimes though, all the tape, blu-tac and pins can leave the wall looking pretty rubbish. A great way around this is to get a piece of cork-board at your local hardware store. It’s cheap and light and you can just fix it on your wall to make one giant notice board for storing your important papers, cards, and photos.

You can get loads of really cool photo frames as well, or you can make a mobile and hang your photos from it. Think about enlarging some of your favourites, or getting them switched to black and white to make them look really sharp.

Do make sure if you're hanging things up, that you use the appropriate fixtures for the type of wall you have though!


You’d be amazed what a difference lighting can make to the feel of a room! If you’re not allowed to change your lights, ask about getting a couple of lamps to change the atmosphere.

You can get coloured lightbulbs to make your room feel more mellow or just different. A string of fairy lights strung around the wall can be a real feature of your room too.

Candles are also great for creating a more homey feel - just remember to always put them out after you're done.


If you’ve got room, you might want to pick up a few bits of second-hand furniture to fill out your room. They might be cheap, but sometimes they look it too! Don’t let that put you off, though. Covering furniture can be really easy.

Get a big piece of fabric or an old sheet, or buy one in the sales, and cover a couch or chair with it. If you want, you can secure it in place with some tacks or a staplegun. Toss a blanket over a couch and add a few cushions to turn a tired old sofa into something smart and stylish. You can even make your own cushions – it’s dead easy with practice!

Some things you might not be able to fix cheaply, like carpets or furniture, but with some time and effort there are ways of concealing those things. You can get lots of books on decorating and ideas from the internet, so if you’re stuck for ideas, go have a look or ask a friend for help. Most of all, have fun making your room somewhere you'd want to spend all of your spare time!

Find out more about private renting at our New Digs page.