Student accommodatoin can often be confusing to get your head around. In this guide, we cover all the basics needed for you to get started in finding the best accommodation for you!
What is Student Accommodation?
Student accommodation is simply the place you live when you are at university. It includes your bedroom, kitchen, and social living area. There are 3 major ‘types’ of student accommodation which are most common in the UK.
1. Student Halls
This is accommodation which the university itself provides, and it is where most 1st year university students live. Student Halls are usually located within or very close to the university, and generally consist of long corridors with multiple different rooms sharing a kitchen/living area. Since student halls are provided by the university, they are generally cheaper than other forms of student accommodation. However, some student halls / accommodation is incredible, as explained in our guide to the 5 best student accommodation in the world.
2. Private Student Accommodation
This is accommodation specifically built for students, but run by private organisations. This often has a similar look and feel to student halls, but is generally considered to be of higher quality, and often comes with extra facilities such as games rooms, gyms, and a concierge. To find out more about the features of private student accommodation, check out our 8 reasons why student accommodation rules.
3. Student Flat / House
This is accommodation not originally built for students. Unlike other forms of accommodation, you will probably have to find other people to live with in order to move into a flat. All of the bills and rent should be shared across everyone in the flat. Sometimes students will rent with strangers, but usually people move into a flat / house in their 2nd or 3rd years of university with some of the friends they met in 1st year.
If you want to find out more about each type of student accommodation, and discover which one we think is best, then please visit our What Student Accommodation Should You Choose guide.
How to find Student Accommodation?
Whilst freshers will not usually have to find their own accommodation (as they are put into halls), 2nd and 3rd year students will have to find accommodation on their own. But how do you find student accommodation? Most universities should offer a list of ‘trusted’ landlords or estate agents who they recommend for students. You can visit these agents with your future flatmates, tell them your budget, and they will give you a quick tour around some potential student houses!
Many websites such as Right Move and Zoopla also have sections for student flats / houses. You can look on the main section of these websites as well, but many landlords will refuse to rent to students, so make sure you ask if they are willing to rent to students before you go to visit the property. If you are a London student, our friends at That London Duo have some amazing tips – Check out their video for renting in London here.
We have a few words of warning for renting, as it can be disastrous if done incorrectly! Firstly, be careful of websites such as Gumtree, as they have limited regulation. You can face landlords looking to scam students, with high deposits, fake costs, and poor quality accommodation. Websites such as On The Market, Right Move, and Zoopla are much more reliable. Secondly, always make sure you go and see the accommodation before you agree to rent. Some photos can be extremely misleading on websites / in estate agents, and only by seeing the property can you get a true idea if you want it or not. Lastly, don’t pick the first accommodation that you visit (unless you really really love it)! It is useful to view a few different properties so you can compare and contrast, and you could end up regretting it if you only visit one.
Finding student accommodation can be tricky. If you want more information, check out our guide for Tips on Finding The Best Student Accommodation.
Moving in to your Student Accommodation
Once you’ve sorted out your student accommodatoin, it’s time to move in! Here are 3 of our top tips for moving into your new room:
1. Don’t over-pack:
Student rooms are notoriously small, probably smaller than your room at home, so you will need to be conservative with what you pack.
2. Set some rules:
This isn’t the most fun thing to do, but it is important, particularly if you are in a shared house / flat. Aspects such as keeping a bin rota, a cleaning schedule, or ground rules for noise can really help make sure there aren’t any problems further down the line.
3. Bring the essentials:
There are some things that all students forget about when moving into their flat. This includes soap, cleaning products, spare linen, and towels! Make sure these essentials are bought in advance to avoid trying to purchase them during your busy first weeks at uni!
If you want more tips on moving into your student accommodation, check out our full guide here.
How to Decorate your Uni Room
Once you finally move in, it’s time to decorate your university room! Your university room is your own space, so make sure you make it feel homely and a place that you can relax in
1. Decorate with photos from your family and friends:
Moving out of home can be daunting and sometimes can feel lonely and one way to combat this is cover a section of your wall with happy memories. Having photos of your family and friends around your room can bring a smile to your face and make your room feel happier and less lonely.
2. Decorate with posters:
Sometimes your university room just needs brightening up! And as you cannot physically paint any of the walls, you can fill it with posters instead! It will add a pop of colour to your room and you can also stare at your favourite band, singer or actor when the essay writing gets a little bit too much!
3. Hang up fairy lights:
Let’s be honest, university rooms are often fairly dull in lighting- to brighten up your room you can add fairy lights. Fairy lights are a cheap and easy way to add a cheerful touch to your room. You can hang them up near your bed or on a notice board to give it that little extra something
4. Scratch a map:
If you love traveling, you can get a scratch map. This is pretty self-explanatory, you simply scratch the countries you have been to and underneath it reveals a different colour for each country! It is a nice personal touch to your room and is always a good conversation starter about where you have travelled to with any new friends you have.
5. Add a rug:
Carpets in university halls or old flats can often be tough. Having a soft rug or small feature mat by your bed can add that extra level of comfort that your feet will appreciate and it will also brighten your room and again make it feel more homely.
If you need a bit of extra help decorating your university room, then we have compiled a list of 16 sustainable IKEA essentials that will help make your room stand out.