16 Dec 2014

adding your own personal touch to a home on a budget

Being 24 years of age and a student still living at home with parents may sound like a nightmare to some. However, I'm quite lucky in that my parents are very lax and treat me like an adult (as they should, I'm 24! And I am capable of living out on my own if it weren't for finances) but the one thing I do miss is adding my own personal touch to the house. The only place I can really do that is my bedroom as it's also my study space and the place where I probably (sadly) spend the most time (most likely studying) when I'm at home.

Anyway, as a student, my budget for all things is never big. As a graduate student, the money situation is worse and I have to be pretty tight, especially towards the end of term. However, there are still ways you can add little personal touches on a budget.


Candles are an easy way - smell is such a powerful sense so this is a simple method of adding some character to your house. I'm currently using the Enchanted Forest from the House of Fraser brand, Linea.

The set consists of a reed diffuser set and two candles - one that has a sixty hour burn-time and a smaller one that has a fifty hour burn-time. They all share the same fragrance: "cool peppermint with nuances of warm woods" - sounds perfect for this time of year where the nights are long and dark, with Christmas just around the corner.

With regards to the fragrance, I don't really get any of notes of peppermint but the warm woods do come through, albeit a bit subtly. The fragrance is natural and not overpowering and I love how the candle looks when it is burning. However, the only negative I have is that the bottle part of the reed diffuser set is a bit clunky and unsightly. The bottle shape looks a bit too medicinal to me and I much prefer the shape of this one from the Moroccan Rose set.

Bookshelf Refresh

An Expedit bookshelf means that I can jazz it up at will and on a budget too. The box inserts are a few pound a pop each and instantly brighten up your room if you switch them out on a regular basis. At the moment, I have these floral and pastel green ones in and they add a nice, girly, fresh touch to my room.

Pinboard and Upcycling!

A pinboard is an essential in my room and always has been, even when I lived out for my first degree. A good way to decorate a boring pinboard is to repaint it - I'm thinking of doing painting the borders white when I get a spare moment. Furthermore, I up-cycled some tissue paper I received from an online clothes order and what could have been a boring corkboard now has a cute pattern to it.

Washi Tape

Washi tape can be used for almost anything and it can be a cheap way to add your own touch to everyday items if you have a roll or two knocking about. Whilst a roll can be expensive, one roll can last you a while as most come in ten metre lengths.

Another thing I've done is use an Ikea candle holder (on the right) as a pen pot. I know others have used it to store make-up brushes amongst other things so they can be used for almost anything as they are the perfect size to hold things.

Shoebox Upcycling

Wallpaper samples are free from most warehouse stores such as B&Q and Homebase here in the UK and when we were redecorating the house, we accrued many samples. They were just kicking about and instead of recycling them, I took some and wrapped old shoeboxes in them. We also lined our kitchen cupboards with them. This is, literally, a free way to make your own storage boxes - all you need are some old shoeboxes (clean!) and wallpaper. I don't recommend taking wallpaper samples for the sake of it as there are people who genuinely need/want them but as I was redecorating at the time, it was just something that I had kicking about.

I think I may have mentioned some of these things before but it's always nice to remind yourself that 'redecorating' on a minor level can be cheap and doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.

Have you got any tips for adding a personal touch for very few pennies?

1 comment

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