Residence rooms come with just the basics: a bed, a desk, and a bit of storage space.
Think of your room as a blank slate—you can express your personality and feel at home (away from home!). If you have a safe haven to return to, you’ll be more confident to take risks like making new friends or attending events.
Besides, you’re going to spend a big chunk of time in your room either sleeping, studying, or binging Stranger Things, so why not make it somewhere you love to be?
Here are 6 easy and budget-friendly ways to transform your space:
1. Double-duty furniture
Before you start running to IKEA—and setting yourself up for a very long night of assembling parts—think about double-duty pieces that are already in your room. The dresser can double as a nightstand, and you can even raise your bed in Totem Park or Place Vanier for more storage (or a mini-fridge!) underneath.
Try moving stuff around! Pushing your bed and desk away from the doorway can make your room feel bigger. If you’re living with a roommate, though, make sure you talk to them before rearranging your shared space.
Obviously, decorating with posters is nothing groundbreaking. Still, they’re a perfect way to be loud and proud about what you love. Maybe it’s your favourite Van Gogh painting or a Michael Scott quote—you do you.
Keep an eye out for the huge, week-long poster sale at The Nest every September and January. There’s an impressive selection of designs in every size, and you’re sure to find at least 1 (or 9) that you like.
Just remember: you can’t put nails into the walls, so ask your Residence Front Desk for free poster mounts that leave zero damage.
Succulents are still super trendy, but they’re also really easy to take care of (you literally water them once a week). Plus, plants add colour and life into your room!
You can sometimes find succulent sales in The Nest, the UBC Bookstore, or you can try the garden section of Home Hardware on W 10th and Sasamat (just 2 stops from campus on the 99 B-Line). They’re cheap, they’re cute, and they complement your Instagram aesthetic. #plantsonwhite
4. Floor rug
Speaking of colour, rugs are the perfect combo of cozy and chic for almost zero effort. Maybe you want to match it to your bedding to look extra put together. Or use an area rug to clearly section “my space, your space” in shared rooms without the extra clutter of room dividers.
If you need to get more stuff, AMS Firstweek offers a shuttle for a group homegoods shopping spree. You can also try one of Vancouver’s popular second-hand stores (thrift shopping is an art).
5. Fairy lights
You may think those twinkly lights are only for Christmas, but you’d be surprised by how versatile they are. Not only do they make your room brighter for the rainy months to come, but lining lights around the ceiling can create an illusion of a larger, taller space. (Hang them with a removable adhesive that won’t cause damage to the walls!)
Don’t want to put them up? Throw them into a mason jar for a DIY bedside lamp.
6. Mattress topper
This isn’t really decor, but it’s a simple way to take your sleep comfort from a 7 to a 10. Student Housing does provide a small pad for you, so this is not a must-buy. Still, many students like to bring their own foam mattress topper—Twin XL for all first-year residences.
Ranging from $50-80+, an extra layer of comfort costs a bit more. But it’s worth it if you’re a sensitive sleeper or just want sweeter dreams, because a bad night’s rest can absolutely ruin your mood.
And remember, if you’re ordering bed and bath linens, make sure you order them by the deadline (Aug 13 if you're attending Jump Start, Aug 23 if you're not) for on-time delivery to your residence!