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The joys of room decorating

An Oxford term vanishes in the blink of an eye. So much happens in eight short weeks – time flies from the moment suitcases are hauled upstairs, to fifth week blues, to hugging your friends goodbye in eighth week. It’s no wonder, then, in all the chaos, that often our rooms go undecorated. What’s the point, after all?

All of it has to be stripped down and hauled right back down those same stairs eight weeks later. Worse still if you’re an international student, forced to decide whether to pack clothes or posters – the airline won’t give you more luggage capacity just because Oxford has special rules about accommodation. As an international student myself, I spent the majority of my first Michaelmas staring at bare walls.

More recently, I’ve come to realise the importance of decorating my room – if only for the short amount of time we spend there. Without any personalised touches, a room is just four walls. But add decorations, and, suddenly, it’s your room, your home, even though the house you grew up in might be thousands of miles away on a different continent. It becomes a safe space to be creative, and remind yourself of who you are away from the constant turbulence of Oxford life. When you need a moment to breathe and calm down after a hectic week of tutorials, you can look at the pictures you’ve strung up on your walls – happy memories of times gone by, of the people and places you still love. When you go to sleep, it’s relaxing to drift off under posters of your favourite films and celebrities.

For home students, it’s definitely worth bringing the little things that matter so much to you. For international students, if this isn’t practical, remember that Oxford has great places to shop for decorations and take this as a chance to let your creativity shine! You can start as big or as small as you like – print off some photos of your friends, or head down to Blackwell’s Art and Poster shop and have a poke around. There’s bound to be something that appeals to you. Fairy lights are definitely a popular option – they create a soft, cosy atmosphere without breaking the bank or requiring too much creative effort. Some rooms come with a pin-board, so stock up on pins and photographs of your most treasured memories. A personal favourite of mine is books; I’ve met very few people here who don’t like to read, and a curated book collection is often one of the most telling indicators of your personality. And if none of the extra decorating appeals to you, then stick with the basics and decorate your furniture. Pick a colour scheme and match your pillowcases to your duvet cover, throw, and blankets.

Whether you choose to start small or go all-out, decorating your room at Oxford is definitely worth it despite the short terms. Vac storage exists for a reason – the posters can always be rolled up and the fairy lights taken down. The inconvenience of finding a place to pack it away doesn’t compare to the small joys of looking at your favourite photos, being proud of yourself for an attempt at interior design, and snuggling against your favourite cushions when you go to bed. So, get here early in 0th week and start decorating!                                                                                             

Image credit: John Mark Arnold via Unsplash.

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