Three Ways to Sustainably Spice Up Your Uni Room

You’ve moved into a new place and it’s far from what you had expected. The stained walls and brown carpet weren’t so clear during the Zoom viewing but you’re here for the year, so how will you make it your space? 

Forget the wasteful trips to Wilko, here are three ways to decorate your room ethically, sustainably and most importantly, with things you like and would use again next year.

  1.  Fill surface space with plants

Decorating your room with plants doesn’t just tick aesthetic boxes but also has numerous health benefits. Studies show that plants reduce stress, improve air quality and enhance productivity. They also add that splash of colour your magnolia walls need. 

If you’re a forgetful person look for succulents, snake plants or a couple of small cacti. They can survive a little neglect. If your room is small and lacks sunlight, consider a spider plant, peace lily or devil’s ivy.

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Credit: Georgia Burton at Facebook Marketplace

Prefer artificial or dry plants? Although they won’t benefit you in the same way that real plants do, they still brighten up a space and require zero care. Find second hand artificial plants on eBay or Facebook marketplace and real ones from Kirkgate market, the students’ Union or The Plant Point in the Corn Exchange. 

Browse through Etsy and you’ll be spoilt for choice. There’s an abundance of lovely hand designed plant pots you can buy for yourself or as a housewarming gift for a friend.

2. Hang funky things on walls

Got posters from last year that you still like? Put them up. Know how to use a paintbrush and got a bit of time? Paint one yourself. If you frame them, they’ll stand out and last longer.

Other sustainable sources include:

  • Heading to central Leeds or Headingley to find quirky prints in charity shops
  • Ordering from small businesses on Etsy
  • Buying from students selling on Leeds Student Group on Facebook
  • Using a friend’s spare poster

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Credit: Georgia Burton at Etsy

With permission from your landlord, use nails to hang prints or tapestries that will cover up wall space. Sellotape, Velcro and Blu Tack are not eco-friendly, but you can buy nails individually and plastic-free from a local hardware store and easily recycle them after use. 

Get creative with your decor by matching the colour of your prints with your bed throw or your tapestry design with your pillows. There’s nothing more satisfying than colour coordination, is there? 

3. Add atmospheric lighting

To really bring your room together, appropriate mood lighting is a must. Whilst your bright desk lamp is perfect for those late-night study sessions, it isn’t for when you want to relax.

Fairy lights

If you’re going to buy new, look for ones that are solar powered or have LED bulbs. Better to find second-hand ones on eBay, Gumtree, Freecycle or Facebook Marketplace.


Although conventional candles are cheap and smell delicious, they are often made from paraffin wax, a by-product of petroleum. When burning, they release toxins harmful to our health and the environment. Instead of these, look for toxic-free eco-friendly candles which might be made from:

  • Coconut wax
  • Soy wax
  • Bee’s wax
  • Palm wax
  • Organic essential oils

Tip: Clean any used candle jars to repurpose as mini plant pots or pen holders. If you’ve got the time, buy wax, melt it at home, pour it into the jar and make your own candles.

Whatever your mood, make sure you can change-up your room’s lighting in line with it.

Unleash your inner interior-designer

With the likes of Facebook Marketplace, Freecycle and Olio, you’ll be surprised at what you can find – decorating doesn’t need to be a wasteful or expensive task. However you end up personalising your room, with these tips in mind as you go, it will look sustainable and spicy in no time.