Decorating your room on a budget

April 28, 2022

When you leave home to go study the first thing you are going to want to do is decorate your room to reflect the things, people and places that make you happy.

Having somewhere pretty and comforting to come home to can make even the most difficult exam session seem that little bit easier. The problem is that if you are studying, you aren’t working a full time job and budgets can be a little tight. So here are some tips for decorating your personal spaces in a way that won’t break the bank.


Apartments like what we offer at The Fields and Howzit Hilda have great lighting, but nothing can change the mood of a room quite like a lighting it differently. A standing lamp with a thin scarf thrown over it can cast a muted glow of any colour you like, changing the room from being a brightly lit study palace to a relaxing chat space in the time it takes to click a switch.

Another great option is fairy lights which can be hung across the walls to provide a lighting alternative, and which can also be used to hang photographs from home on, giving your room an instant personal and warm feel.


You will be surprised just how much difference a few simple plants can make to a room. Choose a pot you love and add colour to your room with any of your favourite indoor plants. Apart from adding colour, plants also clean the air we breathe, filtering out more than just CO2. Studies have shown that houseplants can improve our concentration and productivity and even brighten our mood.

Given that you are bound to be busy, it’s always wise to choose plants that will survive a while without water, indoors and without much light. This is where asking advice at the local nursery will often be your best bet. You can grab something that’s on special, ideally an indigenous plant which requires much less TLC than exotic plants.

Rugs, wall tapestries and throws

Rental accommodation is often designed to have carpets and wall colours that are as simple as possible to make them easy to decorate in your own personal style. As a result the carpets and walls may not be to your particular taste.  Why not invest in a cheap rug to add colour to the room without too much cost? A trendy and Proudly South African wall tapestry will do the same thing for huge white wall. Don’t like the sofa but can’t afford a new one? Throws will work the same magic as rugs, but on that sofa. Change the look and feel of a sofa entirely for the price of a small blanket and as a bonus, if anyone spills anything, you only need to wash the throw and not the whole couch.


There is no bed in the world that isn’t immediately improved with bedding you like or, better yet, the bedding you remember from home. Your bed is likely to be the centre piece of your living space and while you may not be able to afford the four poster you want, changing the duvet cover adds plenty of personality all on its own. You get to pick the colours and the patterns and immediately make the room your own at a fraction of a cost of a new bed. Adding a contrasting blanket and pillow will mean you can take naps without messing up the whole bed as well, great for grabbing 30 min before your friends come to pick you up for a night out.

Window transfers

Given how cheap they are its surprising how rarely you will see window transfers in a student room. With the variety available it’s possible to black out a window, add a misty effect for privacy or even turn them into stained glass. Applying a window transfer is easy too and just requires a clean window, some water and a piece of cardboard. Taking them off is just as easy so changing the style and tone of your windows and therefore the light in the room is something you can alter with the seasons if the mood takes you.


Photo frames are not expensive and depending on where you shop you can get a few of them for R200. Adding in photos of home or favourite holiday destinations are sure to cheer you up, as will bringing in photos of your favourite friends and family from back home. If you are really artistic, feel free to take more creative shots, put together scapes, a triad or collage, and tomorrow, when you are bored of that, you just need to change the photos to once again alter the room to something new.


Mirrors are great because apart from changing the light in a room and giving a focal point, they also give added depth to smaller rooms. Getting a mirror can give the impression your room is larger than it is, while also being incredibly functional. Make sure you are allowed to hang the mirror before you buy one for the wall, and if not then rather invest in a neat standing mirror instead.

Living away from home doesn’t have to mean you live in a boot camp. Choosing to stay somewhere personal and vibrant like The Fields is a good start for building a home, but there are dozens of ways for you to claim and create your own space for very little money, particularly if you enjoy shopping at markets and being a little open minded.  Another wonderful alternative is to stay at our nearby Howzit Hilda apartments. Contact us to find out more.

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