How to style up student accommodation – with simple lighting and interior design tips

skelligStudent rooms don’t need to be dull or dingy – with some simple interior design and lighting tricks you can stamp your personality on even the most basic living space.

Here are some expert tips for making student halls, digs or study bedrooms feel like a stylish home from home…

Student room lighting tips

1: Give yourself lighting options

Most student rooms will come with the bare minimum: a desk, a chair, a bed, a wardrobe, some shelves… and a single overhead light. And as every interior designer knows, a single overhead light is no good to anyone! 

When you have multiple light sources in a room you can create different moods and atmospheres, you can layer light, and also divide up the space into different zones. 

That applies just as much to small rooms as big spaces – especially when you do everything in the one room: working, relaxing, socialising and sleeping. So get yourself a couple of portable lights; as the following tips show, it’s amazing how much interior design bang you can get for your buck when you invest thoughtfully in a few table lamps.

mo desk lightThe Mo desk light is a contemporary twist on the classic anglepoise lamp. In brass with a stunning black hood, this lamp gives a lovely spread of light and just oozes quality and style.

2. Make a dedicated study zone (with style)

A good desk lamp will help you create an environment that’s conducive to study, not only by providing practical working light, but also by separating your work area from the rest of the room. Having that special study ‘zone’ can make a surprising psychological difference when it comes to motivation, helping you switch into work mode even when surrounded by all your daily distractions.

And don’t miss the opportunity to stamp your personality on your study space.  Desk lights come in all sorts of different shapes, styles and materials, so you can introduce some serious style to the room. Browse all Pooky's desk lamps and lights here.

portobelloThe Portobello desk light, made from solid brass and beautifully curvaceous – a statement piece.  


3. Create instant atmosphere with a rechargeable table lamp

Interior lighting design, as we said, is all about having multiple options – and for that nothing beats a rechargeable table lamp. They’re cordless, so you don’t need to worry about where your sockets are, and you can move them around for different moods and uses. So one light can act as a bedside lamp, sit on a shelf for accent lighting, illuminate bathtime or act as the centrepiece for a romantic dinner.

These days they can also be incredibly stylish (or at least, Pooky’s are), so you can find the perfect rechargeable table lamp for your taste. freya The rechargeable Freya lamp manages to combine classic brass beauty with the latest technology in the form of a wireless charging pad. Genius!

4. Mix and match lampshades for colour and texture

Lampshades are an easy and affordable way of instantly introducing colour, pattern and visual texture to space – especially when you’re renting and not able to do any permanent room restyling.

If you prefer a clean, minimalist vibe you can go with neutrals, but why not take the chance to go for a statement with something really vibrant and striking? Browse Pooky’s huge range of beautiful, affordable designer lampshades here.

forbidden fruitThe maximalist drum shade in Kingfisher and Loganberry from the Pooky x Archive collection is based on an original design by Pat Etheridge, which was deemed a little too risque in its own time!


More tips for styling up your student space (without ruining your rental agreement) 

Once you’ve got your lighting sorted, here are some more ways you can make your student room stylish and homely, without having to redecorate or risk your deposit…

  • Go for bold soft furnishings you love – cushions, throws, rugs and in bright colours and lively patterns are a really easy way to bring warmth and texture into even the sparsest room. Choose things you love, and you may well still be treasuring them years from now!
  • Invest in a stylish mirror – find a mirror with a beautiful frame: as well as the practical use it will bring light and space into a small room.
  • Use a pinboard – to create a collage of photos and postcards, like a miniature, portable gallery wall.
  • Introduce nature – having a bit of greenery around is known to help you study and relax. Succulents are low maintenance. Add in a stylish pot holder for extra interest 
  • Bring a piece of home – university is where you tend to explore your own style so you may want your room to be radically different to your old family home. But one or two little touches of home can feel very comforting, even if it’s just a little ornament or an old favourite coffee mug.   

For more tips on lighting and decorating a rented space, check out our Q&A with interior style expert Amara of the Pajaama Hub.

The Bendle desk lamp in antiqued brass with a marble base is a smart, versatile little number, and you can team it with a whole host of different shades and hoods.


At Pooky, we create beautiful, affordable lighting for spaces of all sizes. View our full range of lights, shades, mirrors and more here. 


See also:
How to choose a lampshade - the complete guide 
5 archive print lampshades to give your home the maximalist Arts & Crafts look  
Home lighting design: a guide to layering light