Moving into a new space can be tough. You’ve just about managed to squash all your earthly possessions into the car, you’ve unloaded everything, and now you’re faced with a blank canvas. Quite frankly, you’re overwhelmed by the emptiness of it all.
Immediately, the instinct is to decorate. Under the restrictions that renting can impose, it’s difficult to make your room seem homely and welcoming. Whilst for some, room decorating can be an exciting challenge, the truth is that, for others, it may be a daunting chore.
The trusty book may be the answer. They can even be a good alternative to posters, particularly if you don’t fancy spending moving-out day scraping Blu Tack off the walls. In my first year of university, I remember feeling daunted by how plain my room looked when I first arrived. Putting books on my two small shelves instantly made a huge difference.
The effect was instant and pleasing, because it reminded me of the bookshelves in my bedroom at home, even helping me to feel less homesick
I made no great effort; a few of my all-time favourites, and a few for course reading, all stacked in alphabetical order. The effect was instant and pleasing, because it reminded me of the bookshelves in my bedroom at home, even helping me to feel less homesick. Against the worn magnolia of my bedroom walls, even the humblest novels added their homely charm.
Even with minimal effort, adding books to my shelves turned my room into a space more comforting, in which I could spend the night after a hard day’s work. With a little bit more time and care, books can completely transform a space from somewhere cold into somewhere you’re keen to spend more time.
The first step, of course, is to make sure your books are out of storage. Don’t let them waste valuable drawer space or underbed storage; for one, you’re more likely to give them a read if they’re within easy reach. On top of that, they look fantastic on shelves, whether you choose to arrange by colour, author, or title.
No shelves? Fear not. The homely effect of bringing books into your space can still be achieved if you put them on your desk, if you’re willing to sacrifice some workspace, or even atop a chest of drawers. However, it might be worth avoiding using your windowsill as a book display; the sun can make the page edges yellow over time. If this doesn’t bother you, though, go for it!
Whatever your style, putting your books up in your room can be a great way to convey personality
Displaying books really is all about individuality. Pick your favourites for the most prominent places. Divide them up with bookends and other ornaments. Whatever your style, putting your books up in your room can be a great way to convey personality, especially in university accommodation where you’ll be meeting new people.
A recent article for The Guardian explores the emerging trend of ‘neutral’ book displays, where a uniform beige effect is created by turning the spines inwards to face the wall. Though writer Diane Shipley dismisses this idea as ‘[defying] good sense’, perhaps for the minimalist, this style of book display might appeal.
So, even if you’re not taken by the idea of beige simplicity, books are brilliant for bringing homeliness to a room where it might have been lacking. When your favourite titles are side-by-side, in a regulated rainbow or in alphabetical harmony, books can be the key to cosiness.