A cosy apartment benefits your mental well-being

Julie Frisch offers some ideas on how to furnish your place and where to get the decor from

People tend to underestimate the power of a cosy space when, in reality, the state of the apartment often goes hand in hand with the state of the mind. Especially for students. An uncomfortable, messy space is not the origin of a bad mental state, but it often contributes to worsening and multiplying negative emotions. Landlords are not making it easier for us; student apartments tend to be horribly bleak when you first move in, which is why decorating your apartment is a crucial part of creating an inviting space that you are excited to come home to. So, since it’s the beginning of Michaelmas term, let me accompany and motivate you in your settling-in process by sharing some ideas on how to ornament your living space and where to get your decor from. 

The list consists of three main attributes: Light, smell, and comfort.

Start by checking where the plugs are situated in your bedroom and living room to see if you can accommodate two pairs of fairy lights that do not need batteries. This will increase the usage you get out of them because, as we all know, it takes great effort to buy replacement batteries once the original ones are empty. Add at least three candles to the cart: one for the living room, one for the bathroom and one for the bedroom. Tip: Don’t forget the bathroom when decorating your apartment!

It is important at certain times of the day, moments when it is vital to soothe your mind after you have woken up or when you come home to start the process of winding down. The quality of light is proven to have an important effect on the mind, so go for soft, yellow and warm lights. If you want to get creative, you can research different types of lamps try oil or lava or opt for loads of small candles that you can distribute all over your sleeping space. 

“…putting a little bit of vanilla spice on your tray and heating it in your oven will make your kitchen smell heavenly!”

Find out what smell you love and light candles of that scent. The soothing effect it can have on you is proven to facilitate studying and falling asleep. You can also make your own freshening spray by mixing water and an essential oil of your choice. This will not only cost you less than commercial ones but is also healthier for your skin. One trick that always works is the oven, so putting a little bit of vanilla spice on your tray and heating it in your oven will make your kitchen smell heavenly! Flowers and plants come in handy too. Whether in the bedroom, bathroom or living room, they help to clean the air and the touch of green ensures a feeling of well-being that people generally only acknowledge once they have bought a plant. 

As we know, student apartment designs give the place a cold, sterile air. So, to make a place genuinely comfortable, change up the materials. Play with texture and colour. This can be done by putting a mat over your table in the kitchen, placing a scarf over the chair in your room, filling the apartment with furry blankets and colourful pillows, and hanging up a poster or two. Taking off one’s shoes before you enter the apartment is a game changer too, so treat yourself to a comfy pair of slippers. Choose a pair of joggers and a sweater that you will save for inside only. Small gestures like this can make a real change in a space. 

“The Design House in Temple Bar is the place to go for unexpected treasures, as is the Irish Design Shop on Drury Street.”

To motivate you in implementing a few of the examples mentioned in this article, I’ll give you a few places to shop: in The Kitchen Whisk on Wicklow Street you can get many useful tools for the kitchen, and lots of little pretty gadgets for home decor. Similarly, there’s the Stock Design Store on King Street, off Stephen’s Green, in which you can also find all things kitchen, barware, cake decoration and Lunch Accessories. In charity shops such as NCBI or Oxfam you can find useful tools for the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen for a cheaper price. Urban Outfitters also has a section on home decor. The Design House in Temple Bar is the place to go for unexpected treasures, as is the Irish Design Shop on Drury Street. Adonis Flower Designers and Howbert & Mays are the places to go for flowers, whether that’s small sets or bigger bouquets. The latter also has prints and pots to decorate your place with.  

Fairy lights, candles, loads of different textures and plants create a warm, cosy atmosphere that will make coming home to your student accommodation a real joy. They can be considered a luxury, and our student budgets certainly do not allow us to buy fresh flowers every week, but consider treating yourself to a few items listed above since the contribution of such decor to your mental well-being during your time at college must not be underestimated.

Julie Frisch

Julie Frisch is the current Student Living Editor and a Senior Sophister in English Studies.