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New living spaces are essentially blank slates, which can make it intimidating at first to decide how to tackle all that free room you’ve got to work with. You may be constrained by a tight area, your apartment’s rules (no candles was a big one in my old building), or what your roommate considers “acceptable” decor options. But there are plenty of simple ways to make your room more comfortable and cozy.
First things first: bringing some of your own personality into the space will help offset some sterility from blank walls and potentially cramped layouts. Decorating the space with accessories, posters, and bedding can make you feel more at home, and feel a little livelier and less sparse. Even if your lease is less than a year, or you’re only going to be spending a few months in a dorm, you want it to be a place you can actually hang out in (and bring new friends over to).
Don’t schlep all the decorations from your childhood bedroom, or spend hours trying to DIY decor yourself — with a few key pieces, you can stylize and personalize your space in a way that shows off your interests and that can easily pack up with you to the next move. We like Redbubble since they have thousands of different designs for room essentials to help transform any living space, big or small. Here are some easy ideas to help get you started.
1. Throw Blanket
Moving to a new place is one of the few times you have an excuse to stock up on as many blankets and pillows as you want (decorative or otherwise). If you’ve got a living room setup, or even just a chair you where you like to sit and chill in your room, whatever you lay on top will unintentionally become a part of your room’s decor (even if that means dirty laundry).
We like this throw blanket, which is made from soft, fluffy polyester fleece and is perfect for either cuddling up for a good movie or draping tastefully on the couch. It features a fully-printed artistic design of the city of London, with iconic buildings like 30 St Mary’s Axe (The Gherkin) and The Leadenhall Building (The Cheesegrater). Not a fan of something quite so geometric? Redbubble has a variety of themed blankets, from street art-inspired to Sixties and Seventies art.
Tapestries, or wall hangings, are a great way to cover a large area of wall space all at once instead of aligning a million smaller posters. While they may be slightly more annoying to hang up than a regular poster, with a couple good wall strips or hooks, you can make it the centerpiece of your room and avoid incurring a damage bill from nailing it to the wall.
This “Asteroid Map of the Solar System” tapestry signals to anyone who comes through that your place that while you may only have a passing knowledge of astronomy, you’re someone who appreciates the intricacies of the universe. Intense, vivid colors and fine details will light up your room instantly without relying on too much wall dressing. The tapestry won’t slip off the wall while you’re trying to sleep either, since the 100 percent polyester material is fairly lightweight. Sizing ranges from small (60 x 51 inches) to larger hangings (104 x 88 inches) better suited for a shared living room space, or if you have a room all to yourself.
That being said, if you don’t want your wall covered floor to ceiling in posters, Redbubble has a huge range of options, with everything from art prints, to canvas and framed prints. But there’s nothing like the simplicity of a poster you can slap on the wall with a couple inches of tape that instantly highlights your favorite TV shows, bands, and most importantly, your favorite movies.
Unless you want the same three posters everyone’s been putting up for years (Pulp Fiction, I’m looking at you) this poster is actually a clever design twist on the original promotional poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo. You may still give off film buff vibes, but blank walls suck, so this 15.9 x 23.2-inch semi-gloss poster will add a bit of life to your room.
4. Shower Curtains
Yes, you heard us right. Shower curtains are one of the most underrated ways to add a little personality to the more frequented part of the home. While we recommend picking one out together with your roommate if you’re sharing a bathroom, adding some colorful curtaining is a small decor choice that says a lot about you.
While Redbubble has a lot of fandom-specific shower curtains for you to choose from, some of our favorites are their variety of minimalist curtains (it’s still a bathroom, after all). This illustrated pattern filled with outdoor camping and fishing gear is easier than a dating profile to show off that yes, you do in fact have interests outside of the house. This smooth 100% polyester material gives it a smooth, even drape, which is a big plus. Not to mention it’s machine-washable, and .
It’s a universal truth that everyone is either a “do work from your bed” kind of person, or a “pass out the minute you hit the sheets” kind of person. It’s okay, we’ve all been there. But if you can successfully finish any work from the comfort of room without nodding off, this Pencil Power Blue Pattern comforter shows off that you’ve got your stuff together.
This big, bold blanket, features designs of all the Number 2 pencils you won’t be using (unless you need to sign paperwork and are missing a pen). You’ll want to hop into this vivid, full-color bedspread made from a comfy polyester filling with double-square quilted pattern. Sizes are available from twin up to king, but the good news is that the twin XL size will fit most extra-long beds (bonus points for being machine-washable, although your fellow roommates might give you the side eye for taking up an entire machine).
Backpacks are like functional, portable pieces of art, so it stands that you’d actually want to get one you wouldn’t mind slinging over your bedpost when you get home. Redbubble’s selection of backpacks show off everything from Keith Haring art, to sports figures like Michael Jordan, anime and original designs. What we’re saying is that there’s something for everyone, so don’t settle for something you’ll want to shove under your chair during class.
Though we can’t deny that there’s something special about this expressive Punk Tattoo Pattern backpack — maybe it’s the old-school designs, or the skulls offset with birds in flight so it doesn’t lean too much into “pirate” aesthetic territory. The bag measures 17 x 12.5 x 5 inches, and comes with an internal pocket to carry your laptop, and an external mesh pocket for storing your keys, phone, etc. The durable shell and adjustable padded straps will also keep you comfortable and your items secure if you ever get caught in a downpour.
7. Wall Clock
Sure, you can just check your smartphone when you want to know the time. But where’s the fun in that? You might not end up using a wall clock for its intended purpose as much as your digital clocks, but it’s a great piece of wall decor you can use as a talking point for your friends and guests, the same way a poster would. And yes, it also tells time too.
This “All Colors Are Beautiful” clock feels like it could’ve been a still from Yellow Submarine or a poster for Woodstock, which is why it makes for such unique wall art. It also comes with a built-in rear hook, so it’s ready to hang right out of the box. You can also choose the colors of both the wooden frame (black, white, or natural finish) and the metal hands of the clock itself.
8. Throw Pillow
Everyone, whether they admit it or not, has their one decor weakness: mine so happens to be throw pillows. Accent cushions, a.k.a. throw pillows and their bigger cousin, the floor pillow, add that extra zhuzh factor in any room with original art that you don’t have to break out the nails to hang to a wall.
If you don’t have the space to bring along your entire record collection, but you still want something that screams ‘ask me about my band’, we suggest this “Back In The Days” double-sided throw pillow. The spun polyester cover (and optional insert) is soft and durable enough to be quite literally tossed around, and a concealed zipper opening makes up easy to take off and throw in the washing machine. Rock out, air guitar, and pretend that mixtapes are actually still made on tapes.
9. Bath Mat
If you’ve got your own bathroom not shared by an apartment, first of all, you lucky duck; second of all, there are simple ways to spruce up that space too (with the input of a few of your roommates of course). Step out of the shower and onto a soft, absorbent piece of art with these foam cushion bath mats that are anything but boring.
Not allowed to continue your plant-collecting hobby in your room? This Modern Pottery with Plants bath mat has a non-slip base, so it feels comfortable and spongy under your feet, but won’t slide around when you’re getting out. Feel free to get this fade-resistant design wet, since the microfiber material can handle it (though you can always toss this mat in the wash if it gets little gross throughout the year). It’s available in two sizes, small (24 x 17 inches) and large (34 x 21 inches).
10. Canvas Print
Doesn’t art just feel more official when it’s on a canvas print? They’re also more durable than your average poster, something with the potential to be ruined when you tear it down off the wall. But just because you’re getting something that feels more artsy, doesn’t mean you have to spring for something pretentious, or wallet-straining.
Take this canvas for example: fueled by java and constant self-reassurance, this print features a skeleton showing just how you’ll feel at any given point in the week. The design will stay vibrant too, since the hand-stretched canvas is gallery-grade. It comes with hanging hardware if you want to display it either like a portrait or landscape, and sizes range from small (8 x 9.9 inches) to extra large (20 x 24.8).