So you’ve got your results, got your place, got your accommodation and you’re off and ready to go. Let’s just stop and take a breather. You and perhaps your parents are probably chomping at the bit to go out with the goal to BUY ALL THE THINGS but let’s start with a little research first shall we? You can probably walk into any shop and think “I totally need that for my room.” The problem is if you don’t look around, you’re most likely going to get robbed, buy things unnecessarily and cry to your mum who will say “I told you so.”
Now, like a lot of things in life, your budget will determine what you buy and how much. You don’t need big bucks to live like Beyonce. Ok, maybe you do BUT what you don’t need a lot of money for is kitting out your student digs.
some people will receive their furnishings from their parents and will only have to worry what clothes their going to take or how they’re going to arrange things. Some/most people will go out and buy their own stuff and will have their parents help out. Others will unfortunately have to do it by themselves.
There is nothing wrong in receiving help but you will take a special pride when you finally look around and think “yeah, I did this.”
When I started looking for what to buy I looked nearly everywhere! If it was funky, I wanted it. If it was practical, I had to have it. If it was cheap, it was already in my basket.
The places I’m going to list will be ranging from “money coming out your ears” budget to “ooh, I might be able to pick that up if something less important comes along” budget.
Dormify is an American site but they do ship internationally, at a price. It’s basically a tumblr post that you can buy. Their prices are are pretty hefty but they are cool as f**k! Because they’re American, they only cater for bedrooms and bathrooms as US halls are mainly catered for, so they don’t need a kitchen.
Next are very good if you can afford it because they’re British AND there is probably one in the high street so you can go in person. The style is very grown up but very stylish. It’s worth having a look at their kids bedroom department as you’ll find things like fairy lights and cool things. Their kitchen ware is very stylish and practical and if you’re lucky and go at the right time, you can pick up a right treasure. I bought my laundry hamper and a really nice cushion for £10!
I couldn’t write a post about where to buy student things and NOT include IKEA! I’m sure IKEA isn’t a new concept to most of you but it is something that not everyone has “experienced.” A trip to IKEA can be a hell of a lot of fun or it could be your worst nightmare. Luckily for you, there is a store right in the heart of Southampton, opposite the train station. Depending on your personality you might want to go alone, with friends or with parents. There are pros and cons with all options. When you go on your own you can go at your own pace, really get into it and get what YOU want. However, unless you have a million arms or a car, you’re going to have a hard time getting all that stuff back. If you go with friends you will have a lot of hands, a lot of fun but not necessarily get everything you need and there is a chance of subconsciously caving in to peer pressure and buying things what your friends might think is cool and buys but not really “you.” If you go with your parents you will have hands, most likely a car, and a bit more options when it comes to money. Although don’t expect to come out talking to each other for the next couple of hours…
Here’s a few gifs from Modern Family to represent a trip to IKEA with the parents…
Wilko – or Wilkinsons- is such a great place to buy your every need! They are cheap, cheerful and actually have quality products. I practically bought all my necessary “equipment” from Wilko’s such as iron, coat hangers, baskets, cleaning products etc. Unfortunately there isn’t a Wilkinsons in Southampton city centre and the nearest one is in Shirley, just outside the centre but it is easily accessible by bus.
Argos is amazing for the British uni student, they sell starter kitchen sets, bed sets, technology, board games… what more could you want? There is an Argos in the city centre rather close to halls so it’s not THAT much of a trek.
WHSmith have great ranges in stationary and organisation. Closer to the begining of the year they hold “Back to school” sales where you can pick up a heap load of stuff BUT be careful because what you buy can most likely be found somewhere else for less.
As Tesco is my closest supermarket where I live I bought so much stuff there. From kitchen appliances to décor to tech, Tesco hold a wide range of affordable products. A great tip: look around the children’s section for cute and fun room furnishings. Cheaper too! Sadly there isn’t a Tesco supermarket in Southampton centre so if you do go there, I recommend doing so when you’re at home where there is most likely one local. There is a Tesco Express next to The Gym. Why don’t you open a clubcard account, use your home address and let your parents have your rewards? There’s no real point using them in the express anyway.
There is however an ASDA supermarket next to the train station and behind Emily Davies halls. Inside is OK but it’s not as big as some other ASDAs. Their George range isn’t that big and their George Home range is only a couple of aisles. Like Tesco, ASDA have a wide, affordable range of home ware which is quite modern and on trend. Why don’t you have a look next time you pop in for your weekly shop?
I’ve never shopped from Dunelm, however this is a high recommendation from a trusted uni friend and fellow blogger Rohan.
Think The Range but better. B&M stock hundreds and hundreds of items that you’ll find useful. They even sell food like pasta, cereals, coffee/tea etc. Basically because they don’t have fridge’s or freezers, what you need in your food cupboards, they’ll stock. Perfect for students! I suggest doing a big shop a couple of days before you move to get the basics for next to nothing prices. The co-op over the road from Deanery is convenient but can become expensive. B&M sell cleaning, toiletries, decor, tech, kitchen ware, clothing (to a degree) and everything in-between. You can’t buy online buy you can find a store near you.
Home Bargains is essentially the same as B&M but on a smaller scale. If you can’t find it in B&M, you can find it in Home Bargains
Yeah Ikea’s great for cheap, simple, Swedish furniture but if you want a splash of that individual touch head to your local charity shops. You’ll unlikely find the stuff in their again, they’re cheaper than buying brand new, and you’ll be helping towards a great cause! Every charity shop is divided into clothes, toys, books and DVDs, and bric-a-brac. I spent a year volunteering in my local PDSA charity shop so I know a great deal about them and the actual worth of some of the “crap” that comes through. It’s not all dead people’s gear or broken toys and out of style clothes. If you have a good rummage, you’ll find some right gems!
You’ve scoured the lands high and low but still can’t find that one thing you know you’re going to need? What else is there to do? EBAY! I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you the beauty that is ebay is one of the most popular auction sites in the world. It’ trusted, secure and has practically everything. Need personalised Disney Princess labels to put on your things in the kitchen? CHECK! Need a magnetic silver curtain tie back? CHECK. If you haven’t already make an account, have a look around and click “add to watch list”. You wont’ regret it. Maybe.
So there you have it! This list is certainly not definitive nor is it the best out there, but it is a start!
Do you have any suggestions? Let me know in the comments below!