When I moved in my room was pretty bare. Nothing but my bed, an inadequately sized desk and one chair was provided thus my first port of call was furniture and, being a student, cheap and cheerful is paramount. Ikea, you are a saviour.
A bedside table is probably the most helpful piece of bedroom furniture with it being a common host for your lamp, books and, for me, copious amounts of tea. For £25 this guy is an absolute pleasure; easy to assemble, nice looking and plenty of space.The same goes for my bookcase. Being an English Literature student and Kindle sceptic, I have a forever increasing book collection. With no shelving provided in my room, this item was also an absolute necessity on my list. At just £15 I'm flabbergasted at its size and sturdiness. I went for a randomised approach to my shelves as I've always thought natural (but still sensibly placed) clutter can be quite attractive. I bought the hanging ivy from a plant sale on campus and with little attention, this little beauty has grown out really nicely to accompany my collection of books. Candles (£5, Tk Maxx), incense sticks (£2, Amazon) and a clock (£10, Tk Maxx) also made this area a bit more homely.
Wall space is something that I took a long time to figure out how to fill. Whilst posters are a cheap way to beautify your room, when they're simply stuck up I always feel it takes the power out of the picture and looks a little tatty. After a little research I found some cheap poster frames online (£10 ea, I can't remember where from...sorry!). Posters are a great way to express your interests and passions and these frames make them much tidier and gives that treasured music and art much more authority.
Above my bed is probably the most intriguing feature. I bought this vinyl art off eBay for £30 (inc. postage) and I haven't regretted it since. I didn't want my walls to lack variety and another couple of posters might have been slightly monotonous. My room in my old house used to have a really great mural wall and I considered something similar (see here) so after some research I came across these vinyl prints. Ok so perhaps it was a tad pricey but it gave my room a lot more personality and considering the amount of hours I've spent staring at it I think I've got my money's worth already. Plus, it's a great conversation starter. They're a bit of a mission to put up, so you might want another pair of hands if you're out for one.
I spend so much time in my room so I thought it was worth spending some money to make it my own. It might not be your style but, however you want your room, Tk Maxx, Dunelm, and online are the places to look. Not only are they affordable, but if you take some time looking through a lot of their stuff you can make some really interesting looks. The most cost-effective purchase? The canvas shelving in my wardrobe; only £3.99 and it's made such an organisational difference. Best buy irrespective of price? My bean bag: so, so comfy.
You might also want to check out some of these articles that I used when setting up my room. I thought some of the advice was crap, but it definitely sparked my imagination initially;
The National Student;