It may feel like just last week that you were waving them off on their first day of primary school, now suddenly your son or daughter’s all grown up and off to university.
Your duties as a parent are far from over yet though. While decorating their nursery might be a distant cherished memory, now you can help pick out items for their new living quarters.
Your pockets may already be feeling lighter, especially if you’ve had to fork out for tuition fees and books, but helping your teenager turn their new digs into a cosy and functional home-from-home is sure to be appreciated and will make you feel better too.
Smart bedding, throws, cushions, funky desk accessories and posters (take Blu-Tack as drawing pins are rarely allowed) can hide a multitude of sins and the decor disasters inflicted by previous occupants.
“College rooms can be small and bare with various colour tones on the wall, so it’s important to avoid clashing colours and add a bit of fun to give the room a homely feel,” says Ben de Lisi, designer at Debenhams.
“Try to stick to monochrome and introduce quirky designs which will instantly transform the space and make it personal.” So make sure they get a first-class degree in room style by choosing from a selection of student-chic buys, which won’t break the bank of mum and dad!
l Hot wash: It can be a shock to realise that washing doesn’t always magically get done by the house fairy (mum!). But providing a laundry basket where they can easily dump dirty clothes is a first step in the learning process.
l Photo gallery: Pictures of family and friends are essential for creating atmosphere and keeping homesickness at bay.
l Seat of learning: There’s a limit to how many people can squeeze onto a bed, and there’s usually only a desk chair provided in student rooms, so extra seating is essential, whether it’s a floor cushion or a pouffe.
l Clever hide-away: Keeping valuables hidden can be tricky in halls of residence, so a safe disguised as a dictionary is a wizard idea.
l All the gear: If they’re moved into a shared house they’ll probably need the full room kit. The Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Mission Control desk is ideal, and their Powder Coated Metal chair makes a great addition.
l Get it clocked: Time flies when you’re having fun - but new students don’t want to be missing too many lectures. A Wall Clock will help them keep to their time-table.
l Ring in style: Encourage them to regularly call home (or at least text) with a fun cushion featuring a retro-style handset. Tesco’s F&F home Telephone Print Cushion is super fun.
l Smart snoozing: A bed’s inevitably a focal point in a compact student room, so jazz it up with bedlinen and you’re half-way there in the instant decor process.
l Tidy solution: Keep clutter cleared away with a quirky Giant Bulldog Clip magazine rack.
l Shine a light: If they’re spending long hours poring over books they need a good light. There’s a dazzling array around which needn’t break the bank.
Tesco’s Alfie Anglepoise black desk lamp is a retro bargain.
B&Q’s cunning Soft Pen Pot desk lamp doubles up as a pen holder and their Idea Bulb Shape table lamp could help get the creative juices flowing.
l Wash and brush up: Towels are another leaving-home essential.
l Brew time: While there’s probably a shared kitchen, having their own kettle is a bonus so they can make endless rounds of tea and coffee for themselves and mates.
l Top table: A small table will never go amiss as a base for an extra lamp or a home for all those coffee cups.