Everyone has a unique journey through the care system, but there is one thing young care leavers have in common – eventually you will be given a place to live.
You might not have much choice, so how do you turn a house into a home you’ll be happy living in? Research has shown that feeling uncomfortable in your own home can have a negative impact on mental health.
Three care experienced young people share their advice and tips on how to turn a blank space into a cosy home*, without spending lots of money…
*Remember to speak to your social worker or landlord if your accommodation has more serious issues that interior design won’t fix, to sort these first.
- First think about how you want to use the space, and how you want to feel in it.
- Then think about two or three colours you like that go well together.
- Avoid neon! It might look cool in the shop, but won’t provide the calm relaxing space you need after a hard day at work or school.
- Ask your landlord if you can paint your walls. If you can’t, you can use furnishings and artwork to bring colour in.
Furniture and practical items
- Many places come part furnished with the basics so think about things you might need – like storage or lamps.
- If you’re on a tight budget, focus on the most important practical items first – e.g. A bed, shelving.
- Then think about using some nice accessories to make it personal to you – but don’t go crazy and clutter up your space!
- Adhesive strips and hooks are great for hanging things up, because you don’t need to drill or cause damage to your walls.
- Having even just a little bit of greenery in your room has been shown to improve mental health, so it’s worth getting a few plants.
- Plants are also cool to look at and it’s nice to watch them grow!
- Inspirational artwork can help you to feel focussed and balanced, when stressed.
- Fairy lights and music can add great ambience.
Money saving tips – kindly shared by IKEA co-workers
- Use an LED lightbulb to save money on your energy bills. They’re cheaper and more sustainable.
- Turn off plugs at the wall when not in use. By turning off at the wall and not leaving devices on standby you can save money on bills.
- Use a duvet, blanket or throw if you’re cold. You’ll save money on your heating and feel cosy curled up on the sofa or in bed.
- Use a draft excluder or old towel or blanket by your front and back door. This will stop cold air getting in, saving you money on heating bills! They also work great as noise excluders too.
Hopefully this has helped you decide how to make your space unique to you, without spending a fortune, and inspired you to create somewhere you want to relax in which will help improve your mental health.
Enjoy your home!