15 Things You Should Never Have in Your Flat after University

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How much of your décor from university is still on display in your current flat? After you’ve graduated, chances are you may still have a few items hanging around, either for nostalgic value or simply due to habit. But let’s face it, some ‘decorative’ items are simply crimes against interior design.

Student Bedroom

Image credit: de4dthrone

If you really want to create a home that truly reflects your post-university life, it may be time to let go of a few things. If any of the items below are currently residing in your flat, it’s definitely time for a clear out…

1. Traffic cones

Traffic Cones

Image credit: Simon Pearson

Practically an essential part of any university house, traffic cones look rather less than lovely in a professional’s flat. And yes, that does include when you decorate them with fairy lights and tinsel and pretend they’re Christmas trees.

2. Mould

Mould

Image credit: Gabriel Esler

Often, students end up in flats and houses that aren’t quite up to scratch, and damp can be a problem. The student lifestyle doesn’t do much to stop the problem either – who wants to spend an afternoon cleaning the bathroom when you could be at the pub?

However, while mould is pretty much accepted as another member of the household in many student establishments, it’s unlikely that your professional friends will have quite the same reaction if they are greeted by a blotchy wall when they come to visit.

Try to catch mould as early as possible, and it will be easy to remove with a little bleach. To prevent it from developing at all, Wendy from Moral Fibres has a great tip for a chemical-free cleaning product that will help to keep fungus at bay.

Start with one bottle of spray vinegar, and add “20 drops of lavender oil and 20 drops of tea tree oil,” says Wendy. “Tea tree oil has brilliant antiseptic and anti-fungal properties, making it brilliant for cleaning bathrooms.”

3. Uncomfortable sofas

Uncomfortable Student Sofa

Image credit: Harry Wood

Students tend to live in furnished houses, and all too often the landlords of said houses will happily leave a lumpy sofa, or one that feels as stiff as a board – or, sometimes, both – for decades. The poor students who live in those houses are left with no choice but to develop bad backs.

But you’re no longer a student, and now that you’ve got a place of your own you can invest in a sofa that you’ll actually enjoy sitting on, instead of something that closely resembles a torture rack. The sofa is a central piece in any living room, so choose wisely.

Choose a sofa with a sustainable hardwood frame and it will give you many years of comfort and support. After all, you deserve to relax properly at the end of a working day.

4. Unframed mirrors put up with Blu-Tack

Tacky Mirror

Image credit: Les Chatfield

If you’ve ever managed to find a student house that doesn’t feature those wiggly mirrors that you find at a certain Swedish interiors shop, then I struggle to believe that you were really in a student house.

Yes, those mirrors are cheap – but thin mirrors that are haphazardly stuck to the wall with Blu-Tack look cheap, too. Now that you’re out of student halls, it’s worth investing in a decent mirror that can work on an ornamental level, as well as a functional one.

5. Rag rugs

Rag Rug

Image credit: Gabe G

Another mainstay of student houses is the rag rug. Unless you’ve made it yourself (and be honest, you didn’t), chances are that the reason you have one at all is because it was cheap. It may have looked ‘quirky’ and ‘fun’ in your bedroom as a student, but now it’s probably well past its best – those things tend to only have a shelf life of around five minutes.

I must admit, I found it hard to part with my own rag rug. Being something of a reformed hoarder, I tried my best to find a use for it. It moved from my bedroom, where it looked ugly, to the bathroom, where it looked ugly, soggy and mouldy. My housemate found it ‘decorating’ the floor of the cupboard under the stairs and declared that it was time to say goodbye. I’m so grateful.

6. Cardboard cut-outs

Justin Beiber Cardboard Cutout

Image credit: Justin Drew News

Cardboard cut-outs of celebrities were a big part of student décor when I was at university. Much like an original Rembrandt would be appreciated in a stately home, my friends and I would pore over one another’s collections with a critical eye. “Ah, you have a Zac Efron, from the High School Musical period. Interesting. I particularly like the moustache that you’ve added.”

I actually know someone who used a life sized cut-out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to attract girls into his bedroom at university. Surprisingly, those girls were quite impressed by it. But I have a feeling that if you tried to pull the same stunt after graduating, you’d struggle to get dates and develop quite a reputation as a weirdo. Don’t do it to yourself.

7. Paper lampshades

Paper Lampshades

Image credit: Mike Krzeszak

These aren’t only a favourite of student houses; they’re loved by landlords across the UK, mainly because they’re cheap. And – you guessed it – they look cheap, too. They also have the tendency to make your place look like a carbon copy of every other rented house, despite what other decorations you may have added.

If you’re in rented accommodation, do yourself a favour and put these monstrosities away somewhere until you’re due to move out. Replace them with tasteful lampshades that are preferably made from something a little more substantial than paper. It will make a big difference to the look of your room – trust me.

8. Unframed posters

Posters

Image credit: Dana Merrick

Back when you first moved into halls of residence, you probably didn’t have much more than a few posters to decorate your walls with. Most of us tended to recreate our bedrooms from home while at university, at least at first.

Now, your unframed posters make you look like a teenager. They’re probably torn and tatty looking, too; and you may tell yourself that it looks ‘shabby chic’, but it just looks scruffy. Add a simple black or white frame, and most posters will be transformed into a work of art.

Make sure that you hang your artwork properly, too. Steve Venus from Handyman Know How offers some great tips on making sure you hang your paintings, prints and mirrors properly.

“When hanging paintings and mirrors the important thing is to make sure you use a fixing which is suitable for the weight you are hanging,” says Steve. He adds: “If you're hanging several pictures on one wall it's easy to get them perfectly level with a laser level.”

9. Duplicates of every kitchen utensil

Kitchen Utensils

Image Credit: m01229

Okay, so a few extra wooden spoons can come in handy when baking. But do you really need three tin openers? Can you envisage a crisis when you and two friends will have a desperate need to open a tin at the exact same time?

The drawers of any student kitchen are often full to the brim with at least five of everything. If, like me, you’ve ended up taking a few of these duplicates with you to your graduate flat, just put them in the charity bin. I’m pretty sure your former housemates will already have replaced anything you took anyway.

10. Piles of pizza boxes Pizza Box Tower

Image credit: On No She Didn't

There’s really no excuse for this when you’re a professional. Maybe you were trying to beat the Guinness World Record for ‘leaning tower of pizza’ while at Uni, but it’s time to give up on that dream now.

11. Inflatable toys

Inflatable Toys

Image credit: David Goehring

One of my former housemates had a strange obsession with those vending machines where you could get an inflatable toy for a pound, and the house was filled with blow up guitars, mallets (complete with squeak) and the odd microphone. Unless you have children, there’s really no excuse for these items to be in your house.

12. Plastic storage

Plastic Storage Boxes

Image credit: Iris

I can accept that plastic drawers are functional, and can work in a garage or utility room. But not in any bedroom, and certainly not the lounge. Especially not if they’re broken.

13. Mismatched seating

Mismatched Chairs

 Image credit: Michael Coghlan

Mismatched antique or vintage chairs can look great at a dining table. But an assortment of stools, swivel chairs and boxes just looks lazy at best.

14. Freebie decorations

Freebie Toys

Image credit: Natalie Greco

That clock you got from collecting vouchers of packets of teabags, and the ‘decorative’ stuffed toys you received thanks to a certain well known purveyor of toilet roll, may look fun and kitsch in a university flat. As a fully grown adult, though, you’ll just end up with a place that looks as if it has been designed by a bad advertising agency.

15. Plastic plates

Plastic Plates

Image credit: Carly Sheil

Again, these are okay if you’ve got kids, and only if you’ve got kids. And heaven forbid if you’re relying on paper plates. As an adult, plates should be made of something a little more permanent than paper.

Of course, these aren’t the only items that need to be discarded after university. If you’re relieved because something you own didn’t make it into this list, then chances are you need to part with it for your own good. Take a trip to the charity shop and provide the next generation of students with their home décor.

Posted in Uncategorized on 24th Apr 2015

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