UPCYCLE – now you’ve got some free time on your hands it’s fun to experiment…

When you’re a student on a budget, it’s difficult to create a living space that’s straight out of a Pinterest board.
However, with a little creativity, it is possible to surround yourself with nice, budgeted things.
Nothing’s more comforting than coming home to somewhere that feels like a bundle of you.
So, Hannah McLaren is here to hand out a few tips on how to recycle and upgrade your surroundings to create style and comfort that embraces who you are.


scarf curtains

Take some old scarves, you know, a mix of the summery and winter kind and tie them together or stitch them.
Make hooks out of each scarf and slip the finished product along a curtain pole.
Pick colours and textures that work together. By the way, it is possible to do this without it looking cheap.
I prefer the idea of using all summery scarves like those you find at holiday markets – bright oranges and psychedelic tie-dyes.
Once it’s done you’ll find that the filtered light creates a colourful glow in your room during the day and even at night if you live in a well-lit area.
Also, during the Summer months you’ll benefit from the calming billow the scarves create when draped in front of an open window as a warm breeze rolls in.



Ditch the logs and unsightly carbon dust and light the wicks of some statement candles.
Light up that old and possibly unused fireplace with a few dainty flames and fill the room with your favourite scent. This is easier to manage than a real fire and puts a very modern twist on something wonderfully medieval.
Candles and comfort will never go out of fashion.


jar of fairylights

Take an empty bottle – I’m sure you have many – or jar and fill it with battery-powered fairy lights.
This is an inexpensive alternative to night-lights, which can save some money on your electric bill and produces a warm, pleasant glow in any room.
Get creative. Mix and match the colours of both lights and
Play about with shapes of jars as well to create whatever atmosphere you’re hoping for.


Unique-and-Beautiful-Flower-Pot4 (1)

As more and more of us are living in the city and confined to a small flat with no garden, the vertical garden is revolutionary.
You can take an old wire bed-frame base – or a square of any kind of wire fencing – to create your futuristic flower bed.
On this, baskets can be hung and shelves can be attached, in which you can plant flowers, hang watering cans or keep gardening tools.
Perhaps you could even keep some pet snails in a safe container, or a small fish bowl, just to bring even more life to your dull living space.


coffee table

Coffee tables are a place for chats, so why not create a discussion piece with them.
Get a piece of glass or perplex cut to fit your table of choice. Below the glass top you can then display photographs, interesting magazine and newspaper clippings, sketches, anything at all really.
Get creative; this is just the beginning of a canvas. Find your own aesthetic.



If your sofa is a bit of a dull elephant in the room and you don’t have the money to replace it, upcycling is your friend.
Add a splash of colour with distinctive cushions and throws.
Perhaps, even if the sofa is the kind with removable cushion seats, consider investing in some new fabric for the stuffing alone to add a bit of dimension to the piece.