Let's face it. It's inevitable. At some point in your life, you're going to have a crappy room. Consider it a rite of passage.
I've mostly been lucky on this front. I'm on my fifth room at the moment and although most of them have been tiny, they've come fully furnished with sturdy, lasting furniture and quick access to Target.
...this was not so much the case with my room at Oxford.
We stayed at Stanford House, an ooooooooooooooold, old, old maze-like haven that spans across four or five buildings. Did I mention it was old? It's leased from Magdalen College, so Stanford's not allowed to mess with it renovation-wise too much, although there is a massive renovation going on right now. The spanning-across-buildings thing meant that in some rooms, there are very obvious signs marking the end of one building and the beginning of another - different colored walls, sloping floors, ceilings of different heights, etc.
I loved Stanford House. I loved my room at Stanford House. It had character, a lot of history, and had pink walls. And as prime a location as you could beg for. But it wasn't without its problems. Namely, disgusting walls with grease stains and smudge spots and holes of all different sizes. The furniture was rickety and battered. The floor was slanted (see how far and weirdly our wardrobe leans). Upon moving in, Lauren and I performed some quick magic and turned it into something people described as "homey" and "cute" and "adorable." Here's what we did...
1 // Keep the place relatively uncluttered.
One of us was more successful than the other (and it wasn't me). We stuffed suitcases and bulky items away (the one you see above was lurking there after some traveling). Keeping the floors and desks clear kept our room looking bigger and cleaner.
2 // Pull back the drapes... with belts.
The curtains were looking a bit dingy when we moved in. Questionable stains and lots of ripped, teared spots. We pulled them back with the only things we had - belts - in an effort to give it a more lived-in touch while also making sure that I didn't need to touch the darn things in my sleep. This meant lots of sunlight in the daytime and a cool breeze in the nighttimes, but nothing we couldn't handle!
Similarly, we tried keeping the windows as open as possible to let in fresh air and let out musty air. And so we could stick our heads out and admire our pretty view of the garden.
3 // Utilize what you already have.
Our priority was sprucing up the walls so they didn't look so rundown. Therefore, we decided that our plan of action was to cover the walls up as much as possible. To do this, we bought a box of push pins (impossible to find, by the way) and liberally pinned things all over the place. Jewelry, scarves, and other common accessories played double duty. (This also made them easily reachable, which was a plus!)
4 // Buy cheap and fun little decorations.
I brought with me two rolls of washi tape, which amounted to something ridiculous like four buckaroos. The 4x6 patterns and prints you see mixed in along with pictures came in a little booklet full of cute sayings and whatnot - for a grand total of $3. Bring Target with you.
5 // On that note, bring home with you.
Pictures, treasured notes, books, trinkets. Bring them and scatter them all over the room so you feel right at home, right away.