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How we do halls life: the athlete

19 July 2017

Moving away from home and finally getting your own space is, in a word, thrilling. That is, until you finally see your new room. At first sight it’s uninspiring at best. So we tasked our interior designer, Emma Parkinson, with creating two halls rooms, each with a personality all its own. A perfectly customised space to sleep, study and socialise. (Psst. If this one isn’t quite your style, we’ve got another great halls room over here. )

Emma, interior designer

Meet emma

Attended: University of the Arts London, Wimbledon College of Arts

Degree: Fine Art, Print and Digital Media, BA

“I spent my college days living in a super tiny apartment in Islington, North London together with my boyfriend (now husband). Once upon a time it used to be a café, complete with a shop window and everything. It was definitely charming, but smooshed between a pair of old Victorian buildings and only 2 metres wide! We had next to no storage space, and the kitchen and bathroom were in the basement. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time running up and down the narrow staircases.”

A shot from above of a bed and two office drawers used as bedside tables.

Your mom is right: getting your 8 hours in is super important. But let’s be honest, college is about so much more than being well-rested for class. “When I went away to school, socialising and making new friends became such a huge part of my life,” says Emma. “I really wanted to make sure that this room could be a great hangout spot, despite its small size.” Use an extra mattress as a backrest. If friends come to stay the weekend, just lay it on the floor to create a second bed.

“You’re going to need all the extra storage space you can get. So I chose to use desk organisers as a nightstand. They can hold a ton of stuff and keep things tidy.”

A clothes rack holds shirts on hangers and a hanging organizer. Underneath are a few boxes for shoes.

“Think beyond the (tiny) closet and go for an additional clothes rack and a few matching boxes for shoes. And the volleyball net? Perfect to use as a room divider, but also to clip your hats onto,” says Emma.

“When I was in school, I learned really quickly that the key to living comfortably was using those hidden, wasted spaces. For example, a couple underbed storage boxes on wheels are a perfect place to stash shoes.”

A desk area with lots of storage and a peg board.

When it’s time to buckle down and get to work, you’re going to need a space that’s super organised and spacious enough to spread out. That means lots of shelves, trays for paper, and a DIY peg board for desk accessories. Emma even used a metal trellis to post notes, artwork and photos. Paired with the volleyball net on the other side of the desk, you create a nice screened-off area to help keep you focused.

“Despite the fact that this is a work area, I still wanted it to feel inviting and cool. The LIXHULT cabinets have that sporty feel to them, and the bright colours and scattered placement on the wall bring a lot of personality,” Emma explains. “I’m also totally into adding some pieces you can create on your own, like the pegboard. It’s really simple to make, saves a ton of desk space, and shows off your handy skills!”

A close-up of a large black metal trellis with pictures and notes clipped to it.
A DIY peg board holds organizers and desk supplies.
Textbooks bound in white paper sit on top of a white desk organizer.
A blue mesh bag holding a towel and a toothbrush hangs from hooks on a GARNES mirror.

“There are so many fun sides to halls living! The communal shower just isn’t one of them. When I was in school, I found that being prepared for all the back-and-forths to the bathroom in the basement would help ease the annoyance.” Use a trolley to create a station by the door with all of your stuff at the ready. Hang a mesh bag with the essentials (think towel, toothbrush, toothpaste), and use the other side of the trellis to hang your laundry bag and damp towels.

Made by
Interior designer: Emma Parkinson
Digital designer: Cecilia Englund
Copywriter: Vanessa Algotsson
Photographer: Martin Cederblad
Editor: Linda Harkell