Build your own photo wall

The first days of university are the most daunting: you haven’t met the people who you’re living with and you’re supposed to be completely independent. The adjustment may take a while; there are no parents to clean up after you, you must get used to new people’s strange habits and your room doesn’t quite yet feel like yours. The walls in first-year student living are plain and dull and need sprucing up, but thankfully, this can be done in several ways. One way to do this is by creating the perfect memory wall that displays photos and memories from home, which will help you settle in and takes up next to no space. Not sure how to make a memory wall? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Step one:
The photos

Before you start setting up the photo wall, you’ll need to print off photos and decide what type of photos you want to display. As students, the first thing I would suggest is downloading the application of FreePrints onto your phone. FreePrints is an app that lets you print fifty free photos from your phone per month and all you pay is the delivery of £1.99. This is probably the most affordable way to acquire photos for your wall.

For a different type of photo, you can take photos using FujiFilm Instax camera. This camera produces old-fashioned polaroid photos which can give your room a vintage look. This is, however, a more expensive option, the film costs £9.99 for ten photos, however, if you buy the film in bulk they do become cheaper.

If you want an inexpensive and quicker option, you can go into shops like Boots and print off your photos from a USB drive or phone instantly. This option means that you can start building your photo wall straight away!

Step two:
Arranging the perfect photo wall

Fairy-lights are often used to create a homier vibe – they are a slightly costlier option but look quite pretty and give your room a bit of ambience. There are several different options for these – colour-changing, strips and some with pegs already built in. I decided to use the latter option as it saves from the extra cost of buying pegs. There are several possible ways to attach the fairy lights to the wall, but for student housing, I would suggest using command hooks: they’re easy to use and don’t leave a mark when they’re removed at the end of the year. The hooks hold more weight than pins – meaning you can add more photos to the wall and display more memories. If you don’t want to use either pins or command hooks, I would suggest using white-tac.

Using string is a cheaper option than fairy-lights, but it will, however, require purchasing pegs or paper clips to help you attach the photos. String is an easier option because string can be cut to the length or the walls – this isn’t possible with fairy-lights. String and wooden pegs give your room and chic look, using gold pins can add to this but for certain tenancy agreements this may not be allowed, command hooks are a more suitable option.

If wall space is short, cork-boards are also a subtle way to add a homey touch. These can be hung on doors, wardrobes or whatever small wall space you may have. Cork-boards are useful to put reminders on but also for photos and ticket stubs. Pins can also be used on cork-boards, which means you don’t have to worry about losing any of your deposit!

The final way to add a homey touch through photos and the quickest way is simply using white-tac. Unlike blu-tac, white-tac leaves no stain on the walls, meaning you can create and arrange your own photo collage.

You can use pegs to attach pictures

So why should you create a photo wall?

In shared houses, it makes the house feel more homely as well as reliving old memories throughout your time at uni. There will be many photos to capture as a house – freshers weeks, snowballs and many other house outings. Having these photos in a communal area makes the house full of strangers become home with your second family.

As you progress, there will be many new memories – freshers wristbands, the stereotypical ‘Idols’ photobooth and the very gaudy fresher’s t-shirts. University will eventually become your home-away-from-home and you’ll miss the time you spend away from Swansea – personally, I find that the beach alone is enough to make you want to return! It’s also important to keep your memories from home close to you, too- you’ll never know when you need a piece of home.

Want to be a contributor to the Photography section or simply want to share your photo wall? Email me at


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