Changing Spaces: Learning to Love the Box Room

Growing up, I never understood how being sent to your bedroom was a punishment; the potential of spending an hour in my own space acted not as a deterrent, but if anything prompted me to be cheeky so I could escape helping unload the dishwasher. However, after spending four months in lockdown, cooped up in my childhood bedroom, I’ve begun to understand the intended unpleasantness behind this overused penalty. 

Like every fresher arriving on campus in September I overpacked, stuffing my suitcase full of useless plastic plants, books I’d never have the time or energy to read and overpriced fairy lights. Dim and narrow, my bedroom was not the colour coordinated space I’d envisioned, yet I made it my own. A collage of blurry photographs, a jewellery box gifted to me by my family friends and a cocktail making kit, the randomness of these items thrown together reflected the chaos of my first two terms. So, when corona came along and sent me marching back upstairs to my box room, I knew a change would be needed. 

I began, like every good student, with some research. After scrolling through DIY TikToks and Pinterest boards, I settled on a plan. Post A-Levels my summer had been packed with festivals and travelling, so my cream walls were still littered with dried blue tack, debris left behind from the revision posters I’d plastered everywhere. After scrapping this all off I moved on to the wardrobe. Armed with a bin liner and sense of detachment, I bagged up everything I hadn’t worn in the last 6 months.

The next target of my culling was the bookcase. All the titles I had read were evicted into the donations box, these stories were useless and sat idle on a shelf, another pair of eyes deserved to read them. Finally, came the task of re-arranging the furniture. To maximise floor space and create an area I could work from, I pushed my bed up against the window, while shuffling the bookcase along parallel. A true test of my DIY skills and patience came in the form of a new IKEA desk, purchased to replace the impractical dressing table.

Over the course of lockdown, my room has evolved at an accelerated speed. Despite all this change; the de-cluttering, the re-arranging and the new furniture, what I’ve sadly concluded is that this room is not mine anymore. My home is Exeter and until I can return to the seagulls and sunshine, I’m content in the little box room.  

– Katie Dunbar

Featured Image Source: Pexels

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