A Little Piece of Home in Madrid

Isabella Nino is a student at the University of Florida. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is currently studying abroad with ISA in Madrid, Spain

*Isabella selected the Independent Housing option for her program. This housing option was not included in her ISA program.

Being abroad can sometimes be a nerve-wracking process as you leave your home and comfort zone to explore new cultures in a new city. As a fan of order and design who has moved five times in the last two years, I have learned how to make a semi-furnished new space look cozy and homely. Decorating a new place is fun and one of the best parts of moving. 

You are probably going to questioning yourself if you should invest in a rug or maybe in a new set of dishes if you are going to leave in the next 6-8 months? Well, let me tell you, having a space that reinforces your confidence to rock the new city may feel comforting and could end up doing wonders during your time abroad, making hard days seem easier.

Here are a few tips I have used to help my space feel cozy and homely, even if I’m only staying for a few months.

1.Print pictures, collages, and motivational quotes. You are obviously going to miss your friends and family while abroad. This can be the best way to have your dear ones visible and stay inspired while missing them and also be a great way to decorate your blank canvas of cinder-block walls. 

2. Bring your comfy pillows abroad. This may sound crazy to pack your pillows when there is not much space on your suitcase, but there is no better feeling that your feather pillows after a long day of traveling and meeting friends in your new city. Ziplock Vacuum Bags will be your best friend, suck your pillows with a vacuum and it will be a space-saver!

3. Have a calendar. Time passes fast, that is why bringing a cute calendar can not only be a perfect time tracker but also an easy decorating piece for your wall.

4. Bring your own bedding set. Bringing your own sheets can make you have that feeling of home and also is a money-saver. I recommend to have a white duvet cover, it is elegant and sophisticated, minimal and can be paired with any color. It can zip or button up on the outside so you can fill it with your favorite comforter. 

My room in Madrid

Your arrival to a new city:

1. Walls. Don’t be surprised to always find some version of shade of beige or gray on the wall paint. Since we are nomads, there is no need to hang things on the wall because we need them to be easily transportable. That is why having thumbtacks, or maybe even some patterned washy-tape can be the fastest way to decorate your room. 

2. Storage. Small apartments equal small closets, your biggest lifesaver is the IKEA boxes. They are easily transportable which means you can take them literally anywhere while you store your socks, underwear, hair ties, accessories and more!

3. Extras. Here is where you have to Invest in some decorations they will help your room look like your monthly AD issue!! If you got wooden floors and cold winter ahead you should be thinking of a rug, and it does not have to be expensive, in stores like Zara Home and Ikea you can find the ideal 35$ rug for your room. A nice candle can do wonders for the atmosphere, the smell, and the mood makes it the perfect decoration for your bedside table. 

Finally, be fun a creative, don’t overthink too much, add your touch of love, it would be perfect for you and make your time abroad more enjoyable and comfortable. 

The world awaits…discover it.

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