As the pandemic took hold, bustling student halls fell silent, and universities and accommodation providers largely weathered the cost of empty rooms and beds.

But with lecture halls and student unions once again bursting with activity, student accommodation is back with a bang. But what great expectations do students in 2023 want from their accommodation? And how do you create a desirable, functional place of belonging for modern students?

At JSJ UK, we provide turnkey bespoke joinery packages for student accommodation providers. Often working as the main contractor and joinery manufacturer, we coordinate renovations and student accommodation fit-outs that fit the bill, with decorating, lighting, flooring, plumbing, and all other trades working to our plans, timescales and – most importantly – client budgets.

As a result, we have our finger firmly on the pulse of the developing trends in student accommodation. From colour schemes, common spaces and unparalleled facilities, we’re working to create university accommodation schemes that don’t just offer rooms, but stand tall and proud in a competitive space, and ultimately deliver for future generations.

Consistency is key

There are some big names in the world of student accommodation, and one thing they all understand is the power of their brand. For example, a scheme in Manchester will have the same feel and vibrancy as its sister site in Bristol.

Of course, logistically, it’s easier for providers to roll out similar schemes, but for students, the appeal goes much further. Away from the safety and familiarity of home, a reassuringly reliable, coherent design offers stability and comfort. Students can choose their accommodation and feel safe and confident in their surroundings, which is central to their campus experience.

Social spaces set a student scheme apart

Our biggest priority in student accommodation fit outs in recent years has been carving out critical communal spaces. This may mean sacrificing bedrooms and office space, but what matters most is that students are given access to appealing areas that foster connection. Games rooms, cinema rooms, lounges, pool tables and table tennis all help to keep isolation at bay.

Quality, considered, common space is of growing importance to students, who will see their classmates and peers enjoying the perks of their own accommodation in real time through social media. What’s more, for students disconnected from their usual support networks, building relationships is critical to both academic success and wellbeing.

Mental and physical health and wellbeing matters

Increasingly, student accommodation providers are incorporating gyms into their rental packages. With the health and wellness trend showing no signs of abating, this is a responsible and meaningful way for a provider to add real value to their offer.

90 per cent neutral

Bright, fresh, uncluttered spaces are ideal for student living. White walls create a vibrant, clean feel and provide a blank canvas for students to stamp their personalities and preferences onto through their own décor.

Wood grain furniture is a failsafe choice, with a timber look-finish such as walnut, oak or ash chosen for beds, tables, desks, chairs, and wardrobes.

Boring, however, is not OK. Subtle pops of colour add personality to a scheme, and it’s not uncommon to see a bold, bright, dining table or couch command attention in an otherwise neutral space.

Student accommodation providers can also look to common spaces to display identity and create a vibrant environment, with murals welcoming guests on arrival and softer finishes making a homely, shared zone in lounge areas.

While a student accommodation fit out must be robust and hardwearing, it will fail if it lacks appeal among those it’s designed for. With understanding of its customers’ lifestyles, concerns, and aspirations, it’s possible to create a welcoming, appealing, exciting, inspiring and resilient student accommodation scheme bursting with social engagement and cultural development.

To discuss your student accommodation design and fit-out project, speak to JSJ UK at 01772 827173 or email