Refurbishment strategies to improve student wellbeing

Refurbishment strategies to improve student wellbeing

Student wellbeing and mental health is heavily influenced by accommodation which is why it is important to create environments that provide students with a sense of safety, security and belonging.  Proving high quality student accommodation is more than just the standard of furnishing and cleanliness, but also about delivering the human elements and creating communities.

The growing concerns around student mental health has redirected focus on creating living spaces which enable students to flourish.  This is why supporting student wellbeing through service provisions and scheme design is becoming increasingly important.

 So, what impact has this had on the purpose-built student accommodation sector? And what factors influence student well-being? We take a look at the role accommodation plays in the student experience and what should be included within your refurbishment strategy.


The first year at university is an extremely important transition period for students and their living spaces can have a huge impact on their experiences.  This is a period when students feel their most vulnerable having left the security of their home and everything that is familiar to them.

Our sense of ourselves is closely linked to our living environments which why it is so important that accommodation supports student well-being.  The place to call home is a vital part of the student experience and for many the bedroom is place of comfort, safety, familiarity and individuality.

During this transition period, it is important for students to form new friendships and establish a support network.  The challenge is to provide living spaces in which students can make this transition and thrive.

Creating Communities

Accommodation that encourages shared living and thriving communities can have a positive impact on overall mental health.  Getting the correct balance between community experience and individual space is difficult but essential.

It is common for students to withdraw physically and emotionally when they do not form friendships within their flats or house shares.   Nurturing environments that enable students to build relationships and combat loneliness is integral.

Purpose-built student accommodation is uniquely placed to delivering meaningful impacts on student well-being.  Providing social and communal spaces within the building can help support a sense of community and culture.

Being able to meet people through serendipity in the kitchen or lounge areas can create a sense of home and familiarity by encouraging students to get to know one another.  Strangely, accommodation providers that offer the best sense of community are those with shared bathrooms as well as communal spaces, not en-suites.

The size of social spaces can also have impact on student satisfaction.  Even if you have small bedrooms, if your communal areas are large and encourage students to mix, there is greater chance that the living space can cultivate a sense of togetherness.  After all, student accommodation is where students spend most of their time and is a key space for creating a community.

Accommodation that is remote from the University campus, presents one of the greatest challenges in creating a sense of community. However, this can be overcome through clever design by creating links to the university community.


Design of student accommodation and facilities available should be driven by affordability.  Whilst students might have a wish list of additional facilities and communal spaces beyond the quality of the bedroom, affordability and value for money remain paramount, so the use of space needs to remain balanced.

Design decisions within student accommodation is often cost driven and affordability is a key factor.  However, creating affordable student accommodation that offers high-quality social and communal facilities can be difficult.

In our previous blog, we talked about how there is a growing sensitivity towards quality accommodation and central to this is providing value for money. Purpose-built student accommodation outperformed in this area last year, when compared to other accommodation providers.

Underpinning this was not only a higher standard of accommodation but also the sense community created within these living spaces.
Providing future proof accommodation that is affordable to students is key but it must also provide value for money.  It is possible to achieve this balance when undertaking a student accommodation refurbishment or new build development, although it can be challenging.

You can create a sense of luxury and value for money without having to pay a premium. The trick is to work with an experienced contractor that knows how to deliver a low-cost projects that don’t compromise on quality.

Contractors such as ourselves, have an extensive network of suppliers that work on student accommodation buildings.  This makes it easy for us to help clients identify durable, high quality materials, that are low cost and easy to maintain.  Click here to view some of our most recent projects.

Improving Student Well-Being through Design

Community plays a significant factor in supporting student well-being and accommodation providers can play an important role in this area.  Beyond organising clubs or groups to cultivate a sense of togetherness, good quality communal or social spaces play a pivotal role in improving student interaction.

Communal kitchens and dining facilities are particularly important to students when deciding where to live, along with on-site launderette facilities, 24 hour security and on-site gyms.  We are seeing more of these amenities being included or enhanced within our student accommodation refurbishments, especially with providers that are focusing on improving student well-being.

It goes without saying that bedrooms also play an important role in improving student wellbeing.  Good lighting, spacious rooms and comfier beds were not only reported as key factors in deciding where to live but also positively impacted perceived value for money.

Let’s Chat

One of the most important aspects of the student experience is the physical environment and living space.  Accommodation is often seen as a place to cultivate friendships and communities, which is why it is important to factor this into your designs.

If you are in the process of undertaking a student accommodation refurbishment or new build development, speak to us today on 0117 967 5923 or email  Alternatively, click here and check out some of our most recent projects.