Moving to university or college offers the chance to meet hundreds of new people and make friends that some of us will keep for life.

You will meet new people in many different places – on your course, around campus, at social events and during sporting activities. However, the people you spend the most time with are quite possibly going to be your housemates.

Perhaps you know your housemates already, or perhaps you don’t know any of them. Either way, if this is the first time that you have lived with others, apart from family members, it’s going to be a bit of a shock to the system.

To ensure that you settle in with your new roomies and get things off to a good start, here we have listed a few hints and tips for living in harmony together…


Keep an open mind

When meeting all your new housemates for the first time, it’s important not to jump to conclusions straight away. It’s natural to get some instincts about people you think you might get on better with, but don’t base your opinions on first impressions.

Remember that moving to university can be a stressful time for some people and they may feel overwhelmed, nervous or shy. Even if you are confident and chatty, it may take others a little while longer to open up and shoe their true personality.

So, spend some time getting to know your flatmates. Make everyone feel welcome and involved and remember that you’re all in the same boat. Not all flatmates will become your best friends, but you can still get along with them and have a good relationship regardless.


Respect each other

The best relationships are based on mutual respect. And that goes for housemates too. You are sharing a living space, so you have to take other people’s views and feelings into consideration.

If you are planning to invite friends or family over to your place or fancy organising an afterparty at yours one night, then speak to your housemates and check that it’s okay with them first. Even invite them to join in to make them feel included.

Food and drink are often topics of controversy in student house-shares too, therefore avoid confrontation by nominating certain shelves in the fridge or cupboards for each other’s items. Nobody wants to open the fridge door to discover their wine has been drunk by someone else or that their cereal box is empty come breakfast-time. If there is limited space in the kitchen, then label areas with your name on so there is no confusion. You can always store items like wine, snacks and cereal in your room if there is a cool, dry cupboard space you can use in there.


Communicate openly

Don’t suffer in silence! If something is niggling you or you are not happy about something in the house – then talk about it. Pick a moment when your housemates are relaxed and in a good mood and talk calmly about the situation. Many arguments are best settled over a cup of tea or a cold beer!

Discuss with your flatmates any details that are important to you such as noise, cleanliness, guests, sharing of items and anything else you feel relevant. Living with other people works both ways and always try to listen to each other’s points of view to come to a mutual resolution.


Make a cleaning rota

No-one wants to spend too much time cleaning in their student accommodation. However, no-one wants to live in a pig sty either! One simple cleaning session each week should be enough to keep you house looking tip top.

Naturally, some people embrace the laidback student lifestyle, while others want their bathroom and kitchen clean and tidy at all times. Therefore, setting up a cleaning rota for the house avoids one person doing all the work while the others just keep adding to the mess.

Make your rota include emptying the bins, emptying the washing machine, cleaning the bath, showers and sink and mopping the floors. Also, try to make cleaning day fun with some drinks, energetic music and the windows open for fresh air and motivation!


There are bound to be moments when you don’t agree with something one of your housemates has said or done. However, for the sake of a harmonious living space, it’s better to work things out sooner rather than later.

Also, check out our guide to resolving arguments with housemates for more hints and tips.