Furniture for flying the nest


A-level results are out and, for many, university beckons. Compact spaces call for practical, versatile pieces that are as small in footprint as they are big on style – and ones that won't break the bank of mum and dad.

Here at Holloways, we've always been focused on quality and sustainability. So while flat-pack might be a quick fix, all of our furniture is built to last way beyond a three-year degree course. It'll furnish their first – and second, and probably third – homes, too. No waste. No landfill. Just natural materials, beautifully and expertly designed to last a lifetime.

Here's how to make university halls a home with furniture that will focus them on the job in hand; furniture they can carry with them for years, wherever life and work takes them.

The write stuff

A decent desk is a must, and if there isn't one provided, top of our list is the Chicago. In gorgeous oak veneer, its contemporary good looks belie the price tag. And with a display slot for phones and tablets, with handy cable ducts and a recessed tray to prop up books and lecture notes, it's as practical as it is smart. It looks terrific with the Ribble swivel chair, available in a multitude of fabrics and leather upholstery to brighten up even the plainest of student rooms.

Derwent home office desk and Metro office chair

The Derwent home office desk, in solid oak in a choice of sizes and beautiful oiled finishes, is built to last. So when the student days are over, it'll double as an elegant dining table with its chamfered edge and cruciform legs. It's fabulous paired with the retro Metro chair in beautifully bright leathers and facet wools.

Larsson desk

In a bedroom which doubles as a study space, we love the compact, Scandic-style Larsson writing desk and Henshaw desk. As pretty as dressing tables, they'll make an elegant console in a larger home. And there are plenty of drawers for stationery, text books and phone and laptop chargers.

Larsson dressing table and writing desk

The Henshaw comes in four colours, from Dusky Seaspray to a Pale Charcoal. There are matching bookcases in the Henshaw collection, and beds, wardrobes and chests of drawers in the Larsson collection, for when a first home beckons.

Henshaw Laura Ashley desk

Whatever desk you choose, an angled desk lamp, like the Brompton table lamp, will create warmth and atmosphere, while a simple-to-care-for pot plant will bring a bit of the outside world to their study zone.

Neptune Brompton desk lamp

New chapter

In the world of online lectures, Teams meetings and remote tutorials, the textbook is still king. Help keep theirs tidy and to hand with a bookcase that'll slot straight into their sitting room when they're ready to move on from student life.

We love the Henshaw low bookcase – cost-effective, sturdy and available in a choice of four versatile colours, it's finished in a hard-wearing lacquer to withstand the rigours of university life. Six compartments offer plenty of storage for their must-have tomes.

Neptune Carter bookcase

Or try a Carter bookcase – the freestanding open oak shelves won't dominate small spaces, and there's plenty of room for all their stuff. Plus it'll easily slot into a contemporary sitting room when the time is right to move on.

Oscar armchair

Take a seat

When you've only got one room for work, rest and play, you have to make every piece of furniture count. And while space is always at a premium, if you can squeeze in a comfortable chair, it'll make all that scrolling and Netflix binge-watching much more pleasant.

In an array of super-practical Aquaclean fabrics – inevitable student spills simply wipe off with water – the Oscar armchair is as neat as it is good-looking. Perfect for a bedroom or a study in a bigger house, the accessible price hasn't meant a compromise on quality. There are small sofas and versatile chaise sofas in the Oscar collection, too, for when your teens move into their first flat.

Oscar sofas

We love the Missy occasional chair. Fun, fizzy and as bright as your offspring, it comes in a fabulous range of fabrics from this mustard boucle to a bright orange Sunny Pumpkin velvet.

Missy occasional chair

Arty types will love the Otis occasional chair. Comfortable, contemporary and finished in retro-style dark wood, there's more than a hint of 60s chic about it. And with a 10-year guarantee, when the student days are over, it'll still be a firm favourite in a study, sitting room or home office.

Otis occasional chair

Magic carpets

Let's face it, utility carpets can be a bit grim, and a rug will transform a room, instantly making it feel more homely.

We have a huge selection of rugs in our showrooms, from Kilims to hand-tufted wool rugs. Our recycled rugs are hard to beat. In an array of styles, from geometric designs to tribal patterns, they feel like wool but are made from recycled plastic bottles. As well as treading lightly on the planet, they are stain-resistant, can be washed in the washing machine and can be used indoors and out.

Weaver Green recycled rugs

Mirror, mirror, on the wall

Small spaces call for big mirrors, making even the most poky room feel larger and brighter. Floor-length mirrors like the Lavenham or Chichester are great for bedrooms, hallways and landings.


Deck the halls

Our showrooms are full of accessories designed to make a house a home, from cushions to artwork, clocks (to tell them when they've missed those 9am lectures) to throws (for covering less-then-salubrious sofas) to safety-first LED candles to lamps to light the way for essay-writing.

Choose beautiful, useful pieces that'll create a home-away-from-home – pieces they can take with them into the next chapter of their lives – and both you and they will feel instantly better about them being away.