How to find the perfect flatmate in five steps

Finding the ideal flatmate can be a tricky task. Moving in with good friends can feel like an easy option that helps you bypass the awkwardness and potential risks of living with people you don’t know. But the added pressures that come with sharing a flat can be enough to drive even best friends apart for good, revealing less flattering traits in each other that are difficult to address and discuss.

The benefit of living with strangers, however, is that you’re both starting from scratch – and have to work together to find the best ways to get along with each other. This creates a more dynamic, fluid relationship as you’re not as emotionally involved from the offset. Which could also be why 59% of SpareRoom users we asked decided that strangers (or friends of friends) make better flatmates than current friends…

We got psychologist Donna Dawson to share her top tips, and help you find that ideal flatmate you haven’t even met yet…

1. Presentation is key

…and we’re not just talking about sprucing yourself up for that all-important first meeting.

“If you’re looking for a flatmate, this goes right back to the ad itself,” says Donna. “How does it look, and how much information are you giving people – not just about the physical accommodation, but about what kind of person you’re looking for too?”

If you’ve got a spare room in your flat to fill, think about how you’re presenting the place too – keeping it clean and tidy will go a long way. “How you take care of yourself and your space will give clues as to how you would look after your shared home.”

Need some inspiration? We’ve already got you covered. Create beautiful, landlord-friendly interiors with these decorating hacks, or try our storage ideas for tiny spaces.

2. Consider lifestyle values too

You might naturally warm to someone just because you’ve got a lot in common, but a mutual love of Breaking Bad and a shared interest in craft beer doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a great fit as flatmates. The most important thing are their lifestyle values, and how these would work in a flatshare with you.

“You need to consider if they place the same importance as you do on things like keeping the flat tidy, and being respectful of each other’s space. Make sure they’re considerate and fair as a flatmate,” says Donna.

But how can you find this information out without sounding creepy? Read on…

3. Question time

Asking the right questions when meeting potential flatmates is key. Go for open-ended questions (requiring more than just a yes/no answer), as they will reveal more about the other person’s personality traits. Donna suggests asking about their last flatsharing experience as a starting point: “Start questions with ‘How would you feel about…’ to gauge their thoughts about things like leaving dirty dishes in the sink. You’ll get them to reveal more about their attitude and preferences.”

Think about asking practical questions too – like what their working hours are and when they get home at night, so you can get a good idea of how your lifestyles and routines will gel on a day-to-day basis.

4. Body language

Your potential flatmate’s body language during questioning can give real clues of how they’re feeling, and what they’re really like as a person… “Running a finger along their nose or chin, avoiding eye contact, stammering, changing the speed or pitch of their chatter, fidgeting, or laughing too much can all be signs that a person is lying,” Donna says. Although nerves can account for a lot, so she recommends just trusting your gut instinct.

Interviewing someone to fill your spare room? Think about your body language too. “Aim for a direct and smiling gaze, with open body language,” says Donna, “and don’t hesitate when answering questions!”

5. The all-important feedback

So you’ve found the flatmate for you. Congrats! But that doesn’t mean your work is over…

It’s now really important to put some effort into making the flatmate relationship work for you. “Try to arrange a weekly catch up over a coffee or drink so you can see how things are going, and flag up any issues with each other,” says Donna. “You should try and be honest in your replies to prevent any resentment or stress building up, and stop small problems ballooning into much bigger ones!”

After a month or so you can probably stop having these chats, but you should make sure your new flatmate feels comfortable enough to approach you at any time with potential concerns – so you can create a healthy and harmonious living situation.

Now you’ve got all the interview tips, how about finding that perfect flatmate or share? With over 80,000 rooms and flatmates on SpareRoom, there’s a good chance one of them will be right for you…

5 home buys for a fiver to help you get snug this autumn

Remember that time roughly 12 months ago, when everyone suddenly went bananas for ‘hygge’? Hint: it’s a Danish word that roughly summarises the pursuit of everyday happiness and wellbeing, achieved via small, cosy indulgences.

Hygge might not be such a big deal anymore (probably because most people have now rightly realised they don’t need a Danish word to justify their treat yo’ self tendencies), but there’s certainly no denying that a bit of glow is SO needed right now – as we roll into autumn and its undeniable crappiness, coldness and urges to be wrapped in a giant duvet ALL THE TIME.

So with this in mind, we’ve found five buys for £5 or under to help you beat the blusteriness outside, and bring a bit of warmth back into your life (and flatshare).

1. Snuggle city, population: you

…because it’s not really autumn until you’ve bought ANOTHER blanket, is it? Never mind the five you’ve already got on your bed (and yes, you will use them all at once) – you DESERVE the snuggliness. This fleecy beauty from Matalan comes in at £5, and features neutral grey and cream tones that will suit any sofa/bed/armchair/body. Oh, and it’s machine washable too. So no need to worry about those inevitable hot chocolate spills…

2. Get lit

In our flatshares, the only thing that’s getting ‘lit’ during these cold nights is candles – and frankly we couldn’t be happier about it all. There’s nothing quite like a good Netflix boxset and a gently flickering flame to get you feeling warm and toasty – especially ones that emit delicious autumnal scents. This bargain £4.50 Wax Lyrical tinned candle promises to release a “tangy orange fragrance with notes of sweet citrus lemon, mandarin and grapefruit” for as long as 16 hours. Who are we to argue with that fresh Mediterranean scent?

3. What a mug


Yeah we know, technically the contents of the mug are what give it its cosy credentials. But there ain’t no luxurious Belgian hot chocolate without a suitable vessel to drink it from, so we choose this M&S stag-printed fine china mug. It’s got a generous capacity, an ergonomic handle, and it’s only a fiver. Fill it with your hot liquid of choice and cradle it like a warm, snuggly newborn baby.

4. Twinkle, twinkle


JUST LOOK AT THEM. Pretty, twinkly and enough to immediately conjure up the fuzzy, heart-warming nostalgia of the festive period… you can’t beat a good set of fairy lights – the best way to transform any space into a cosy grotto. These Tesco Direct ones are £4.99, include 20 lights and are on a flexible wire that’s great for wrapping, shaping, stuffing and stringing however you see fit. We like them stuffed in an empty mason or jam jar for #Pinterest points, but they’re equally as cute hung from picture rails, arranged on the dining table (for all those autumnal dinner parties, obvs), or wrapped around the stair banister.

5. Easy as pie

Is there ANYTHING more “hug for the stomach” than a gigantic plate of steamy homemade pie? The answer is NO. Unleash your inner Mary Berry with the help of this stylish enamel pie dish – an Amazon steal at £3.49. It’s big enough to make a 20cm pie, so your flatmates can happily get a slice of the action too. Just mind those soggy bottoms…

Of course, there shall be no cosiness this autumn without the perfect flat to get snug in. With over 80,000 rooms and flatmates on SpareRoom, there’s bound to be one that’s ‘hygge’ enough for you…

How to spot a dodgy landlord (and what to do about them)

Now, we know you know what to look out for aesthetically when you’re hunting for your new home.  Mouldy bathrooms, shabby paintwork, broken fittings and dodgy appliances are all rental red flags that you’ll usually be looking out for when viewing – and they’re all things you should mention before paying a deposit or signing a tenancy agreement.

But what if it’s the property’s landlord that causes the problems?

Don’t get us wrong – there are plenty of great landlords out there who want your tenancy to be as smooth and enjoyable as you do, and they hate the dodgy ones as much as tenants do. But bad landlords do exist, and unfortunately they’re a bit trickier to spot than a bit of mould…and can cause you a LOT of hassle and expense.

Here are a few warning signs to look out for whether you’re searching for a home, or living in a home governed by a potentially dodgy landlord…

1. The property looks shabby

Sounds obvious, but if a landlord doesn’t take care to make their property look comfortable and inviting, the chances are they don’t care. A good landlord will be proud of their property, so will likely be willing to give it a lick of paint before new tenants move in, and will make sure that all fixtures, fittings and any furniture are up to scratch. As a tenant, remember you’re obligated to flag anything up that you’re not happy with, and negotiate with the landlord to get any necessary repairs made – and more importantly, get them written into the tenancy agreement.

2) Deposit dramas

Let’s face it, deposits are an expensive investment. And like any other investment, you want to make sure it’s going to the right place and will be looked after properly. Be wary of any landlord that pressures you into paying your deposit before you’ve even seen the tenancy agreement, and equally be concerned if they don’t ask for one at all.

Make sure you check that the landlord is using a secure account or scheme to hold your money, so that it’s protected exclusively to return to you at the end of your tenancy. Some common ones in England and Wales include the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and the Deposit Protection Service. Regulations state that landlords must tell you which scheme they have used to protect your deposit within 30 days of receiving it, or they face being fined up to three times the amount of the deposit.

3. Read between the lines

Your tenancy agreement is the most important and essential document when it comes to renting a new property. If a landlord can’t (or won’t) give you a copy of it to read over, it’s question time. There also should be no pressure to sign the agreement right away – you need time to read every clause thoroughly, and ensure that there is nothing in the agreement you’re not happy with or that could trip you up later on. Yep, it’s long and kinda boring, but it’s a legal document and could cost you a fortune if you’re not careful – so get reading.

Make sure that your tenancy agreement definitely includes the following: the length of the tenancy, amount of rent to pay and when, details of the deposit, and your landlord’s address.

The inventory is your next most crucial document to obtain. This will detail everything that comes in the property (including furniture) and what condition it, and the property itself were in when you moved into the property – giving you plenty of evidence if the landlord tries to wrongfully accuse you of any damage when you move out.

And last but not least, check that they can provide a gas safety record to prove that all gas appliances in the property are safe and fit for use. Good landlords will carry checks out on these every year.

4. Protect your space

There should ALWAYS be a clause in your tenancy agreement to state how much notice your landlord should give you before coming over, otherwise you may find they’re randomly turning up unannounced far too often. Your landlord may own the property, but this doesn’t give them the right to force entry – so watch out for ones that turn up without permission, and make sure you seek advice from a service like the Citizens Advice Bureau if so, who can advise you how best to deal with the situation.

A good landlord should also have measures in place to sort out repairs should anything in the property break down, like the washing machine or cooker. It is their duty to provide repairs efficiently, and advise you of their process for escalating problems – so don’t try and fix that faulty extractor fan on your own! Things like heating and water are deemed essential by your local council’s Environmental Health department, which means that they can bring in external help to force your landlord to repair these in the event of a breakdown (if your landlord refuses to do so, or won’t respond to you).

5. Get in contact

While you don’t want your landlord turning up uninvited all the time, you do want to be able to get hold of them if you need anything sorted quickly during the tenancy. Make sure you double check and clear this with them ahead of moving in. There are few things worse than a set of lost keys and a landlord in Turkey who won’t answer your calls, after all…

At SpareRoom we’ve got real people who are dedicated to carefully checking every advert placed to make sure you’re safe and getting the real deal. Meaning the risk of dodgy landlords is lower, and your security is a priority. And with over 80,000 rooms and flatmates available, you’ve got a good chance of finding the one that’s right for you.

The 5 types of flatmate you WILL encounter (and how to handle them…)

One of the greatest joys of flatsharing is the different people you’ll meet, live with and form lasting friendships with (hopefully). But that doesn’t mean that they will be without their unqiue quirks.

Here are some of the different flatmates you’ll probably encounter when you sign that tenancy agreement and get settled into that brand new share, and how to handle their individual personality traits. NB: you might find you probably fit into one of these categories too…

Meticulously organised, The House Mum is probably the person who set up your bills, got the Wi-Fi installed and arranged a cleaning rota…before anyone had even moved in. The House Mum has many great organisational qualities, is a great source of general life advice and usually makes a brilliant shoulder to cry on in times when you’re missing your actual mum. Just watch they don’t get a little too controlling ­– they’re not your real parent, thus shouldn’t get too big a say in important life matters including: your career, your love life, and how regularly you should be cleaning your bedroom.

How to handle them:

The House Mum may assume that their big role in the house means that they are more entitled than other housemates to potential privileges like TV dominance, a bigger bedroom or dining table usage for their own dinner parties. It’s worth a gentle reminder every now and then that a flatshare means sharing, and while you’re grateful for their leadership with practical matters, you’re more than happy to take some of the load too.

You’ll be on your way out of the house, or just trying to relax in bed, when someone bursts in to share that juicy nugget of information about so-and-so they just couldn’t wait to tell you… Yep, that will be your resident Gossip, at it again. Most houses will have one. Their knowledge of everyone and everything can come in handy at times (i.e. when MailOnline has gone down for the day/you want the inside scoop on what your other flatmate did last night) but be warned – you may devote precious hours of your life listening to their tales, and there’s always the risk that one day you’ll be the subject of their gossiping…

How to handle them:

The golden rule when dealing with The Gossip is to avoid showing too much of a reaction, as this will probably become part of their gossip to someone else later. If you show that you’re not really that phased by hearing rumours about other people, they might stop using you as an outlet for their spreading too.

It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, you’ll always hear The Party Animal rolling in during the small hours of the night – and that’s without all the times they’ll probably forget their keys and wake you up with their persistent banging, followed by a passing waft of chicken nuggets and garlic mayo. The Party Animal will also exhibit an alarming ability to get up and go to work on time the following day, possibly due to their bottomless stash of Berocca and 5-minute-shower skills.

How to handle them:

The drawback of The Party Animal is that they’ll either a) insist on you partying with them, or b) wake you up when they bring themselves (and the party) home. If it all gets a bit much and you’re sick of the sleepless nights and rotting kebabs in the kitchen, have a quiet word with them and ask if they’d mind keeping the party in the bar with them. Or better still, taking it back to someone else’s flat. Try to keep up with them at your peril. Nobody can handle that much tequila…

Have you ever seen them move from the sofa? Or offer to help you clean the kitchen? No, of course you haven’t ­– because the Ultimate Slob is as the Ultimate Slob does. More often than not they’ll be skint, and likely on your back a lot to ‘borrow a fiver’ that you may never see again. On a hangover, the Ultimate Slob may not even leave their room for the entirety of a day and they are most likely to be found in their Ultimate Sloth uniform: trackies and a stained T-shirt. When it comes to communal cleaning or tasks requiring any energy expenditure, approach the Ultimate Slob with due caution. You may be disturbing their nap, after all.

How to handle them: 

Sure, their lack of input is probably going to wear thin eventually, so when you’d appreciate their help cleaning or just would generally like their (awake) company, be sure to ask tactfully. Adding an incentive to your proposition may help to, i.e. “I’d be so grateful if you helped me take the bins out, how about we share a pizza tonight to say thanks?” In time, this may also help them realise the error of their slothy ways.

Heard a door slam, but confident you were the only one in the house? Don’t worry, you’re not haunted – that’s just the Ghost up to their old tricks again. That phantom flatmate that nobody actually ever sees can scare the life out of you at times, but their ghostly tendencies also mean they’re spotlessly clean, will consistently tidy up behind themselves and won’t ever make excess noise on a weeknight. In some ways, they’re a model flatmate.

How to handle them:

I mean, it would probably be nice if you could be friends. Don’t bulldoze your way into the Ghost’s space – taking a soft approach will build a better friendship in the long run. If you spot them out of their room, try and make passing conversation e.g. “Oh, is that Brie you’ve got in that sandwich? That’s my favourite kind of cheese, I went to this amazing cheese shop the other day…” Soon you may find the Ghost comes out of their shell (and bedroom).

At the end of the day, every flatmate can have their difficult moments so communication is key. Being upfront and honest with them early on can stop characters from getting out of control, ultimately creating a more harmonious home for you all.

With over 80,000 flats and flatmates available on SpareRoom you’ve got a great chance of finding a living situation that works for you first time round.

13 things you only know if you’ve lived in an all-female flatshare

Living with your very best girlfriends can be a dream come true – life feels like a sleepover ALL THE TIME, and there’s always someone on hand for dating advice and wardrobe dilemmas. But for every amazing borrowed outfit, there’s also the female flatshare taxes – like picking hairs out the plughole, and dealing with those raging monthly hormones.

Here are some things you might recognise if you’ve lived in an all-female household…

1) Your clothes will NEVER be your clothes again.

Pro: the whole flat is essentially a bottomless, communal wardrobe – oh the outfit possibilities! Con: your chances of finding your favourite blue blouse when you need it have become very slim…

2) You might want to set up a ‘plug-hole’ rota…

Cos that’s gonna fill up with hairs at an alarming rate, and some sucker’s gonna have to get their hands dirty every week. You’ll probably consider getting shares in Mr Muscle drain unblocker, due to the excessive amount you’re getting through…

3) The necessity of the morning-after debrief.

A hangover isn’t really a hangover until it’s shared with three other girls, laden with gossip (and regret) and accompanied by tears, tissues and family-size Dairy Milk.

4) The myth of ‘syncing’ with each other is actually NOT A MYTH.

…so get ready for more tears, tissues and family-size Dairy Milk. On the plus side, collective PMT is a hell of a lot more therapeutic than solo PMT. Although not necessarily more manageable…*soz*

5) That overwhelming feeling of betrayal when one of you gets a boy/girlfriend.

Said loved-up flatmate starts to prioritise time with their new bae above all flatmates, and this very fact angers the group beyond belief. Especially when their new bae starts turning up ALL THE TIME. You lose precious kitchen access while she’s in there cooking a romantic four-course tasting menu, and then later lose sleep when they both forget just HOW thin the walls are. And of course, you’re not remotely jealous that you’re still single…

6) Your access to freshly baked goods becomes almost too easy.

Someone is almost always guaranteed to be baking something delicious, filling the house with wafts of warm biscuits, brownies and cake in the process. Just make sure you get in there before the rest of the predators demolish the whole batch in one sitting.

7) At some point, someone will go on a health kick

…and you’ll be heavily judged for not participating in the following: preparing all of your meals in a Nutribullet, 6am trips to the gym, and replacing carbohydrates with various forms of deconstructed vegetables.

8) There’s usually some free literature knocking around.

Work Hard, Play Harder! #rosé #rosegold #cosmomagazine #calm #chill #Cosmopolitan

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Which is great, because you’ll become well-versed in the ways of the world and ALL the really important current affairs. How old is pregnant Kylie Jenner?!?

9) Anything vaguely resembling a hanging space will usually have laundry hanging off it.

Radiators with bras strewn over them…banisters with damp jeans dangling down…who even needs to bother with home décor when you’ve got fresh laundry?

10) The awkward yet inevitable moment when two of the gang fall out…

…and suddenly EVERYONE is unwillingly forced into a ‘who’s side are you on?’ war. Forget about staying neutral – you’re pledging allegiance to one of them whether you like it or not. Prepare for warfare.

11) You have to re-learn the rules of borrowing.

Magazines, Tampax and the odd bit of shampoo – all fair. Ex-boyfriends, razors and brand new clothes on the other hand…

12) The inevitable moment when you lose half of your deposit.

And it’s ALL thanks to those straightener burns on the carpets, fake tan stains on the sofa, and spilt nail varnish on the furniture. Sigh.

13) But it was ALL worth it to live with your besties.

Long live the sisterhood <3

Fancy yourself a life of Dairy Milk, shared clothes and baking? With over 80,000 rooms and flatmates on SpareRoom, there’s probably a sisterhood out there just waiting for you to join…

The 15 stages of assembling flatpack furniture

So you’ve FINALLY got yourself sorted with that dream flatshare, and your mind is in overdrive with your excited plans to decorate your new space. The Ikea catalogue arrives, and it’s the stuff your flatpack furniture dreams are made of. You’ve got your biro, you’ve circled your chosen items, and you’ve made the pilgrimage to outer London where your credit card takes an inevitable, almighty hit. Several boxes and an argument with your cab driver later, you’re home. And it’s crunch time: time to assemble the lot.

Which, believe it or not, is actually one of the most emotionally draining rollercoasters you’ll EVER experience. So get yourself prepared with this helpful timeline of the stages you’ll experience during flatpack furniture assembly – from wooden dowel to broken hinge.

1) First comes confidence. You know how much everyone goes on about the perils of flatpack furniture, but really how hard can it be?! You’re an adult, you can read instructions. This is going to be fine. You’ll show ’em.

2) SWEET LORD there are a deceiving number of different parts inside the box. And why has nobody told you how to organise them all? What do you need first? WHY DID NOBODY SAY YOU’D NEED A DRILL?!

3) Yep, 5 minutes in and you’ve trodden on a screw which is now lodged in a new cavity in your foot. Someone call 999.

4) Screw trauma over, and it’s time for the next screw-lemma: the fact that you’re SURE you’ve wasted more time looking for the correct screw than you’ve spent actually placing them where they’re meant to be (i.e. to assemble the furniture).

5) Who even invented wooden dowels though? These things are pretty much the least sturdy invention of all time.

#ikea #extraparts #woodendowels

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6) Okay, you’re now unconvinced these instructions are even in English. SERIOUSLY – WHAT do those pictures mean?

7) You’ve got two pieces to seamlessly slot together. Your confidence has been restored. Maybe, maybe you can actually do this…

8) Great, so you’ve just realised you’ve assembled it back to front. You sigh and grumble in utter despair, and start the laborious process of taking everything apart so you can build it again.

9) So it turns out it really is possible to screw something in too tight. Who knew?!

10) At this point, you’re 90% sure your flatmate (read: flatpack-assembly partner) will be moving out next month. You start to wonder how many relationships Ikea has successfully destroyed. Because nothing will make you doubt each other as people more than an argument about where the bolt should go.

11) Six hours have passed, you’re covered in sweat but you think you’re just about done. And then your gaze falls to the corner of the room, where two anonymous pieces of wooden panelling lie alongside three different sized screws, and you start to weep. Where did it all go so badly wrong?

12) You vow never to get yourself into this horrible situation again. From now on you’ll buy all your furniture ready-made, on a payment plan. Yeah, you’ll probably be paying off the sofa you’ll keep for twelve short months for the next twenty years of your life…but can you really put a price on your mental stability?

13) You admit defeat. You gave it a shot, it was a good effort and to be honest you’re pretty sure you’ll be able to hang at least some clothes in it. It’s probably the first time in your life you’ve settled for ‘it’ll do’. Sigh.

#ikeafail

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14) …then the door breaks a week later, and you succumb to a life of weekly re-screwing sessions. You go to bed every night, wondering if tonight will be the night the whole thing falls apart and you end up discovered lifeless in bed several days later, with a collapsed flatpack wardrobe on top of you.

15) Weeks later, you desperately try to muster the energy to fix your wonky masterpiece but you just can’t bring yourself to undo your own handiwork. The flatpack furniture has you now. Just make sure you stay in your flatshare long enough to make it worth it…

Whether you’re a flatpack newbie or a seasoned pro, make sure you’ve got a flatshare that’s worth the furniture assembly ordeal. With over 90,000 rooms and roommates on SpareRoom, there’s bound to be one that makes you want to get your screwdriver out…

4 landlord-friendly flatshare interior hacks

Living in a fully-furnished and decorated flatshare is a bit of a mixed blessing. Sure, you don’t have to fork out on buying your own wardrobe and bed (nor do you have to deal with the many perils of flatpack assembly), but you DO often have to deal with some of your landlord’s more questionable tastes – gem-encrusted leather sofa, anyone?

While you can’t usually replace furniture without good reason (injury/destruction/etc) and you probably won’t be allowed to redecorate or hang pictures up either (boo), there are a few easy things you can do to make your space feel a little more chic.

1. Throw over

Source: Pinterest

Invest in a throw and watch every aspect of your home life improve. Cold? Snuggle up in a throw. Ugly chair? Chuck a throw over it. It’s probably the easiest way to transform a gross piece of furniture in 5 seconds flat – opt for a fur throw on a metal-legged chair for extra Pinterest points. You can find these at places like B&Q, Wilko and Primark Home and they’ll make your flatshare feel like a Nordic ski lodge for under £30. We particularly like this one for its snow leopard vibes and machine washability.

2. Stick ’em up

Source: Pinterest

One of the biggest drawbacks of your flatshare’s magnolia walls is, well…how magnolia they are. If you’re REALLY unlucky, you won’t even be allowed to put any nails in and you’ll have your deposit slashed for any blu-tack marks too. So what do you do to the walls, when you’re not allowed to do anything?

Bring on the stickers. ALL the stickers – in the genius form of self-adhesive wallpaper, which allows you to quickly create a nice feature wall (or cover your entire room) without any long term damage. Turn your room into a leaf-filled jungle, add a touch of “marble” or opt for some straightforward geometric shapes – the possibilities are endless, and can be ripped right down at the end of your tenancy with zero evidence. Etsy has a unique selection from a collection of independent sellers.

Obviously you’re going to want to put some frames up too, and let’s face it: your family photo deserves that honour (as do those hilarious quote postcards from Paperchase). Luckily you can also do this without causing hassle and landlord upset, by investing in a £3.50 pack of Command hanging strips. These stick onto both wall and frame, and slot together using strong bonds that hold your works of art like an absolute dream. Best of all, they come straight off cleanly without taking chunks of plaster with them.

3. Can you handle this?

Source: Pinterest

Give your cabinets and drawers a quick landlord-friendly refresh by investing in some alternative handles and pulls. You can pick these up for about £5 per handle, which adds up but you can take them with you wherever you move next so think of it more as an investment piece. We love the unique selection at John Lewis, spanning everything from brass animals to crystals and patterns. Just remember not to throw away the old ones…

4. Plants are EVERYTHING

Source: Pinterest

…so put them EVERYWHERE. Large, potted plants, mini cacti and sprawling spider plants – they can all move wherever you do, so splash out on the best and fill every room with botanical beauty (proven to induce joy, we promise). Ikea have a brilliant, super cheap selection that come potted and ready to scatter EVERYWHERE, or head to Patch to tailor your very own unique urban jungle – room by room. Just remember: with great plants, comes great responsibility. Don’t forget to feed them.

Looking for a new room to call your own, and weave your interior design magic on? We’ve got over 80,000 rooms and flatmates on offer so you’re bound to find one you love.

Imagine being able to enjoy all the benefits of flatsharing without having to pay any rent whatsoever. No, we’re not messing – our LiveRentFree competitions can actually make this a reality. With both a monthly draw to cover someone’s rent for a month, and a bigger annual competition where we’ll foot one winner’s rental bill for a whole YEAR, there’s plenty of chances to win. Just click below and cross EVERYTHING…

17 things that WILL happen during your first year in London

  • The concept of spending £7+ on a grab ‘n’ go lunch will become very normal. WHO CARES when Ethiopian street food tastes this damn good?!
  • You’ll also lose all sense of what a drink should actually cost. £10 for a double; £6 for a beer you’ve never heard of? Sounds legit…

  • You’ll probably fall asleep on the night bus at some point, and unintentionally end up in Hertfordshire. Which is okay, because then you’ll get to do another London rite of passage: spending £80 on a drunk Uber home.
  • You’ll quickly learn what a faux pas it is to say “thank you” to the bus driver as you dismount the bus. You’ll also probably get off using the wrong door, and be met with a torrent of abuse from boarding passengers.
  • You’ll adopt ‘London speed’ when walking, and you’ll curse anyone you pass who doesn’t keep this pace. Because who doesn’t walk everywhere at the speed of being chased?

  • You’ll realise that not tapping your Oyster card because the gates are already open/don’t actually exist won’t save you any money. In fact, the opposite. Sob.
  • Following that one time your Oyster failed you and you had to turn around and go back to the machine (pushing through a swarm of mortally aggrieved suit-wearing bankers), you will be filled with a sheer dread every commute. Sometimes it’s enough to make you pull a sickie.
  • Covent Garden will swiftly go from being the holy grail you were desperate to visit the minute you got to London, to somewhere you will avoid like the plague for fear of excess tourists. You’ll probably also get bored waiting for the lift in Covent Garden tube station, take the stairs, and pass out halfway up. When you know, you know.

  • You’ll realise that no matter how good a friend they are, nobody is worth travelling to Zone 6 for.
  • Drinking alcohol will suddenly become acceptable at all times of the day, any day. School nights don’t really exist, and you won’t bat an eyelid at the sight of suit-wearing crowds outside the pub on a Tuesday lunchtime with a round of Jagerbombs. In fact, you’ll probably join them.

  • The sound of sirens will become the soundtrack to your life, no matter where you are and what you’re doing. Even more worryingly, you’ll probably find it hard to sleep on those occasions you do escape the capital, due to the deathly countryside silence.
  • You’ll go all the way to Brick Lane, spend 30p on an authentic buttered beigel, tell everyone you know about it, and then begin to live off said beigels when you realise you can’t afford to buy lunch anywhere else.
  • You will plough an embarrassing amount of your salary into eating/drinking out at whatever niche pop-up happens to be opening near your office/home that week. But it’s okay, because you’ll rack up an excess of 50 likes once you drop that ‘gram of you at that rooftop secret crisp sandwich café.

  • There will be an incident where you blow your nose and are greeted with a black tissue. It’s best to be prepared for this now. All hail that wonderful bubble of pollution.
  • You won’t go to bed without complaining at least once about the following topics: your commute, the weather, how expensive everything is, and how busy everywhere is. Oh, and tourists.
  • Someone will ask you for directions whilst on the tube, and in that very moment you will feel at home. London is yours. You finally belong.

Whatever happens during your first year in London, make sure you’re living in the right flatshare. With over 90,000 rooms and flatmates on SpareRoom, we’re bound to have somewhere great for you to call home…

Imagine being able to enjoy all the benefits of flatsharing without having to pay any rent whatsoever. No, we’re not messing – our LiveRentFree competitions can actually make this a reality. With both a monthly draw to cover someone’s rent for a month, and a bigger annual competition where we’ll foot one winner’s rental bill for a whole YEAR, there’s plenty of chances to win. Just click below and cross EVERYTHING…

5 things only Generation Rent will understand (as told by a Generation Renter)

Contrary to popular belief, most of Generation Rent aren’t actually spending their days crying into their avo-toast because they can’t afford to buy a house. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to go on about homeowning 24/7, or put gross sofas in our rented flat…

1. The perils of living with disgusting furniture

Wild Saturday night #inbedby9 #wildtimes #partyanimal #carnage #hourstoclean #feelfreshsunday #uglysofa

A post shared by Louise Tremaine ✨ (@louisetremaine) on

Raise a hand if you feel like every flat you’ve ever lived in has come with a side order of uncomfortable springy mattress, scuffed ‘leather’ sofa and plastic indoor dining chairs? Luckily for you there’s all manner of landlord-friendly ways to spruce up your rental nowadays, so go forth and get that mattress topper, peel-off floor tile stickers and ALL of the furniture-hiding throws.

2. Listening to your smug friends brag about homeowning

…because who even cares about Archie and his studio flat (and cat) on a housing estate in (aka near) Gloucester. I’d much rather be flatsharing in Zone 2 and drinking 2-4-1 espresso martinis in hipster bars on work nights. Now that is living.

3. Listening to your parents comment about homeowning

The only thing worse than smug friends is concerned parents who are still convinced you can save enough to buy a semi-detached suburban property by the time you’re 24, as long as you just ‘stop going to the pub’. “But what if you never buy?!” they gasp in horror, as if it’s the end of the world. Spoiler alert: it’s not. A life free from footing your own boiler bills, and being able to move to a different location every 12 months? Spontaneity: 1. Life admin: 0.

4. What it’s really like to live with your besties

You’ve been dreaming about it ever since you watched that one where Monica, Rachel and Phoebe hung out wearing wedding dresses. That sense of freedom! Those special bonding moments! The safe knowledge that someone is always there (with a beer) to console you during the darker days… Living with your besties is a dream come true. Sure, you’ll lose all sense of personal space and there will be times when you kind of wish you could just be in your room by yourself, but who wants to shack up solo in a shoebox-sized flat that cost their life savings when they could split bills three ways, have three times the fun and make life a permanent sleepover instead?

5. The confused sense of dread when a cool new restaurant/bar opens near your place

So it continues…. bye scuzzy Bethnal Green… #london #gentrification #coffee #fucksake #hackney #towerhamlets #herewegoagain

A post shared by Bobby Makepeace (@bobby.makepeace) on

It’s the classic internal dilemma: no matter how badly you want to try those maple-glazed chicken wings on buttermilk pancakes with a locally-brewed craft beer, you know they’re only going to taste of gentrification fear. You know, the fear that your rent will skyrocket, and you’ll be bought out of your once undiscovered shabby-chic town by a bunch of graduates with parent-funded rents. The fear that your days in your rough-but-cool flatshare will come to an abrupt end, and it’s all thanks to gentrification. Have faith and search SpareRoom. There’s always an affordable gem in a quirky location…

And then of course there’s the ultimate cure-all: enjoying all the benefits of flatsharing without having to pay any rent whatsoever. No, we’re not messing – our LiveRentFree competitions can actually make this a reality. With both a monthly draw to cover someone’s rent for a month, and a bigger annual competition where we’ll foot one winner’s rental bill for a whole YEAR, there’s plenty of chances to win. Just click below and cross EVERYTHING…

5 storage hacks for really tiny spaces

It’s a well-known truth that no matter how big your room is, how much space your flat has, and how many sets of drawers you buy…you’re probably never going to feel like you have enough storage.

So take this truth and shoehorn it into the ‘just enough space for a double bed’ room you’re hypothetically renting in your current flatshare, and what we’ve got is the space of storage nightmares. Things are spilling out crammed drawers, there’s nowhere to keep your bike, and the Marie Kondo book about decluttering you got for Christmas last year is sitting atop a pile of other junk in the corner, ironically gathering dust.

What the hell do you do? Well, we’re no Marie Kondo but we can help you start to streamline your stuff with a few clever storage hacks to make the most of your space.

1) A case for baskets

Cotton storage basket, £8.99 (H&M)

Otherwise known as the more stylish way to disguise your hoarding problem, pretty storage baskets are the ideal home for ‘useless crap’. You know, things like the payslips you’ve held onto for two years because you don’t know if you’re allowed to get rid of them, and the 18th birthday cards you can’t bring yourself to chuck. These badboys will slot neatly underneath your bed, at the bottom of your wardrobe, or wherever else you can stuff ’em – but that doesn’t mean you have to opt for ugly designs. H&M home has a great range for more than reasonable prices, like the achingly on-trend millennial pink wicker-look basket above.

2) Let’s get trollied

Leila Bar Cart, £200 (Urban Outfitters)

Although largely associated with aeroplane travel, dinner ladies and cheese selections in really fancy restaurants, a well-utilised trolley could actually be your shared kitchen’s best friend. Use it to store anything and everything, from your Tupperware and crockery collections to non-perishable goods you can’t squeeze into your cupboard (looking at you, spice collection). Or if you’re going for a more #chic vibe, pop it in your bedroom and use it for your artfully arranged bric a brac, plants, beauty products, or alcoholic spirits. We’re in LOVE with this Urban Outfitters beauty, but if you’re not sure you want to spare £200 there’s a range of more affordable options at Argos waiting to be carted around. Stuff on wheels = endless fun, btw.

3) We’re hooked

Wooden Over the Door Hook, £10 (Dunelm)

This is a true story: when I moved to uni and into my first ever rented room (which actually was the size of a double bed), over the door hooks saved my life. The true extent of my coat collection made for a difficult battle with my tiny ‘double’ wardrobe, and once I’d finally stopped sobbing at the potential prospect of actually having to throw some clothes away, I made a beeline for Wilko to find some storage solutions. £5 later, I staggered home with a (sinfully ugly) four-hook hanger, and the rest is history. Now I’ve got a bigger budget, I’d be more likely to invest in something aesthetically pleasing like these wooden Dunelm hooks, and let my coats live in the luxury they deserve.

4) Get drawer-ganised

Höfta drawer dividers, £1.50 (Ikea)

Your drawers are just over a quid away from a lifetime of organisation, and it’s all thanks to Ikea: king of storage solutions. These handy dividers can be cut to fit and slot together easily to suit your drawer-dividing needs. It’s literally the PERFECT way to separate underwear from belts, vests from tees, sunglasses from purses… the list goes on. The next challenge: remembering which section you’ve stored everything in.

5) Feel the tension

(Pinterest)

And for the grand finalé of genius storage hacks, we give you tension rods. Install a few of these into every spare nook and cranny and let the magic happen. Curtain hanging aside, tension rods have got SO many uses: hang shoes on them for a makeshift shoe rack (above), use them to create mini shelves in your kitchen cupboards (perfect for small spices and bottles), install them across windows to hang herb baskets off… Just search ‘tension rods’ in Pinterest if you’re after some inspo. Invest in your first rod for as little as £2.50 from Wilko and embark on your new life of blissful landlord-friendly storage. As well as the sheer novelty of having your entire shoe collection as wall art.

Whether it’s a big space, small space or just any space you’re after – you can find that perfect flatshare on SpareRoom. With over 90,000 rooms and flatmates on offer, there’s a LOT of bedrooms waiting for tension rods…