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…

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…

5 inexpensive buys to take your shared kitchen from drab to fab

1. Windowsill Herb Box

How many times in the last month have you found yourself mid-marinade, wishing you’d remembered to pick up some basil from Tesco earlier? Cry no more, my friend. A windowsill herb planter will soothe all herbal culinary woes, with no need for a garden, trowel or previous plant-growing expertise – and it’ll make every grimy kitchen look (and smell) better straight away. Snap one up for as little as £9.99 on Amazon (complete with compost, basil, chive and parsley seed packets) and get growing. Flatmates shall be bowled over, bolognese shall taste better, and visitors shall mistake you for a proper adult.

2. Cloud-shaped Chalkboard

There’s SO many things to love about the good old fashioned chalkboard. Not only does it conjure endless classroom nostalgia, it also serves as a great canvas for scribbling important notes to your flatmates. You know, things like the all-important cleaning rota, whose turn it is to buy milk, or passive aggressive (read: threatening) messages to the suspected biscuit thief. This one is cloud-shaped and comes in at under £20, leaving you plenty of pennies to stock up on an array of coloured chalks.

3. Pineapple Bottle Stop

Bid a smug farewell to the days of leaving random spoons in the top of your prosecco to keep it fizzy in the fridge (thanks for the tip though, Mum). This chic £12 pineapple bottle stop is here to keep those rare unfinished beverages fresh, flavoursome and at their strongest ABV. It’s simultaneously also pretty cute and stylish enough to incite envious conversation amongst dinner guests. Which is a great distraction from a less than brilliant choice of wine.

4. Panini maker

Everybody knows there’s nothing quite like the heartwarming smell of gently toasting bread, and nothing quite like the taste of gooey melted mozzarella. Enter the (£20) panini maker. Flatmates will be wooed by your freshly toasted sandwiches (they make great bribes/peace offerings) and just think of all the cash you’ll save without the need for those lunchtime Pret visits and dodgy meal deals. Better still, you can garnish your creations using those freshly grown windowsill box herbs. Winner, winner.

5. A kitchen garden

Because let’s face it, reasonably priced rented accommodation with a garden = SERIOUSLY rare, particularly if you’re living in the city. But not to worry, because there’s always Patch – purveyors of the uber-cheap urban plant. There’s kitchen plants galore for both well-lit and dimly-lit spaces, plus a selection of minimalist cool pots to keep them in. We’re hankering after Franky the aloe vera plant and his air-purifying, skin-soothing powers. Is there anything Franky can’t do?

Buying these is great and all, but how about if you didn’t pay rent for a month? Then you could buy all of these and more…SO much more. Well, it could happen sooner than you think – enter our Live Rent Free competition, where we pay someone’s rent EVERY month.