Older people may think young people have never had it so good but with only 1.4 million of England’s 14.3 million homeowners aged between 25 and 34, young people have been frozen off the property ladder in today’s housing crisis forcing them into rented ‘homes’.
While millennials may be able to order a takeaway via Deliveroo, or even a shag off Tinder, via their iPhone, there’s sadly no app to help them to buy property in central London for the price of Freddo like their grandparents seemed to be able to do.
If you’re one of the 4 million private tenants trapped in renting cycle, you’ll know all too well the pain of dealing with rogue landlords, annoying flatmates and just how hard it can be hard to make your rented house feel like a home. In a new weekly feature, long term renter (and rent a gob on such issues) Zoe will share some tips and tricks she’s picked up over the years as a tenant and recommended purchases to help soften to blow of being part of Generation Rent.
Look, you don’t need me to tell you all the cons of being a young person living in the U.K during the current housing crisis. It’s rubbish. I can moan about it all day (and trust me, I do) but I’m starting to train myself to see some of the pros to being stuck renting. The main one being that usually a lot of properties come fully furnished. Sure, the furniture in question is usually black leather porn casting couches, IKEA wardrobes from the 90s and glass top coffee tables that only someone with a crippling cocaine habit would appreciate, but it also includes those expensive white goods. While your mate may be on the property ladder as you slum it in a grotty house share she’s also having to save up for a new washing machine as hers is on the blink whereas you’re free to blow what little disposable income you have on more aesthetically pleasing soft furnishings.
So let’s look at how to make your rented house feel more like a home rather than resemble some after hours gaff.
Let’s start with the most important room for renters. Unless you’re lucky enough to be living alone, or with a partner, chances are your bedroom will be your sanctuary; not only will it be where you sleep but also the room where you watch TV, do your work and sometimes even eat your tea in when your flatmate is being especially annoying and boring you about their latest conspiracy theory.
This cute little table from Home Bargains* is just £9.99. I don’t even need to write any more about it, do I? £9.99. For just a tenner you can have a piece of furniture in your flat or house that actually looks like it was designed in 2017 as opposed to the other stuff hurting your eyes in your home.
It’s ridiculously easy to assemble; you simply you screw in the legs – no need for any tools and/or ringing your parents and begging them to come round and help you do it. It’s also light and easy to carry home, or transport on a bus, if you don’t drive. Did I mention it’s only a tenner?
Home Bargains is a haven for renters; you’re already in there purchasing cleaning supplies, shared items like ironing boards and your shampoo that your flatmate keeps nicking but it’s also a great shop to stumble across gems like this for just 10 quid. Just to be clear, in case I hadn’t already mentioned it, that this table is an absolute bargain costing only £9.99.
*Or Home & Bargain if you live in Liverpool.
Over the years I never really gave much thought about the quality of my bed covers; I’ve usually just braved a trip to Primark, found a set that looks nice enough, got home, chucked it on and rewarded myself for enduring the hell that is queueing in Primark by having a nap.
However, a few months ago I decided it was time to try and be better at this whole adulting thing and actually spend some time and money investing in a set I actually like for once. I came across Vantona Home and their bedlinen range and oh my, what a game changer. I opted for a flannelette double duvet cover set (featured in picture above) and I haven’t looked back since. For just a couple of quid more than what I normally spend on my basic, itchy cotton sets, I’ve got covers that wash better, look amazing and best of all, are ridiculously warm and cosy. Oh so warm.
Staying on the bed, chances are your landlord hasn’t bothered to upgrade your mattress over the years and when you’re dozing off a night all the lumps and bumps can make it feel like you’re sleeping on a bed of nails at times. I think my worst experience with one while renting was waking up one morning with my legs covered in blood because as I had slept, the springs had finally poked through and decided to shred my shins. When you require a first aid kit when you wake up in the morning, you know it’s time to change your sleeping environment.
I’m not going to suggest purchasing a new mattress for three reasons:
They’re pricey AF.
Have you ever tried to get a landlord or a letting agent to replace something? Unless the piece of furniture is literally a health and safety hazard that could kill you, chances are they’ll ignore your pleas for an upgrade.
Where do you store the original pathetic excuse for a mattress? You’re going to have to leave something when you move out in order to get your deposit back and you’re sure as hell not going to want to spend hundreds on a mattress just to gift it to someone who’s been squeezing as much as they can out of you for months. You could keep it on the floor and try and pass it off as a modern art exhibition I guess.
No, there’s absolutely no need to splash out on something so boring when you can just purchase a memory foam mattress topper that will put an end to your Princess & the Pea style sleep woes. With a bit of online digging, you can usually find one online for around £35. If you can’t commit to that kind of spending at the moment, beg, borrow or steal a spare duvet off someone and whack that under your sheets for a makeshift topper in the meantime.
When you’re in your Duvet Burrito at 5.30pm of an evening, because you can’t afford to have the heating on for long, you’ll be grateful you took the time to make your bed a toasty heaven.
The Clothes Rack
Sex and the City has so many wildly unrealistic plot holes; just how does Carrie keep getting more credit from banks when she barely has any income, why does no one tell Charlotte to stop being such a wildly judgemental funsponge and how do four busy women, with kids and careers, all always manage to meet up for cocktails without six months planning required before hand? But the biggest oversight of them all has to be Carrie, a renter, having such a wealth of closet space. Unless you’re pretty lucky, you’re most likely stuck with a teeny tiny single wardrobe that can barely hold enough outfit choices to see you through a week at work.
Rather than have all your clothes thrown over a chair or scrunched up in a drawer, get yourself a clothes rail like this one from Home Bargains (Where else?) Don’t just see it as a storage solution but turn it into a feature; get some matching rose gold hangers from Primark, display your cutest outfits and bags – you can even go super extra and wrap some fairy lights round it if that’s what you’re into. Scroll through Instagram and Pinterest and inspire your inner #FashionBlogger.
Next Week: The Living Room