Moving into a flatshare or houseshare is one of the best ways to save some money whilst living in London. Yes, you’ll probably still pay £600+ for a double bedroom, but it will be cheaper than a one bedroom flat which will cost hundreds of pounds more each month. If you are a couple, you can rent a room in a houseshare relatively cheaply- my boyfriend and I paid £425 each (plus bills) for a large double bedroom with an ensuite in zone 2, West London and lived with two other flat mates before moving to our own one bedroom flat in June. This is an absolute steal in London terms and meant that I was able to save a pretty penny over the course of the year that we lived there.
One of the troubles with housesharing (and renting in general), is that it is often tough to make the property feel like your own. Our flat share came “furnished” with the 92 year old landlady’s castoffs- dated pictures, paintings, tea sets and china book ends- none of which was to our own tastes. We stowed away many of her possessions in cupboards and cabinets and put up our own artwork and posters which definitely helped change the old fashioned feel of the flat.
If you have some exposed shelving like we did, adding your own bits and pieces is a must! My housemates and I added colourful books and knick-knacks to our open shelving to brighten the room and make it more personalised. I displayed a beautiful large fan, bought for £3 in a charity shop in my hometown, and the tagine that I haggled for in the Souks of Marrakesh. My boyfriend added a horse racing watercolour painting that my parents gave him, and our other flatmates made their contribution too.
Utilising all of the space that you have in a property is vital, especially in London where you are unlikely to live somewhere with great square footage. Finding a cupboard for suitcases (handy tip- packing smaller suitcases and bags into larger ones is a great space saver), Christmas decorations, and other items that are not in constant use can really improve your perception of the space, and make you feel like you have much less clutter. We had all 4 of our large suitcases sat in our living space for months before we realised that by moving a few things around, we had enough space for them all in a little cupboard under the stairs.
As a couple, we liked to make sure that our bedroom was our little bolthole. It is important when you are living in a flat share to have a space that feels like yours alone, I used to often light some candles and relax in the bath in our ensuite which me feel more “at home.” I also liked having dedicated little areas for my belongings, for example, I had a crafting corner next to the bed where I stored all my embroidery and sewing projects, fabrics, and unwanted items that I needed to get listed on eBay. Sharing just one room as a couple means that you need to have your own little areas to store your possessions- having a small space between the two of you sure brings a whole new meaning to the word sharing!
Do you flat share as a couple? What are your best tips?