Many rental properties come unfurnished or part furnished, which means tenants have the expense of buying big-ticket items, along with lots of smaller ones that add up.
For those renting apartments, there is the additional issue of getting sofas, armchairs, tables and chests of drawers up and down the stairs or in the lift, if there is one.
So, lots of issues that are increasingly being faced by “generation rent” and also by those who divorce and cannot afford to buy another property when shared assets are halved. My first port of call would be charity shops that specialise in furniture. You can find solid wood dining tables with drop down leaves from £20 and if you don’t like the colour, you can repaint. Bedside tables, chest of drawers, bookcases, stand chairs and desks can also be sourced second hand from charity shops, eBay and Facebook marketplace.
If you really don’t like the idea of used goods, then Ikea, The Range, Wilko, Primark and B&M should be on your list of places to go for budget buys. Ikea is ideal as the selection of items on offer is vast and you can visit in person before buying online, therefore cutting out the headache of organising delivery. The least expensive double bed frame from the Swedish superstore is the Neiden at £35 and the least expensive double mattress is £65. The Linnmon/Adils desk in white costs just £16. My daughter has one in her rental flat and loves its stylish simplicity.
Before you head to the soon-to-be-open Ikea cafe, you might want to look at soft furnishings, storage solutions and lighting, as they are other areas that Ikea excel in and that you will, most likely, be short of.
If getting bulky furniture up the stairs is an issue, there is a new generation of sofas that come flat packed in a series of boxes that can negotiate narrow stairways and doorways.
Swyft, www.swyfthome.co.uk, specialise in these “sofas in a box” and they are sturdy and super-stylish in either velvet or linen. Best of all they can be slotted together in five minutes. They start at £895 for a two-seater.
Remember that if you move on and cannot take everything with you, you can resell or you can donate. Emmaus will collect as will most other charity furniture stores.
There is also the possibility of selling your furniture and furnishings onto the next tenant, if one has been found before you leave. Ask your letting agent to pass on your details. The agent will stress that this must be a private arrangement. The next tenant may be very grateful not to have to start from scratch.
Walls and Floors
The landlord may allow you to redecorate as long as you run the colour of the paint and wallpaper by them. However, they are most likely to want neutral colours.
That leaves you to add interest and colour with pictures. Do not use sticky tack as it leaves indelible grease marks. Instead, use Command strips, which don’t mark the wall and are strong enough to hold prints in a frame.
As for floors, rugs are your best friend and you can take them with you when you leave.
Pictured: Urban Paradise table, £30, from B&M stores; Velvet sofa in a box, £995, www.swyfthome.com; Leopard cushion, £8, from www.wilko.com and seersucker double duvet set, £14, from Primark.