I recently moved. Back when I lived in North London, I had a teeny studio flat that I lived in for 4 years, then I lived in a shared flat in Shoreditch for 2 years. I'm now back in North London, and back in a teeny (but a little bit larger than last time) studio. I'm so over sharing a living space, just far too old for that!
If you've rented in London, or had a look at online listings, you'll know how depressing it can get. Spaces are tiny, and often shoddy. If I had a partner to share with, I could maybe up my rental game a little, but probably not by much! See the rental scam I nearly fell for here.
So I've become pretty skilled at making the best of what I can rent, and making small spaces slightly less claustrophic. I think there's a lot to be said for sharing pictures of our homes that aren't blogger-perfect, because when you rent especially, you just have to work with what you've got. I don't have a blogger perfect house, but I live in London, and I think I manage to make my rented spaces feel like home. So here I am, sharing my rental reality.
When I looked at my new place, I instantly burst out that that I'd need to paint the kitchen/dining area. Who on earth moved into a small space and decided to paint it deep pink?? The tennant before me is who!
The fabulous people at the Little Greene paint company offered to send me some paint to transform my little dining area, and I quickly received a paint chart in the post. I ended up choosing a colour very similar to the paint I use in Rockalily Cuts, so its obviously a colour that calls to me! I ended up choosing Brighton, from their Colours of England range. I know you shouldn't pick a colour based on its name, but having lived in Brighton for 4 years, it just felt like fate.
I painted the hideous pink with a white undercoat first (confession; it may have been just white paint, rather than a specific undercoat, but whatevs). I found the blue paint covered really well, and again I sort of cheated. Instead of doing a full second coat, I just patched up any areas that just needed a little more love. I'm lazy ok? And it looks great.
I do have a new blind too, but I need help to hang it, so that's a work in progress!
I've been obsessed with 3M picture hanging strips for years, and they're just so so so good for renters, or even for home owners who don't want to bother with making holes in the walls. They allow me to add pictures really easily, and I've even used them to distract from the tiles that cover the walls of the kitchen area.
I can't change the fact that this wall has a meter and fuse box slap bang in the middle of it. I may well get it boxed in at a later date, but for now, I've shoved a faux flower pot on it. Winning camouflage I'm sure you'll agree.
You can see here I've used 3M picture strips to hang some light items on the tiles. It just helps to personalise your space, and tiles used to be so limiting. Thank you 3m! (not sponsored, just a genuine thank you!)
Another cheeky tip for renters is that sticky back plastic you can add to windows. I'm on the ground floor and quickly realised the people living next door can see into all of my windows. I needed a cheap and quick way to make my windows opaque. I bought this sticky plastic from Wilcos, and its called D-C-Fix Original Deco Self-Adhesive Film Minster. It was super easy to apply. The only downside is that it wasn't tall enough for the window, so there is a silly gap at the top! Ha. I may well look into finding a taller roll and re-do it at a later date.
Was it my childhood fantasy that I'd be renting tiny studio flats in my 30s? Hardly. However, the world is what it is, and we can make the best with what we have. Currently I'm adoring having a garden (see my garden make-over here), and I'm always much happier living alone. It's great to have a proper desk, that isn't in my bedroom, and I'm finding my productivity levels have increased. I ordered the world's smallest sofa so that I can relax and watch tv. If you're curious about my digital set up, I'm a double-screener, with my laptop and the flat screen. Once you go double, you can never go back.....allllll the tabs.
It's actually crazy hard to get pictures of such a small space, so I've done what I can. But the power of painting a rental flat is huge. I find that assuring the landlord that its a free upgrade for them works wonders, or ensuring its an inoffensive colour. They generally just say to paint it back white at the end of your lease, but if its a nice improvement on what was there before, you can expect to be able to leave it. At my last flat I think I even got a small amount of my first rent as I promised to paint the dark blue (what is wrong with people?!) kitchen white for her. Saved her the bother!