It’s important to remember that renting your spare room to a lodger is a two sided affair. Yes it’s your home and the new person needs to respect your house rules and pay your rent on time, but you need to make them feel welcome and ensure the spare room you provide is furnished correctly. This will ensure you are on the path to having a good, honest relationship with your new lodger by making them feel valued. Happy lodgers mean on time rent and a sense of belonging that encourages them to look after your home as if it was theirs.
In this article I’m going to suggest how to furnish your spare room using furniture from IKEA. We work with lots of people in London who rent out their rooms and flats, and people that are moving into their new homes and are in the process of getting it furnished. Hopefully we can pass on some of the useful things we see and learn from them on to you in this article.
Renting your spare room under the rent a room scheme?
If you’re taking advantage of the rent a room scheme you will need to provide a furnished room, so you might as well get it furnished properly.
Provide tidy and ample storage
Good storage is critical. If a lodgers room has inadequate storage then their belongings may find their way into the rest of the house making it untidy and a potential point of tension between you both. Most spare rooms are fairly small so its important not to make the room feel like it’s over crowded with storage but at the same time get as much storage as possible. The mistake many people make is to not make the most of the height of a room. Instead of taking more floor space, the trick here is have storage up to the ceiling and mounted on the wall.
Arguably the best pound for pound space saving storage system out there is the IKEA PAX. Unlike many wardrobes in their price range, the PAX system has two height options, 201 cm and 236 cm. The 236 option is normally just short of the average ceiling height of a UK room, and its also much higher than normal “cheap” wardrobes that can be as low as 160 cm! The PAX range has a choice of sliding doors. Unlike hinged doors, sliding doors do not need space to swing open thus saving even more space. Go for the white ‘HASVIK’ doors for the simple white option (and cheapest) or mirrored to make the room feel bigger.
Make use of the space – Wall storage
It makes sense to make the most of wall space and well thought out wall storage can make a room feel bigger. The BESTA is another range from IKEA that like PAX has many options for customisation. They also have a huge range of door and drawer finishes for every taste.
The doors and drawer finishes on the IKEA BESTA system can help to add a splash of style to the spare room.
Hanging furniture on the wall saves floor space and the BESTA system is perfect for hanging on the wall. If space is limited then its best to go for a shallower depth of unit, luckily this range has several depths to choose from and the 20cm depth is perfect for holding books and other bits and pieces.
You can also mix up the depth of the frames you use, for example having a deeper unit in a corner where people are unlikely to hit their heads on it, with an arrangement of thinner frames next to it. Mixing up depths of frames will add spacial contrast. Another good tip to make the room feel more spacious is to hang the storage on a diagonal line, starting low at one end and high at the other.
Comfortable and practical bed
Beds take up a lot of floor space but they can also provide a lot of storage. There are several ways you can take advantage of the storage space under a bed. Some beds have drawers built into their base that pull out. These can be problematic because it means you have keep the sides free from furniture to allow space to pull drawers out.
The best beds for maximising storage and optimising room space are Ottoman beds. Because ottomans lift upwards you can put bedside cabinets or chests of drawers next to the bed. Also, you get the most of the space below the bed. It means you can easily fit long or large items under there and have easy access to them, with under bed drawers, the size of items you can store is limited to the drawer size.
Space to work – desk
It also important to not forget a functional desk. If your lodgers have a comfortable working space in the spare room then its less likely they’ll feel the need to setup office in your kitchen or living room, which can lead to those rooms becoming a permanent home to unsightly computer cables, piles of note books and work bags!
The MICKE desk pictured here is amazing value and looks great, its kind of a cheaper version of the brilliant BESTA BURS desk. Don’t be fooled by the low cost price tag into thinking the MICKE desk is not good quality, we often assemble these in Central London offices, so if they can take the bashings of a busy office they can certainly work in your spare room.
On a very tight budget?
If you want to provide a great space for your Lodger but have a very tight budget then IKEA does have a budget range of products but they won’t be as sturdy, customisable, or space efficient as the items above. For a budget wardrobe try the DOMBAS, or BRIMNES range, the doors and sides feel quite flimsy but they should do the job. For storage try BILLY or KALLAX. KALLAX looks great and you can also attach wheels to the bottom of it and use it as a room divider.
So to summarise, there are basically three things that will make the spare room perfect for your new house mate, storage, work space, and how you arrange these makes up the third thing which is the use of space. By using the IKEA furniture above in the right way you can turn your spare room into a perfect living area which will ensure you attract and keep the perfect housemate. As well as that, with a well furnished room can charge a premium and not feel guilty for doing so. I hope this helps you and please leave a comment below.