Sunday, 10 May 2015

10 essential Ikea basics

I don't need to tell you how brilliant Ikea is for a well priced piece of home ware. It's a great place for grabbing a few essentials that will serve you well, wherever your rented home is and whatever the size. The trick, at least as far as the basics are concerned, is to try to stick to simple neutrals that will fit in with whatever decor you find yourself with. Not only will they work with what you have now, they are also likely to work with whatever you have next. If you want colour and pattern, you can add them as accents, a bright light shade or a patterned cushion are easier to work with than a bold rug for example and easier to store away or swap out if they end up clashing too much. Of course, if you like a bit of scandi-minimalism, this selection of essentials is probably already right up your street.

All but one of these renter essentials is under £50 and all of them will stand you in good stead for a number of years.

1. Ranarp work lamp £40
A slightly industrial lamp that wouldn't be out of place in a more classic space either. Great as a bedside lamp, task light or as additional lighting in the living room. Lighting plays such an important part in the way a room feels and can be a really inexpensive way to make a room feel warmer and more homely.

2. Kvarnvik storage box in grey £6
A few good looking storage boxes go a long way and the fabric cover on these mean they look more homey and less like they belong in an office. Perfect for storing CDs, paperwork, clothing or accessories, they work in all rooms.  

3. Billy bookcase in grey £45
A version of one of Ikea's bookcases has been a staple in all my homes, rented or otherwise. You can bet that even in a furnished place there's not enough storage and a shallow set of shelves like the Billy system is easy to fit in almost anywhere. It comes in many finishes so you're bound to find one that fits your taste. I like the introduction of the coloured backs and if you want something more zingy, this version also come in yellow.

4. Råskog trolley in grey £50
This truly versatile piece can be used as a kitchen trolley, for bathroom storage, for kids art supplies or even as a bedside table, so wherever you move it's sure to prove a useful investment. Also available in turquoise or cream.

5. Nipprig room divider £39
Available soon, this is a brand new piece and I'm eagerly awaiting it's arrival in store.This screen is really useful if you live in a studio to screen off a sleeping area, and equally useful as a more general tool for hiding unsightly areas. We don't have a large cupboard for things like the hoover and mop so I'll be using this in the hallway to hide all the cleaning bits and bobs! The problem with a lot of screens, is that they are as ugly as the stuff you want to hind, bit this more minimal one is perfect.

6. Osted rug £55
Never underestimate the power of a rug to transform a room. Not only do they make a room feel more inviting, they are essential if you have wooden floors to help soften the space ad provide some warmth in underfoot in the colder months. The rug is a renters best friend, helping to hide your landlords dubious choice of carpet and helping to protect your deposit too. This super large rug will cover a huge area of most rooms and if you spill, it's only your (inexpensive) rug that suffers, not the more expensive fitted carpet underneath. Neutral rugs are a good choice as whatever decor you're faced with, it will fit right in.

7. Lappljung Ruta cushion £9
Whether the sofa you lounge on is yours or your landlords, a couple of stylish, comfy cushions will help to make the living room feel more like home. Choose plain ones on a patterned sofa or opt for patterns and colours to lift a plain one. A few cushions on the bed will also make a good finishing touch. Ikea have a huge range of styles, from scandi-modern, to country cottage and the covers are interchangeable, so if they don't fit in your new place, swap them out for new ones, or change them around between rooms.

8. Åstorp lamp base £21
Lighting is so important I'm including two lamps in this round-up. A good floor lamp casts a much more flattering light than an overhead source, and sockets permitting, mean you have your light source where you need it the most. This slim legged design won't make your room feel crowded and you can choose a shade to suit your decor. Again, plain and neutral may be best for versatility, but a bright, bold or patterned shade is also a great way to inject some personality into your room.

9. Stave mirror £20
This slim line mirror is not only a bargain, but it will fit into the smallest of spaces. It's tall enough to lean on the floor, so no fixing required and could stand in a hallway, bedroom or bathroom. 

10. Merete Curtains £35
Having your own curtains are a must in any rental. It's rare that the ones that come with your flat will be either nice or sufficient to your needs. It might be best to opt for black out curtains in your bedroom, but you can afford to get away with unlined ones in other areas, which offer a balance between light and privacy. In rented homes, curtains are often mean in size and cheap looking. Go for floor length curtains even on smaller windows to help give a room a sense of drama and scale. These ones are easy to hang and when you move out, just pop your old ones back up and take yours with you. For super large windows, use two sets. I had to do this to cover the bay window in our living room, more (fabric) is always better as far as curtains go. 

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