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Deals of the week: The Next sale is on

Let’s face it folks, for any interior/home décor lover there’s only one sale worth talking about this week and that’s the Next sale.

Usually I am one of those crazy people standing in line at the crack of dawn shivering with a mug of something strong clutched between my palms. But not this time. Oh no, this time I couldn’t find anyone equally as crazy to come with me so I bribed my young nephew and made there just before 9am.

As you can see from the pics below there were still plenty of goodies to choose from and I popped my head in again today not expecting to find much but was pleasantly surprised. On my previous trip to the Next sale on boxing day I went a little mad. In my defence I was moving into a new house, hence why my home is filled with Next homewares. This time I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, perhaps a poof, which I didn’t manage to get. However, I did come away with some nice little things.

next sale

On trip number one, since I had a demanding 10-year-old with me, I couldn’t stay for long so I quickly grabbed a beautiful while flower Sophia photo frame reduced from £12.00 to £5.00 and a sea salt and driftwood fragrance candle that apparently burns for up to 65 hours (I’ll take their word on that) for only £2.50, originally £6.00.

Then on trip number two, minus the ten-year old, I picked up a purple and gold-rimmed vase for £5.00, originally £12.00 that I’d seen on trip number one and a set of two plastic lunch boxes for £2.50 down from £6.00.

I did manage to take some sneaky pics of the sale despite the crowds and elbows. Fingers crossed you may still find a few of these items in-store or online.

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Cute pink tea-cup and saucer

My favourites from here are the pink flower cup and saucer. I have so many already that I decided not to get one, but looking at them now I’m starting to regret not getting it.

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faux plants and more

I was once again tempted by the faux plants but they were still a little too ‘faux’ for my liking and I know I’m asking for the impossible but I’d love to find some faux plants that actually look real.

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Coasters galore

I also particularly liked the look of the pineapple coasters. They’ve got a great summer feel but I already have so many already I couldn’t justify getting even more.

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Candles and diffusers

Finally, who doesn’t love candles and reed diffusers? There were so many wonderful spelling candles I was spoilt for choice. I nearly bagged the gin and tonic smelling one but thought better off it, I’d rather the real thing. As for the diffusers they all sounded lovely but the problem was I couldn’t smell any of them so I decided not to risk it.

There was so much more than I could take photos of so if there’s nothing here that takes your fancy then do head online or in store and check it out for yourselves because I also saw quite a few glamourous-looking lamps and light fittings. Happy sale hunting and if you went to the sale and picked up some goodies yourself then do let me know, I love hearing and seeing what others managed to find.


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Now & Then: How my rented home has changed

I thought it was about time I started to give you all a glimpse into my own home. The reason I set up this blog was to talk about the highs and lows of renting and to share my passion for interior design and home décor. Over the last few months I’ve been trying to turn our house into a home and put our own stamp on the place. For all you out there who, like myself, are renting, this isn’t easy. But it can be done mainly with a lot of help from home furnishings and accessories.


This is what our bedroom looked liked when we first moved in. I felt like the position of the bed limited the space in the room. Instead, I chose to move the head of the bed to the adjacent wall away from the window. I wanted to keep it simple in this room so we opted for minimal furniture and have stuck mainly with what was here when we moved in, including a dressing table, the first I’ve ever had. The only item we chose not to keep was the large marble mirror. I felt that there plenty of mirrors throughout the house and preferred instead something smaller and more subtle for the dressing table. The curtains in the room were purple so I kept with that colour as it also happens to be one of my favourites and introduced a lamp, candles and vases in that shade with a little pink thrown in here and there.






As you can see in the conservatory, a lot of work was still underway in there right up until moving day. The floor had to be raised, walls painted and new lighting added. But it was the one room in the house that was almost a bare shell that we could decorate ourselves. We initially were going to use it as a second lounge but found that it would become far too hot in there so instead it’s become our dining room/office. It’s one of the rooms in the house that gets the most use and is usually the most untidy. I’m a massive reader so the first thing we bought for this room was a small white bookcase which is already full. I’m a big believer in buying plain, unfussy furniture that you can then jazz up and will fit into any room when you/I move.



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The bathroom actually hasn’t changed that much, despite our landlord saying we were going to get either a new bath panel or bath, depending on how he’s feeling to the day he visits. 6 months on and we still have the same bath that leaks every time I have a shower. What I really want to do is try to get more plants in here. I’ve seen lots of succulents I’d like to try as well as hanging bathroom-friendly plants so I’m hoping to do that next month.




bathroom now.jpg


I’ve tried , as much as one can with a fitted kitchen to make it our own but I find I’m adding rather than taking away and it’s starting to become a little cluttered. I was going for the country kitchen feel (despite living in a city) but I’m not sure if I’ve quite pulled it off. I don’t mind the kitchen cupboards but would love to paint them white however that’s not an option so instead I’ve tried to introduce cream and white elsewhere.




Living room

After the conservatory my favourite place in the house in the living room. When the conservatory starts to heat up especially around midday, the living room is a cool haven to come and relax in. It’s also one of the rooms that we’ve done the most to. It’s the first room people see when the come through the front door because we have no hallway so I always wanted it to look inviting. I opted for pastel colours in pink, purple and grey in this room to work around the great sofas. If I could change one thing in the room it would be the large black glass coffee table. I wasn’t a fan of glass tables before I moved in and I’m less so now after seeing how difficult they are to keep clean. I’d have opted for something in a lighter colour and smaller.



livingroom nowlivingroom now1

The house is still a work in progress and my next projects include creating a gallery wall for either the bedroom or the living room and brining a more tropical feel into the bathroom and move away from the clichéd blue, nautical theme that I went with when we moved in.


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Time to brighten up the bedroom with my Debenham’s sale buys

Yesterday I got very excited about the Debenhams housewares sale (as I mentioned in my previous post) and I couldn’t leave empty-handed so I came away with these goodies.

debenham buys
Debenhams sale buys:

First up for the kitchen I bought a cream trivet originally £8.00 but in the sale it was £5.00, so no more burning my chopping boards and work surfaces with hot pans.

However, my favourite buy is the kaleidoscope butterfly duvet cover from Matthew Williamson’s butterfly HOME collection. I’ve been coveting this set for a while and I’m in love with all of Matthew Williamson’s designs for the home. They look luxurious and have a real summery, bohemian feel. There’s not a drab, dull colour in his whole collection and since we don’t seem to be having much of a summer so far, this will definitely brighten up any room.

When I saw this duvet in the sale I knew I had to have it and the fact that it was so cheap didn’t hurt either. This is a double set, 100% cotton and with 60% off it was originally £57.00 and in the sale I took it home for £22.80! With that I also purchased a set of 2 new plain white pillow cases that weren’t in the sale but were only £6.00 to replace our old ones.

Matthew Williamson Butterfly duvet cover

Above is a close-up and below you can see what it looks like with the rest of the room. As you can see our bedroom is very plain so I was keen on finding a duvet cover that brought a bit of colour and vibrancy to the room. Usually I would opt for white and accessorize with cushions but the boyfriend doesn’t like them on the bed so I had to choose something that would hold its own. I think this does a pretty good job. Everything else in the room is either pink or purple so it seems to fit in well. One thing I would say about these images is that whilst they do show off the blue tones they don’t quite bring out the purple in the sheets. Instead, they look a little brown but trust me, in person the blues and purples look stunning.

My bedroom with the new duvet cover

Below is how it looks in the official pics and I think it better reflects what it looks like in real life. They clearly have better camera equipment then I do but I think the dark walls really show it off at its best. Unfortunately, what with living in a rented house, I can’t change my walls to this deep shade of blue. I am also envious of the beautiful gallery wall they’ve got going on in this picture. The only thing my own room needs now is some art work like this on the walls which I’m hoping to start next month. I already have the art I just need to have it all framed.

matthew williamson

If you love this look then I would definitely check out the article in Living etc. magazine from April 2016 that gives you a sneak peek into Matthew Williamson’s home and his inspirations. For someone like me who doesn’t experiment with colour, Williamson’s house couldn’t be more different.

Living etc. magazine

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Deals of the week: It’s Debenham’s sale time

Apologies for not bringing you any deals of the week last week but to be honest I didn’t see anything that really stood out to me unlike this week where my deals of the week all come from Debenhams. (They’re not paying me to promote their stuff in case you’re wondering. I just happen to think they have some great things in their sale).

If you haven’t had a chance to yet, head into Debenhams because they have a huge blue cross sale from a whopping 60% off down to a not too measly 20%. There are sales across the whole store but the one that took my fancy was in their home department.

I can’t guarantee all of these items will be in your local Debenhams but I’ve tried to capture a good selection below. I’ve not managed to find and include the names and prices of all the items in the pictures instead choosing to give you a flavour of what is on offer in their sale.

These come from the Debenhams in Manchester City centre which has quite a large selection but I did also check out the sale in the Altrincham branch of Debenhams and most but not all of these items were there and that is a much smaller store.

Want to see what I’ve found? First up are these half-price items which range from candles and jewellery boxes to clocks and faux flowers.

On the top shelf there’s the butterfly hanging attachment by Matthew Williamson that vary by size from £3.00-£5.00. Also by Matthew Williamson are the pink, purple and blue scented votive candles in boxes from his Butterfly collection at £9.00 each. Debenhams Home Collection also have their own sandalwood scented candles at £3.25. Next to those is the JRJ John Rocha dark grey stripped bottle vase in the sale at £12.60. On the second shelf is the jewellery drawer unit from the Butterfly Home collection by Matthew Williamson with a saving of 30% now £22.40.  Below that is the Debenhams Home Collection artificial tulips in a glass vase at £22.50. At the bottom are the Ben di Lissi home yellow giraffe bookends at a 50% saving now £12.50. There are also a variety of Jones clocks which I think varied in price. At the very end is the ‘cosmo’ gold ‘wish wall art at £8.00, 50% off.

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All half-price

Next are these cushions which seem to vary in terms of sale discount. I particularly loved the hummingbird cushions and the ones on the top shelf with giraffes on which I think would love really cute in a child’s bedroom.

Top: Home collection silver textured patterned cushion with linen and silk 50% now £14.00. (They are also on the second shelf as well). Second row: Navy J by Jasper Conran cushion at £15.20 with 60% off. Third row: Home Collection white watercolour bird cushion £17.50, 30% off. Debenhams Home collection Dalmatian print cushion 50% off now £9.00. Bottom: RJR John Rocha grey ikat print cushion £22.80, that’s 40% discount.

cushions galore

They also have a sale on their lamps, vases and candle holders with 20% off. There wasn’t anything here that particularly caught my eye but that might be because I have so many already that I wouldn’t know where to put them.

On the top from left to right: JRJ John Rocha small silver scratch effect vase £16.00. JRJ John Rocha tall silver hammered vase £38.40. On the bottom are silver textured feather filled cushions by JRJ John Rocha at £22.40. JRJ John Rocha large silver scratch effect vase £30.40

Vases and candle holders

Fear not there’s more yet. Need a new bread bin or somewhere to hide those biscuits you shouldn’t be eating? Check out these beauts. Being addicted to cheese I couldn’t pass by without noticing their cheese boards and knives. It did take all the strength I have not to buy them. After all, what cheese lover doesn’t want a cheese dome?

Cheese glorious cheese. Debenhams has just the board for it.

Top: At Home with Ashley Thomas pale green bread bin jar £21.00, 50% off.  From the Debenhams Home Collection are the cream ceramic embossed biscuit jar £8.00 with 50% off, cream ceramic embossed bread bin £21.00, 50% off and the cream ceramic embossed coffee jar £7.00 saving 50%. On the second shelf is again their Home Collection cream ceramic embossed oil bottle £6.00, 50% off. Third shelf: Home collection black slate cheese board with cheese dome 40% off at £21.00.

Jamie Oliver’s kitchen range and much more

If none of that has wet your appetite then how about some Jamie Oliver? There’s the Jamie Oliver retro double oven glove in yellow £7.20 40% off. My particular favourites are the At Home with Ashley Thomas range, with her white floral oven glove £9.00, 40% off and at the far end Ashley Thomas’ white floral teapot and mug set £14.00, 30% off.

If you’ve liked what you’ve seen then why not pop in and check it out for yourselves. Happy sale hunting!

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Time to declutter – One rose gold tray to the rescue

I’m not a tidy person, I’ll admit it. I have trouble keeping my house clean and tidy, mainly because I always think I have something better to do. In the war on clutter the coffee table in the living room has become something of a dumping ground for all the crap that I either take out of my bags or for the things that haven’t made it back to their rightful homes. Determined not to let this continue any longer I had a spring clean this weekend and decided to get organised.

With that in mind I went out and to find something that would help me keep all my candles, coasters and vases tidy.  As you all know I love a sale especially one that involves homewares so I couldn’t walk past the Homebird sale without buying anything. There were a selection of trays but this one I thought would fit in well with the pink colours already in the living room. It’s a gorgeous rose gold tray with a glass bottom. As I said it’s from Homebird in Altrincham Manchester and cost £10.98 (not in the sale as it turns out).


Admittedly, this tray isn’t going to solve all my messy ways but now that I’ve started I don’t intend to stop because after sorting out the coffee table I intend to move onto the conservatory and the bedroom, decluttering everything I can my hands on to the point where I’m sure I won’t actually be able find anything. But oh well, at least the place will look tidy. I’ll worry about finding things on Monday.

If you want to take a look for yourself at the lovely interiors on offer here is the link to their website: Homebird Furniture

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Picnic time of year

For the last two days the weather has been a scorcher here in Manchester so the boyfriend and I are planning a picnic for later today when the weather cools a little. Yesterday we were on the look-out for some paper picnic tableware to go into our cool bag. When you’re having something like a picnic you don’t want to pay too much and need them to be as little-weight as possible as well as recyclable. I was excited then when I came across these ice-cream tubs and paper straws from Pound World’s Confetti range. Not only do they look good but they’re environmentally friendly. I love the fun colours and there’s plenty more within their range so if these take your fancy then go hunt the rest down.

Confetti range

Whilst I was thinking about picnic items, I decided I might invest in a proper picnic basket or hamper. I did a bit of research and I found these a great selection below. I’ve not decided which one to go for yet so if you’ve purchased any of these do let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Dunelm Four Person White Picnic Hamper: £50



M&S Dovecote Floral 2 Person Heart Hamper: £45



picnic hamper
House off Fraser- Linea: Coast 2 Person Hamper £36.00 reduced from £45.00
Amara – Picnic Basket: Ellis White £55.00 reduced from £110.00
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Deals of the week – Home Bargains & Primark

As promised, I’ve been out and about again hunting down some of the best deals of the week, all at ridiculously low prices.(Gosh, doesn’t that sound like something off a T.V. advert!) I’ve had an incredibly productive week with lots of fantastic things to show you. These are purely personal choices, items that either I have bought myself or would want to own.

First up is Primark. If you haven’t already checked out their homewares department you really must because they have a great range of inexpensive goodies for the home. Some are a little kitsch but because they’re made to follow trends, chances are they’re not the kinds of things you’re going to keep and use forever. These mini faux plants made me smile, especially since I am still on the hunt for a few faux plants to go in my conservatory and bathroom. I also fell in love with their giant, gold elephant candles, perfect for giving your home that summer, bohemian vibe. If I remember correctly, most of these were under £10

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In the image below are yet more faux plants (are you starting to detect a theme here?) and copper-style candle holders. Personally, I think the whole copper trend has had its day but if it’s a trend you love, then you can knock yourself out with these.

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Yet more faux plants and copper candle holders

Finally from Primark, these are the buys I took home myself,  cute and on-trend cactus shaped candles for £2.00. I’ve already decided that they’re going to be dotted in amongst the plants and flowers in the conservatory and will look great once lighted in the evening as we sit and eat dinner. They’re fun and give off a real summery vibe.

cactus candles (2)

Believe or not I did shop somewhere other than Primark this week because my next great deals come from Home Bargains. Their homewares department has a lovely selection including those from their baking range called Bakeshop. They very much remind me of Cath Kidson so if you’re a fan, as I am, but want something a little less pricey, then these are a savvy buy. I plan on picking up the red-spot jug and measuring cups next time I’m in there. From left to right, the 4 pack of measuring cups are £3.99, the North Pole ceramic jug is £4.99 and the North Pole book stand is £2.99.

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Measuring cups, jug and cookbook stand

I also noticed that these Primrose biscuit tins were on their star buy of the week at only £1.99.

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Biscuit tins

As I was browsing the food section I am across these flours from their Ancient Bakes range. I’m reliably informed that they can be used to add a protein or fibre boost to cakes, biscuits, breads and more. The range includes quinoa flour: a nutritious all-purpose flour for baking & cooking, teff flour: ideal for sweet and savoury cooking, chickpea flour: a great binding alternative, widely used in vegan cooking, freekeh flour: a nutritious wheat-based flour for baking and cooking and millet flour used for sweet and savoury cooking. At only 29p each for 120g they’ve got to be worth trying.

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Flour range

I hope you’ve enjoyed checking out my deals of the week and if you do pick up any, then do let me know what you think. Meanwhile I’m off to light my cactus candles.

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Waterstones book cover posters & a gallery wall

This week, I was killing time in my local Waterstones before had to start work, checking their reduced table and to my surprise I came across two amazing finds; book posters for £1.00 each reduced from £12.99. Having bought one the book cover of Brave New World from Waterstones last year at full price, I knew what a bargain these were. The two that came home with me were Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. The Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster comes from the cover of the 1958 English First Edition.

It also happened to be perfect timing because I’ve been thinking for a while about creating a gallery wall in both the living room above the sofa and in our bedroom above the bed. These posters seemed perfect. I could use them as the centrepiece in both rooms, and plan around them with the smaller works of art we already have.

So with thoughts of gallery walls on my mind I decided to look for inspiration on Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest. Below are some of my favourites:















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A new cookbook to test out – Lisa Faulkner’s ‘The Way I Cook’

Yesterday, I was due to go to the Ideal Home Show in Manchester but unfortunately I was feeling a bit under the weather so I decided (begrudgingly) to give it a miss even though I had been looking forward to going after attending last year’s show. Instead, I chose to avoid the rain and crowds and curl up in bed with chocolate truffle flavoured coffee and a brand new cook book I picked up in WHSmith last week.

coffee and book
Chocolate truffle flavoured coffee and a new cookbook

I’m a huge MasterChef fan so when I saw Lisa Faulkner’s cookbook The Way I Cook, reduced to £5.00 I couldn’t resist. My old favourites, cookbooks by Mary Berry and The Body Coach are looking a bit tattered and food-stained so this came at the perfect time.

I’ve had a quick flick through it and already there’s quite a few recipes I’m excited to try. They include:

  • Leek & garlic tart
  • Jambalaya
  • Pear tarte tatin
  • French toast muffins
  • Sweetcorn fritters with chorizo salsa and soured cream
  • Banana cream pie
  • Linguine with salmon & prawns

If you’ve got this cookbook and tried out any of the recipes already then I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Tate Shop – Unique objects for the home

Last weekend the boyfriend and I enjoyed a long-weekend away in Liverpool. It was his birthday and he’s a huge Liverpool football fan so as a treat for him we visited Anfield Stadium and later the famous Beatles haunt, The Cavern Club. However, my favourite place of all was the Tate Liverpool Art Gallery that sits overlooking the Albert Docks. Always on the hunt for gorgeous and intriguing home buys I made a bee-line for this unusual kitchen ware.

Art pain drip designs

The Artist paint drip range are designed and created by the creative agency Designers Anonymous. They’re exclusive to the Tate so you won’t see them anywhere else. The espresso cup and saucer are made from porcelain and are dishwasher safe and both the jugs and mugs are bone china. They’re on special offer so if they take your fancy I’d snap them up quick.
Artist paint drip espresso cup and saucer £15.00

Artist paint drip jug £20.00

Artist paint drip mug £10.00

Artist paint drip plate £10.00 (4 for 3)

Artist paint drip salt and pepper pot £12.00

Artist paint drip tea towel £9.00 (Not shown in the photo)

Art drip plates and glasses

If you’re in a slightly more playful, quirky mood then you’ll fall in love with the Tate’s Modern artists range. Not only did I have fun identifying the artists depicted but I couldn’t help wonder what the artists in questions would have made of them. Both the modern artists salt and pepper pots and the eggs cups are £20.00.

Modern artists salt and pepper pots Modern artists egg cups

I was even more surprised when I went online to see if I could buy them from the Tate Shop, their ‘objects for the home’ is full of amazingly unique pieces. Admittedly some do come with a very ‘unique’ price tag, but if you don’t mind spending a little extra on something different then their website is without a doubt worth a visit, as is the art galley, both in Liverpool and in London. Click here for their website: Tate Shop

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Deals of the week

One of the things I thought I’d introduce is an article at least once a month (but hopefully one a week) on any great deals for the home. This week I’d like to kick off with these items all from Sainsbury’s. I saw these on Monday in the Sainsbury’s in Blackpool. Their home section seemed quite small compared to some here in Manchester but it just goes to show that it doesn’t matter the size of the store, great bargains can still be found.

These are a few of my favourites starting with a range of outdoor dining items such as serving bowls, plastic wine goblets and salad servers, great for when we actually see some sunshine this summer.

The faux plants caught my attention but my particular favourites were the nautical themed candles which I’m now wishing I bought for the bathroom.

Happy bargain scouting folks!

BBQ and summer dining
Faux plants
Candles and storage

For more homewares visit Sainsbury’s Home: Sainsburys Home

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Welcome to Simmy’s interior design blog

Welcome to my home. My boyfriend and I moved in around the start of January. The reason I was so keen to start an interiors blog after moving in, knowing that there were so many fantastic ones out there was two fold; firstly, I felt that many were appealing to a readership that owned their own homes and could make substantial changes to them and secondly, seemed to have budgets I could only dream of. Instead, I wanted to create a blog that showed interior design ideas that were both affordable and achievable as well as other lifestyle-related topics.

I decided to subtitle the blog, ‘interior design ideas​ for generation rent’ because an ever growing number of people are finding it difficult if not near-on impossible to get on the property ladder. Many rent through choice but a large number do so because they simply can’t afford to buy. This means that many people’s first homes, whether you’re single or a couple, is a rented one and there are  many limitations especially when it comes to interior design. I wanted a place where I could chronicle these difficulties whilst also exploring my love of all things home-related.

We were lucky enough to find a house to rent from a friend of the family so we escaped paying agency fees. Most aren’t that lucky. The house came fully furnished which can be both a blessing and a curse. As many of you will no doubt know, it’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand it can save you money on furniture and white goods but it also means that you’re living with someone else’s furniture and my extension their tastes.

What I liked about our house was the neutral colour palette; white walls, grey sofas and plain carpets. Personally, I’m not a massive fan of glass furniture, which is what we had in the living room. But the great challenge of attempting to decorate a rented home is working around these issues. I thought a lot about how I could incorporate my style into what existed in the house already.

Another issue with renting instead of buying is that, because you don’t own the house, you can’t make any structural changes. Even simple things like painting walls or hanging up paintings or shelves have to be approved by many landlords.

Despite all these challenges and many more I’m something of a masochist and I enjoy the challenges that comes with decorating a rental. Since there’s little chance of us being able to buy anywhere in the immediate future the focus for me has and will be on turning any place we rent into a comfortable home that suits our style.

We already know that we’ll have to move on again from here at the end of the year. Our landlady has told us that she intends to sell this house. The uncertainty is never ideal but it’s something that much are my generation are faced with so we are not alone. So I’m looking forward to sharing my renting escapades with you all as well as all things interior design related that I love and much more.