Tips Students

Top Tips to Maximise Your Student Space in a New Rental 

One thing that remains consistent with student housing across the globe is that space is usually at a premium. If you’re renting at the more economical end of the spectrum, chances are you’ll be working with a smaller space. But there are ways to make that space work for you, whether making use of nooks in a room that might be going to waste or creating the illusion of a larger space through colour and layout. Here are some tips to maximise your rental space, without the need to upsize your property. 

Make use of storage anywhere you can

Storage is the obvious solution to any rental property, but you really need to think outside the box when it comes to a small space. Avoid using large free-standing pieces – they might seem like a good way to keep your belongings organised, but they can make a small room feel more crowded and they’re bulky. Look at areas of your property where you can sneak in added storage to free up space, such as under the stairs, beneath your bed or adding shelving above door frames. Adding storage vertically and maximising wall space is also a great way to utilise an area of a room that typically goes to waste. 

Go light and bright

You might be surprised just how much of a difference the right colour scheme can make to a property. When you’re aiming to maximise space, the trick is to go lighter and brighter, to create the illusion of a bigger room. Opt for decorative and smart lighting tricks with different coloured bulbs. Or, experiment with 3D printing ideas to create stylish desktop lamps and inspiring tinted bulbs, as Tata Rossi, a professional photographer explains, “creative bulbs can be done in different colours and shapes, allowing you to show off your creativity and create unique lighting for any room”.

Most landlords will be open to you painting a property if it’s a neutral colour, so speak with them to see what you’re allowed to do, and opt for clean neutrals such as white or tinted creams that will bring more light into the room. And, don’t neglect the floor; it’s a large part of a room and can work wonders to enhance that illusion of the room being larger than it is. Instead of carpet, why not choose vinyl flooring that reflects light and is easier to maintain too, as an added bonus. 

Consider your placement of furniture

The placement of furniture and your belongings goes a long way to maximising a rental property’s capacity, and you might be surprised how you can redesign a space to create a functional and aesthetically-pleasing home. By rearranging your furniture, you may find that it opens up new opportunities for storage or simply how you use the space on a day-to-day basis. For example, maybe you pull the sofa out from the wall so you can fit a tall bookshelf behind it that can act as storage for books, DVDs and ornaments. Or maybe you can replace a coffee table with side tables at the ends of the sofa that will free up floor space without losing the functionality of somewhere to put your drinks or phone. 

Create zones

Partitioning a room, particularly if you’re renting a studio flat, can be a great way of feeling as though you have more rooms than you have and can help to create a cosy yet functional space. You can split your room into a sleeping area and a space to work on your coursework, for example, or maybe you have an open plan living and kitchen area. In this case, separate the two sections with a moveable partition that adds interest to the property but also offers privacy without taking away too much of that all-important space. 

Think multipurpose

If you can find items that do double duty, it will help you to make better use of your available space. Just because a flat or house is on the smaller side, doesn’t mean you have to get compact furniture to fill it. In fact, small spaces can appear even smaller if it’s cluttered with numerous small items. Instead, try to prioritise the items you really need and think about ways you can have those items serve multiple purposes. For example, can you swap out your dining table for a foldable alternative that can double up as a place to eat and work? Or maybe you can change up a regular bookshelf for one with a fold-out desk that provides storage and a workspace in one.


Finally, the less you have to fit into your student rental, the easier it will be to maximise your space. There are always things we hold onto that tend to sit in cupboards or on shelves for months without us using them, whether it’s books we haven’t read, DVDs we’ve not watched in years or clothes that don’t fit anymore. So if you’re on the move to a new rental, take the opportunity to have a declutter and think about what you really need to keep and what can be passed on to someone else or donated. You might be surprised once you take a look at your belongings just how much you’re finding room for that you don’t need to. 

Make the most of hidden opportunities  

There are endless possibilities when it comes to a small space, and you don’t have to assume that your interior decor options are non-existent just because your home is on the smaller side. Making the most of your own space will help settle in especially if you’re sharing a student house with good friends and you want to live together harmoniously! In fact, with a bit of creativity, illusion, DIY know-how and considering places in the property that might otherwise be ignored, you can utilise every inch of the property and also create the sense of a bigger property. 


Living with an International Student: Do’s and Don’ts

Along with pulling an all-nighter during finals week and participating in at least one game of beer-pong, living with a roommate is something most university students are guaranteed to do before they graduate. Living with a roommate is one of the most ubiquitous university experiences and with the UK being the second most popular destination for international students (Universities UK International 2017), it should come as no surprise that living with an international student is a high possibility during your university experience. Living with an international roommate can be eye-opening but also overwhelming due to language and cultural barriers. Keep reading to learn the do’s and don’ts of living with an international roommate.

When living with an International Student…


DO: Remember that you’re both in the same boat

To find common ground is the first step towards having a positive roommate experience. Therefore, when you find it difficult to connect with your international roommate, remember that they are in the same boat. You are both far away from home and learning to navigate a new city, new learning environment and a new roommate. These adjustments aren’t always easy, but knowing your roommate is going through the same situation can make it less tough.


DON’T: Forget about time zone differences


It’s tricky to find the time to call home while you’re balancing studying, your social life and the ‘life challenges’ of cooking and cleaning for yourself. Add in the extra complication of calling across time zones and it’s nearly impossible. Talk to your roommate and create clear boundaries together to avoid waking each other up with midnight phone calls home. You’ll be thankful the night before an early morning exam!  


DO: Protect yourself financially


When you and your international roommate sign on to live together, you will likely each become liable for all of the rent under a joint and several contract. This means that if one of you decides to leave the apartment (or country) the other is responsible for the entire payment. Therefore, both you and your roommate should take the necessary step to protect yourselves financially with rent arrears protection. You can apply online with Only My Share before you even move in!


DON’T: Stereotype


This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should never jump to conclusions based on a person’s clothing, religion or culture. Avoid creating a mental image of what your international roommate will look or act like based on stereotypes of their home country. Both you and your international roommate should give each other the opportunity to learn about each other’s culture, stereotypes aside.


DO: Apply what you learned in the workforce


When you live with someone from a different country, you’ll learn about their culture and vice versa. You’ll also sharpen your communication and critical thinking skills. In addition to making you a top-notch roommate, these skills are also transferable to the workplace. When it comes to landing your dream job or internship in the future, you’ll be thankful for your time spent living with an international roommate.


DON’T: Shy away from new experiences


Make time to get to know your roommate. Ask them questions about their culture and their life back home. Whether you decide to cook a dish from one of your home countries or explore your host city together, you should take advantage of every second of the unique life experience that is living with an international roommate.


This article about “Living with an International Student: Do’s and Don’t’s” was written for Only My Share – the leading Rent Arrears Protection company by Ameena Debboun. For more information on how Only My Share can help you protect yourself against up to £10,000 of a flatmates’ rent areas under a joint and several contract in shared accommodation, visit or call 0203 887 2961.