Welcome, one and all, to another edition of What I Rent.
For newbies, a quick explainer: What I Rent is our weekly series that takes you inside people’s rented properties, to explore how they’ve turned them into homes.
Last time, we were chatting renting with Anna, who pays £695 a month for a four-bedroom house in Shipley, West Yorkshire.
This week, we’re hanging out in Bristol with Laura, 24, who runs her own small business teaching piano and singing, and edits the online magazine The Music Flow.
Originally from Oxfordshire, Laura moved to Bristol when she started university at 18. That’s where she met Jack, who grew up locally, and a few years ago they moved in together.
Here’s what the couple rent.
Hey, Laura! Who lives here?
I live with my boyfriend, Jack, and we have two rescue cats, Daisy and Benji.
And how much is rent?
Our rent is £900, plus around £250 for bills each month. So, we pay about £575 each, every month in total.
What do you get for what you pay?
We have five rooms in the house. There are two bedrooms, although we use one as a music room/workspace, a lounge, kitchen and bathroom.
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We also have a basement, which is great for storage, and we have a nice size garden, which is fairly private as there are lots of trees surrounding it.
Do you think you have a good deal?
I think we do for Bristol. I’ve lived in a couple of flats in a similar area of Bristol a few years ago and we were paying around £1,200 in total for a flat that was much smaller than the space we have now.
It’s a lovely house with all the space we need, so we’re pretty happy with how much we’re paying.
Whereabouts is your home based? What do you think of the area?
We live in St Pauls in Bristol, which is close to Gloucester Road and the city centre.
I love the area, it’s so close to Cabot Circus, a nice short walk to Cotham and Clifton and it’s great being close to all the independent coffee shops on Stokes Croft.
I also love how close Temple Meads train station is, as it’s an easy walk if we need to travel for work or going away.
The area itself is so culturally diverse and friendly, I love walking around the area and seeing the vibrant murals and the colourful painted houses, it has a nice community feel.
There’s always great art projects going on; recently there was the St Pauls Window Wanderland, where people decorated and lit up their windows for people to see on an evening walk.
How did you find the house?
My godmother’s mother-in-law owns the property. It happened to come available when we needed to move out of our previous flat. We had a look at the house and loved it!
How have you made this place feel like home?
We’ve done some decorating over the time we’ve been here.
We have a lot of colour in the house – mainly warm teals, pinks and yellows which brightens every room. We have painted the lounge, but in other rooms, we added colour with bright wall prints, furniture and soft furnishings.
Moving into this house has made me really enjoy interior styling, I love finding little items that add more personality to the space.
I also love house plants, I think I have over 80. I love having them around, I feel like they make the house airier and helps bring the outside in. Plus I have a real love of ceramics, so it’s the perfect excuse to have lots of pretty plant pots.
Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?
My landlord is really lovely and is happy to let us decorate the house. If we have any issues with the house they are always sorted quickly.
Do you feel like you have enough space?
Yes, I think so, we definitely have enough for the two of us. The basement really helps, because we can easily store stuff.
Even though the house is a two up, two down layout, all the rooms in the house are pretty big.
The only room I’d like to be a little bigger is the bathroom, but as the rest of the house is so perfect, I don’t mind too much!
Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?
Not really! We’ve been fairly lucky with the house, there’s been the odd small issue but it’s often fixed quickly.
Do you have plans to move again?
Not at the moment, we definitely wouldn’t move again in Bristol. We love the house and we’ve really been able to make it into a home.
And do you want to own a place some day or are you happy to rent?
We are happy renting, but at some point, I think we would like to buy a house – I love the idea of renovating a house, maybe a little closer to the coast.
But for now, renting in Bristol definitely suits us.
Fair. Shall we take a look around?
What I Rent is a weekly series that’s out every Tuesday at 10am.
Check back next week to have another nose around a rented property.
How to get involved in What I Rent
What I Rent is Metro.co.uk’s weekly series that takes you inside the places people are renting, to give us all a better sense of what’s normal and how much we should be paying.
If you fancy taking part, please email email@example.com. You’ll need to take pictures of your kitchen, living room, bathroom, and bedroom, plus a few photos of you in your bedroom or living area.
Make sure you get permission from your housemates! You’ll also need to be okay with sharing how much you’re paying for rent, as that’s pretty important.
We’re not just after the prettiest places out there, by the way. We want the reality of renting, so if you’re currently renting a place you hate, we’d love to see that too (and sympathise greatly!).
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