In our weekly series, What I Rent, we want to take an honest look at the reality of renting, from the dreamy homes with bargain-friendly rents to the teeny overpriced studios in central London.

This week we’re chatting with Sophie, 25.

Sophie has lived on The Wirral her entire life, and moved into a one-bedroom flat with her boyfriend, Sam, two and a half years ago.

We took a nose around her flat and asked her what it’s been like to rent – and how she’s managed to make the property her own with second-hand furniture freebies and more than 100 houseplants.

Hey, Sophie! How much do you pay to live here?

Our rent is £500 a month. With bills it comes to about £750, which we split.

And what do you get for what you pay?

We live in a one-bed flat and we have an open plan kitchen/ living space plus one bathroom. Our bedroom/living room is one huge room with a dividing wall in the middle, which is a bit unusual but works for us.

Do you feel like you have a good deal?

I do think we have a good deal! To live in Liverpool city centre in a flat of a similar size, the price is almost double!

So, it’s definitely good value for money. We’re also right next to the train station and the local shops which is super handy

What do you think of the area?

My flat is in Birkenhead on the Wirral. The Wirral itself is a lovely place to live, and my area, in particular, is literally a three-minute train journey to Liverpool, which is great for work and seeing friends.

Like anywhere, it does have some rough places, but the actual area I live is very pretty.

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what a beautiful day it’s been today! so sunny ☀️ . . . Swipe to see the plant pot I upcycled after being inspired by @mishkashoe’s vase/ a sold out H&M plant pot 😊 I always finished my canvases I started yesterday, just waiting for them to dry! What did you do today? . . . . . . #greenyourspace #houseplants #indoorjungle #thriftfinds #bohemian #finditstyleit #myinteriorsquares #earthinspiredhome #thriftedabode #myinteriorstyletoday #myhousethismonth #myhyggehome #greenupyourgaff #bohohome #mythiftfinds #yourthriftstyle #monsteradeliciosa #mybohoretreat #mybotanicalabode #dabblingwithdecor #mytypeofboho #HouseplantHappy #urbanjunglebloggers #myinteriorsquares #scrollstoppinghome #sahstylists #house_plant_community #myhousejournal #indoorplantsdecor #howihouseplant #showusurgaff

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How did you find the flat?

We had talked about moving out for a while. My boyfriend found the flat online and then we booked a viewing for the following week.

The minute we walked in I fell in love with the high ceilings and huge windows and knew I wanted to live here.

Sam wanted to look at a few other flats before we put in the application but after a bit of persuading on my end, we put in our application a couple of days after the viewing!

How have you made this place feel like home?

As it was our first place we had no furniture and the place came unfurnished. So I started searching Facebook groups and charity shops for freebies and cheap second-hand furniture.

I managed to furnish the entire flat for basically free and once we had the basics, I started to swap out furniture that were better suited to my taste.

I recently snagged a beautiful red leather chesterfield sofa for free off Facebook Marketplace!

I’ve tried to give the flat a boho vibe with lots of natural materials, cushions and throws and of course as many houseplants as I can.

I like that most of the stuff in our flat is a bit eclectic and thrifted as it gives the space a lot more personality.

How do you look after so many plants and keep them all alive?

I have around 150 plants to look after. It sounds like a hassle but it’s honestly not as much work as you would think!

I usually spend a couple of hours going around watering them, cutting off any dead foliage and seeing if any need repotting.

If I could give one tip to keep your plants alive it would be that it’s best to under-water than over-water your plants! A dehydrated plant is a lot easier to resurrect than a drowned one!

Have you found it difficult to decorate when renting? Is your landlord happy with you doing bits?

We aren’t allowed to decorate or change the flat at all but luckily the flat’s decor was pretty minimal when we moved in; grey carpet and grey walls.

Command strips and hooks have been a great way to hang up pictures, my basket wall and macrame plant hangers to make it feel like my own space.

I also wasn’t a big fan of our kitchen as it’s a bit too modern for me (first world problems) so I removed the doors off the top cupboards to create the illusion of open plan shelving that I styled with baskets and plants. The doors are safely stored away so we can pop them back on for when we eventually do move.

Do you feel like you have enough space?

As it’s just the two of us we have plenty of space for now. The only downside is not having a spare room for when we have people over to stay.

Are there any problems with the home you have to deal with?

As the building we live in is listed, there is no double glazing or central heating in the flat, which means in the winter it’s freezing and our electric bill skyrockets!

But apart from that and a leak from the flat above, we haven’t had any issues.

We don’t have a garden which was particularly hard during lockdown, but luckily we have the green space in the park right on our doorstep.

Do you have plans to move again?

I don’t think we have plans to move to another rented property as I’m hoping the next time we move will be when we have finally bought our own home.

We are definitely planning to buy our own home hopefully some time next year.

I am excited to finally be able to put my own stamp on a property and can’t wait to finally have an outdoor space.

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’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 protected] 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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