Relating to my earlier blog post on the size of London flat rentals is another feature to set appropriate expectations for: storage.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are of course newer-build London flat rentals that offer more space solutions for the money, and most historical residences have been refurbished to a modern standard. Yet the fact remains that the Victorians used freestanding wardrobes rather than built-in closet. So, if you’re indeed opting to search vintage London flat rentals rather than new construction (in all honesty, that’s what most options are here), whether you’ll have decent closet space is up to the landlord and if the layout is even conducive to such a thing. A lot of landlords have outfitted their London flat rentals with closets; it’s just that you probably won’t find many walk-in closets, and the price of building those closets out from the wall means sacrificing square-footage of the room. In that respect, it’s no more space-saving than a freestanding wardrobe.
Luckily, landlords do recognize the need for additional storage space, so closets in London flat rentals are usually decently sized (albeit probably smaller than in the average American house—but that’s also just a factor of living in a city versus suburb or country, not necessarily London-specific). You’ll also often spy creative storage solutions that make the most of the apartment’s vertical height. It’s not uncommon for Victorian-era properties to have higher-than-normal ceilings, which is prime for building upward in the form of cabinets—these may be harder to reach, but they’re ideal for items you don’t need to access on a daily basis (e.g., out-of-season clothing and luggage).
Contrary to many of the other flat rentals I viewed, our landlord was very smart in designing closets/cabinetry that extends to our high ceilings, but even where they don’t, there’s room to stack storage containers. Those are where I stow the bulk of my out-of-season clothing. Also consider what space you have to work with beneath beds—my husband and I take advantage of every square-inch of space to be had under there, and it’s perfectly concealed. And, not to be underestimated, garden apartments often have much more storage than upper-story flats, primarily near their front entryways.
Don’t feel you need to buy up and pack storage solutions at home to bring with you. Contrary to some expat expectations, London is a modern city with the comforts of home. Once you get the lay of the land, you’ll discover many home furnishing stores like John Lewis or Heal’s where you can buy more permanent, quality furniture. But if the flat rentals you see are lacking closet-space and you’re not interested in investing in a wardrobe or another dresser (in the event your landlord doesn’t provide one either), home stores in London like Homebase or IKEA sell assorted storage containers and usually have temporary clothes racks as well that come with or without fitted coverings. We have a chrome one without a cover for my husband’s suits, which isn’t the most visually pleasing solution, but it’s a solution, and the rack is more dimunitive—thus space-saving—than a bulky wooden wardrobe would be. Lucky for us his suits is are so pretty. 🙂
Whatever the storage situation in the flat rentals you see, purchasing those as-seen-on-TV vacuum bags in which you can shrink your clothing/bedspreads/coats/etc. is a great solution for optimizing space. Of course, if storage is a top priority, your Relocation agent will specifically seek out those flat rentals offering the best-of-the-best of storage solutions.