This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Everything I Know About Share-House Style

Interiors

Well look what we have here, it’s another new style of content rolling out this week at TDF! We love bringing you exciting studios visits, killer interiors and insightful interviews on the daily, but after 10 years of TDF (!), we thought it was high time to share a little more of, well… our own voices. These thought pieces will be slightly meatier, more-lengthy reads from our own in-house editorial team, as well as friends and legends we’ve been wanting to hear a little more from.

Our editorial assistant, Sally Tabart, knows a thing or two about living in a share house. For this first instalment, she’s compiled some of her top thrifty tips and tricks for decorating in a shared space.

22nd February, 2018

A few of Sally’s snaps. Collage – Ashley Simonetto.

Sally Tabart
Thursday 22nd February 2018

Home may be where the heart is, but it’s also where all your stuff goes. While share house living isn’t always the most glamorous lifestyle, for most people, spending some time in a rental home with housemates is inevitable. I’ve lived in share houses for the past seven years.

I moved into the first place when I was 20. It belonged to the parents of my best friend, and with its prime-position Fitzroy locale and panoramic balcony views of the city, was far nicer than anything I deserved at the time. Lulled into a false sense of security afforded by someone else’s fancy house, I made up for my #blessed beginnings when I moved to New York City, and my first apartment was shared with a rotating door of creepy roommates, a banquet of moldy food in the fridge and an abandoned cat. All very sad.

I’ve moved seven times in total, and have finally landed in my dream house which is, again, far nicer than anything I deserve at this time. Despite now living in a place with great bones to work with, my nomadic 20s has taught me that no matter where you live, it’s your ‘stuff’ that really makes it feel like home.

Before you check my Instagram and realise that I am not an interiors expert, let me tell you that I AM NOT AN INTERIORS EXPERT! I know that, okay!? What I am proficient in is living with other people, arranging blue-tacked paper artefacts and photos on my bedroom wall in *perfect formation*, and identifying the interior styling strengths of others and co-opting them for myself.

So while I’m certainly not in the position to tell you that millennial pink is over (so I hear) or recommend the perfect cushion, I can offer you a collection of tips and tricks I’ve accumulated over my several homes, dozens of roommates and hours of Instagram wormholes.

Vase image from Rittle, Metrocard and postcard from Sally’s walls. Collage – Ashley Simonetto.

STATEMENT PIECES

The first time I started thinking about a couch as anything other than a comfy place to eat meals is all thanks to one of my dear housemates, Pip. She has this vintage Featherston modular sofa in bright orange that totally changed my outlook on life – or at very least – my outlook on the living room. The take away from this tale: stay on the lookout for a statement piece and build your room around it. Mine is this rug from BFGF that I bought in New York City and now hangs on my wall – it’s the shining star of my room.

GET THRIFTY

I’d never fully plunged into the wonderful world of Gumtree and eBay before living with my aforementioned dear housemate, Pip. One time she found a velvet iridescent pink five-piece sofa for $60 (see above: Statement Pieces)! I recently bought an eight-piece rattan chair set for $150 (later I found out they were once used as props on Shaun Micallef’s ‘Mad as Hell’, which in my opinion makes them iconic Australian TV memorabilia). Also, after picking up a GIANT Monstera Deliciosa on eBay for under $100, I will never buy another plant from a store again. Figure out some key words for the style of furniture you’re after, and turn those notifications the hell on – a good place to start is to pick an era and research the brands, fabrics and finishes of good quality furniture at the time.

Sunshine illustration from Rittle, vase from Tessy King. Collage by Ashley Simonetto.

HIGH LOW

It may seem pretty obvious, but mixing items from cheaper chain stores or op shops with more expensive, saved-up-for pieces is the best approach, unless you are the lucky benefactor of a trust fund. On one side of my bed you’ll find a chain store lamp I bought for $15, and on the other side a designer lamp that cost almost a month’s rent. Wherever possible, I would encourage people to invest in their local, independent makers – but let’s be real – it’s not always possible to furnish your space entirely with designer pieces.

My advice? Do your research on what’s out there, don’t buy straight-up ripoffs. Instead, look for cheaper ambiguous ‘filler’ pieces like drawers and side tables that you can decorate with more meaningful items. I’m a big fan of knick-knacks and have a rather tasteful selection of shells and crystals (not for everyone, I get it) displayed upon my cheap surfaces, alongside my very special things. Some of my favourite small objects by local designers come from Rittle, Anna Varendorff and Mud Australia.

EMBRACE YOUR INNER COPY-CAT

Perhaps not the most kosher solution to helping curate a unique personal style, but personally, I am a big fan of copying other people’s great styling ideas, and integrating them into my own life, alongside things I already own. Load up your social media feeds with interiors accounts, use the ‘save’ functions to store all your inspo in the one spot, and take note of IRL styling ideas (I swear I am NOT BIASED, but The Design Files’ ‘Homes’ section is a good place to start!).

Housemate Pip once had the genius idea to create a daybed out of a simple king-single bed frame, a futon mattress and a mountain of fluffy cushions and rugs from IKEA. Another housemate made an amazing room partition using white-painted cinder blocks after seeing something similar on Pinterest. You better believe I’m storing those in the ‘copy-at-a-later-date’ file in my brain.

Similar Stories

Homes

Sarah Booth and Housemates

A share house, warehouse renovation inside what was once Aitken's Distillery.

Homes

Adelaide Daniell, Fraser Daniell and Harry Scott

Today’s sweet story of happy sibling co-habitation bears striking similarities to another home story we recently shared  – in both c...

Homes

Sarah Booth and Housemates

A share house, warehouse renovation inside what was once Aitken's Distillery.

This Week

Shopping

Kip&Co Team Up With Australian Icon Ken Done For A Nostalgia-Filled Collection

The local homewares brand have teamed up with one of Australia's most iconic artists for a perfectly summery range.
Christina Karras

On The Market

A Family's Magical Mid-Century ‘Treehouse’ Is For Sale In Kew East

The beautiful Lodge House in Melbourne's east has been held in the architect's own family for over 60 years – until now!
Christina Karras

Gardens

A Rambling, Romantic Garden For A Third Generation Farmhouse

A five-acre English-style garden surrounds The Farmstead Tatura owned by a third generation farmer and his partner.

Studio Visit

Georgia Spain's Abstract Paintings Capture The Chaos Of Our Times

The Melbourne artist's new exhibition reflects tumultuous world events and news cycles, with a poetic sense of ambiguity.
Christina Karras

On The Market

For Sale: A Clare Cousins Renovated Apartment In An Iconic Melbourne CBD Building!

A bright and breezy apartment in Melbourne's heritage-listed Bible House building. City living doesn't get much better than this!

News

Update Your Outdoor Furniture With A Special Deal From DOMO

Receive a complimentary gift when you shop outdoor furniture at DOMO this October!  
Sponsored

News

Cult Unveils A Beautiful New Gallery Space In Its Melbourne Showroom

The Fredericia Gallery showcases iconic and timeless pieces from the renowned Danish brand.
Sponsored

On The Market

A Stylist’s Elegant Carlton North Terrace Hits The Market

Step inside this charming, two-storey Victorian that blends heritage details and contemporary design.
Christina Karras

Architecture

An Intriguing Garden House Embedded In Nature By Kennedy Nolan

Hidden beyond a decorative gate is a peaceful new home that feels as though it was there all along - despite having been completed just last...

Homes

A Newly-Built Coastal Home Filled With Character + Colour

From an inner-city Melbourne rental to coastal Anglesea, see how these sea-changers designed and built their dream family home.

News

Shop Unique + Discounted Art At Bromley & Co’s Massive Spring Sale!

Acclaimed artist David Bromley’s pieces will be on sale at Bromley & Co’s two Victorian galleries this weekend, with up to 7...
Sponsored

Art

10 Artists Transform Discarded Archaeological Fragments In New Exhibition, 'Unearthed'

Discarded fragments from the Metro Tunnel dig in Melbourne are given new life in Craft Victoria's new exhibition, 'Unearthed'.

News

From Animal Prints to Geometrics, Shop The Latest From Designer Rugs

Introducing the latest additions to Designer Rugs’ ever-growing Saffron collection.
Sponsored

At Home With Sheridan

A Unique 1950s Brisbane Home, Transformed To Bring The Outdoors In

Artist Pip Spiro and family's 1950s Brisbane home (with unusual art deco-style features) meets a stunning modern addition embracing lush New...
Lucy Feagins
  13 hours ago

Architecture

A Compact Norwegian Boathouse – In Perth!

'Cabin Haus' by Lahaus brings a taste of Norway to Perth with its charming, boathouse-inspired facade.
Bea Taylor
  5 hours ago

Similar Stories

Homes

Sarah Booth and Housemates

A share house, warehouse renovation inside what was once Aitken's Distillery.

Homes

Adelaide Daniell, Fraser Daniell and Harry Scott

Today’s sweet story of happy sibling co-habitation bears striking similarities to another home story we recently shared  – in both c...

Homes

Sarah Booth and Housemates

A share house, warehouse renovation inside what was once Aitken's Distillery.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net