There are tons of benefits to moving into a top floor flat. In fact, it can be the beautiful views, privacy and shabby-chic loft vibe that make you fall in love with the property in the first place. And of course, there’s the reduced risk of robbery to look forward to, as well as the distinct absence of street noise. But choosing to live in top floor territory can have its downfalls too. From the moving in process (images of the Pivot! scene from Friends are recalled), to getting used to being the upstairs neighbour, loft-style living can come with a few undisclosed problems. But don’t worry, all it takes are a few simple life hacks to get you on your way to a having a happy home, up top.
1. Discover the rolled up mattress
You’ve flat packed your furniture and YouTubed how to get a sofa upstairs (there is a pretty much fail-safe technique, by the way). But you’re struck with an unexpected obstacle half way through the moving in process when you discover it’s much harder to get a mattress to the top of a staircase than you anticipated. You’ve tried pushing it upwards, dragging it behind you, as well as bending it in half (that won’t work), and carrying it on your back like turtle’s shell. There have even been moments where you’ve surrendered to sitting on it mid-stairway with a resigned look on your face and floated the idea of abandoning it all together. But as feasible as it may sound to live out of a sleeping bag (camping’s fun, right?), you needn’t resort to such drastic measures. Enter: the roll up mattress, a genius invention that will save you time, energy and – most importantly – your sanity. Simply tuck it under your arm and off you go to the top. Simple.
One of the biggest selling points of living in a top floor flat is that you won’t have to deal with noisy upstairs neighbours clanging around morning, noon and night. But what this does mean is that you, yourself, run the risk of becoming that noisy neighbour, having to deal with irritated tenants below. With the best intentions in the world, if you’ve gone for the no-carpet look in your upstairs flat, your normal footsteps might just be your neighbour’s biggest bugbear. Tackle the problem before it begins with lots of lovely soft rugs, and save your relationship with your neighbours in the process. Go for something like this plush rug which has a luxuriously soft deep-pile, perfect for absorbing those pesky footsteps.
3. Get savvy about temperature
There’s no two ways about it – living in a top floor flat is a bit of a no-win situation when it comes to getting the temperature right. In the summer months they can be the warmest place in the building as hot air rises and, in the winter, they can take on a bitter chill, due to heat escaping through the roof. So, how to tackle that icy draft and deal with poor, top-floor insulation? First things first, invest in some heavy curtains to keep out the cold, alongside radiator panels to reflect heat back into the room. Next, you’ll need to up your bedding game. One duvet may have seen you through the year in a previous property but in a top floor flat you’ll need to buy a warmer one for the winter.
It also pays to think wisely about layout – both in terms of comfort and energy bills. It may seem like a good idea to push the sofa up close to the heater to get snug and warm, but this usually ends up in the couch absorbing too much heat, preventing the rest of the room from warming properly. For summer months invest in a couple of good quality fans and cover windows with cardboard when the sun is at its peak if you want to avoid sauna-like temperatures. Other than that, it’ll have to be cold showers and bedsheets fresh from the freezer.
4. Get friendly with your landlord
Top floor flats are often full of character, with shafts of sunlight falling through sky-light windows, exposed wooden beams and gloriously high ceilings. But with character comes maintenance issues, whether that’s a leaky roof, draughty windows or rickety floorboards. If you’re renting, it’s a good idea to make good friends with your landlord as soon as possible to make sure they’re on hand to deal with any necessary repairs as and when needed. Don’t be too shy to ask them to spruce the place up before you move in, too. If it feels particularly draughty, ask them to carry out some draught-proofing measures or even to replace the windows if necessary. And get them to block any gaps in floorboards and skirting boards with filler, so you’re not faced with doing it yourself down the line.
Living in a top-floor property has plenty of perks, so there’s no need to let a few little stumbling blocks affect your flat hunting decisions. Most problems can be solved with a bit of logical thinking so, as long as the ceiling doesn’t have a gaping hole in it, we say take the leap (or stairs) straight up to the top.