The flat of the land

With a little imagination, furnishings and oddments for your flat don't have to be mass-produced chain-store fodder. Tap into your mail side with the increasing range of mail-order items
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The Independent Culture
Even if student poverty has become a distant memory, the average graduate probably hasn't got the money to buy and decorate their dream flat. But that doesn't mean you have to endure your landlord's taste in nicotine-stained flock wallpaper and lurid shag-pile.

The relative luxury of a regular income means that you can cheer up your flat with a few choice purchases. Better still, why not flaunt your new- found prosperity with some funky flat-warming presents for your friends? Habitat and Ikea are still pretty good bets for chic home improvements, but for those who have better things to do at the weekend than roaming around department stores, there's always mail order. House, Aeromail, Maison, Inflate and Habitat all specialise in good quality and original home furnishings from picture frames and bedlinen, to bookshelves and candlesticks - they also deliver straight to your door. Just in case you haven't a clue what to get yourself or your friends, here are some stylish ideas to get you started...

Aeromail: Lizard CD rack 108cm long pounds 69. 0181 871 4030.

House: Handwoven sisal baskets from pounds 3.95 available in sand, pink, turquoise, navy, lime, oramge and red. 01258 454884.

Inflate: Star Vase pounds 9.99.

0171 251 5453.

Maison: Drawer organiser waxed pounds 340/painted pounds 410.

0181 744 1046.

Habitat: Aluminium fruit juicer pounds 49. 0171 631 3880.