In the IELTS test, they might ask you to talk about accommodation in the speaking section. This post will introduce you to a lot of higher-level vocabulary related to the topic of accommodation. One of the four scoring categories IELTS examiners use to assess your speaking skills is lexical Resource, which means you will be assessed on your ability to use a wide range of vocabulary in the proper context and with the correct meaning. So, if you can show the examiner that you are confident using this unique and exciting vocabulary, you will be more likely to get a 7 or higher band score.
IELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Accommodation
IELTS Vocabulary: Homes
A home is seen more than a building, it includes the idea of family living together too. Accommodation refers to any kind of building where you live. There are many types of accommodation, and here is some useful and essential vocabulary to start talking about them.
- Bought accommodation (= a place you own)
- Rented accommodation (= a place you rent)
- Short-term rental accommodation
- Suitable accommodation
- Affordable housing
- A newly-built apartment/flat
- Studio flats
- A fully furnished flat
- A semi-furnished flat
- A basement flat
- Off-road parking
When discussing inside a home, we can talk about the following.
- Fully-fitted kitchen
- Spacious living room
- Have a wonderful view of the park
- Overlook the garden
- A cozy study
- A draughty hall (=wind enters, making it cold)
Verbs used to talk about home and accommodation
- To leave home (= to move out, often when you become an adult)
- To feel homesick (= miss home)
- To feel at home (= to feel comfortable)
- To make yourself at home (= make yourself comfortable)
- To buy a second home (house used only for weekends/holidays
- To move in / move out of a flat / house
- To buy a place of my own
- To take out a mortgage (= to get a loan from the bank to buy a house)
- To throw a party
- To welcome someone home
- To invite someone to your house-warming party
- To add/build an extension
- To completely refurbish (= to renovate and decorate a house/flat)
- To do up an old house (= repair/ repaint / decorate)
IELTS Speaking Idioms: Topic of Home
Get on like a house on fire = get on very well
Become a household/word name = become famous
Offer something on the house = free of charge; such as coffee in a restaurant
Nothing to write home about = nothing special
e.g. This new job is quite normal, it’s nothing to write home about.
Hit home = become fully understood
e.g. It wasn’t until my daughter left home, that it really hit home how much I would miss her.
IELTS Speaking: Types of Accommodation
- A detached house
- A townhouse – a duplex – a semi-detached (usually two houses together)
- A terraced house (one house connected to many others in the same row/street)
- A bungalow (a house with only one level)
- A squat (empty building where people start living without the owner’s permission)
- A hovel (very small, dirty house or flat in a bad or run-down condition)
- Rented accommodation (can be either furnished or unfurnished)
- Council or social housing is rented accommodation provided by the state for people who cannot afford to buy their own homes
- A Council Estate (U.K.) is a large group of such housing
- Flat / apartment (a living area within a bigger building)
- e.g. a two-bedroom flat
- Note: flat and apartment are really the same, you can use either.
- A block of flats (a building that contains many flats)
- An apartment block (a building that contains many apartments)
- A condominium (a building that contains many apartments)
- A penthouse (a luxury flat at the top of a building)
- A high-rise building
High-rise flats/tower block flats are flats in a tall, modern building with a lot of floors.
A granny flat (informal) is a set of rooms for an elderly person, connected to a relative’s house.
Often for students
- Rented house
- Student accommodation
- Student digs
- A studio / A bedsit (a self-contained unit; everything in one room)
Remember to use collocations to add ‘color’ to your language.
A run-of-the-mill house = an ordinary house
A cosy / noisy / cramped flat
Cozy = small and comfortable
Cramped = too small and uncomfortable
A three-story building
Note: ‘three-story’ is an adjective and so is singular. You can spell this ‘story’ or ‘story’.
I live on the third floor
a spacious /comfy flat
Spacious = plenty / lots of room
Comfy = comfortable
Parts of a House
- Living room
- Dining room / area
- Lounge = living room
- Entrance hall
- Office (n.) / study (n.)
Furniture and Equipment
- Kitchen island (table in the middle of the kitchen for food preparation)
- Oven (for baking and roasting)
- Stove (hot plates for cooking)
- Cupboards (for pots, plates, cups…) Tiled floor
- Coffee table
- Couch = sofa
- Bedside table
- Carpet (wall to wall)
- Chest of Drawers (for socks, underwear…)
- Wardrobe (for clothes)
- Shower Bathtub
- Paintings Photos
- Ornaments (any kind of decoration)
- Table lamps
- Floor lamps
- Model plane
- Desk calendar
- En-suite bathroom (attached to the bedroom)
- The master bedroom (the biggest one, usually for the parents)
- A king-size bed (the biggest size)
- Open plan kitchen
- Spacious living room with a modern look
- Colorful bedroom
- An elegant bathroom
- A bedroom full of contrasting colors
- Fluffy cushions (on the sofa) and pillows (on the bed)
- A hand-woven carpet (made by hand)
- Fully-furnished house
- A well-lit living room
- A flat-screen television
- A state-of-the-art TV
- Artificial plants
- A wooden table
Homes Now and in the Past
This is a typical IELTS Speaking Part 3 question on Accommodation, and the examiner is testing your ability to make comparisons and between two different things, but also across time (in this case between now and the past). So, try to make use of comparisons if possible, and also an appropriate use of tense.
We can use a wide variety of tenses, as seen in these sample phrases.
I am living in a coastal city (present continuous)
I have been living here for 2 years (present perfect continuous)
We live on the sixth floor (present simple)
It’s quite a cozy place, but it is a little bit cramped
Before we moved here, I was living in Malaysia (past continuous)
We lived in a condominium (simple past)
It was a 27 story building
We can use the following kind of language to show our knowledge of comparisons.
It was much bigger than where we are now
There was far more room
It was just way more spacious
It had a lot more mod cons (modern comforts) than what we have now
Common Phrases and Idioms
1. Apartment block: a large building made up of small units of apartments
Example: In a big city, people usually choose to live in apartment blocks.
2. Rented accommodation: property owned by someone else and for which a person pays a fixed amount to live in
Example: People who do not have enough money to buy a house normally live in rented accommodations.
3. To own your own home: to have bought the property you lived in
Example: It has been my dream to own my own home in a building complex before I’m turning 25.
4. Dream home: a home you regard as perfect
Example: My dream home should have two balconies, where I can experience the city’s view with my family.
5. Back garden: a garden at the rear of the house
Example: An ideal house should have a back garden, so people can get closer to nature every time.
6. Spacious room: a large room
Example: Their new apartment has five spacious rooms, which is comfortable for them to live in
7. To take out a mortgage: to borrow a large amount of money, paid pack over several years, to buy a house
Example: The house that she was interested in is costly, then She had to take out a mortgage.
8. To do up a property: to repair an old building
Example: One of my favourite thing is doing up an old property, each time I do this, I feel a sense of satisfaction.
9. To pay rent in advance: weekly or monthly rent paid at the beginning of the week or month
Example: Generally, rented accommodation requires that people who hire a house need to pay rent in advance.
10. Permanent address: a fixed address
Example: I need you to provide me with a permanent address, so I could make contact with you when is needed.
11. To get on the property ladder: to buy a property to buy another bigger or more expensive one later in life
Example: when I turn 25, I would like to settle down and get on the property ladder.
12. Mod cons: technology at home that makes jobs easier, such as a washing machine, dishwasher
Example: The house is equipped with mod cons, which can make people lives more comfortable.
13. To live on campus: to live on the university or college grounds
Example: I prefer living on campus because I could have the chance to make a lot of new friends there.
14. To move into: to begin to live in a property
Example: I starting to move into the new house on 28th September.
15. The suburbs: a residential area on the edge of tows or cities
Example: In the modern world, many people prefer to live in the suburbs because the environment is much fresher.
IELTS Speaking Sample: Accommodation
IELTS Speaking Part 1
Do you currently live in a house or a flat?
I am currently living in a rented flat because I have recently moved into a new central neighbourhood. This has taken a bit of getting used to if I’m honest, as previously I lived in a detached house in the suburbs which was much more comfortable.
What was the family home like where you grew up?
I was lucky to be brought up in a large family home which was where my grandparents lived before my parents. This ancestral home was steeped in family history and I have always felt a great attachment to it. It is far more spacious than the urban loft where I am now, with larger, airier rooms and inspiring panoramic views which my family spends hours enjoying.
The house has a large veranda where we share not only lunch but all our family meals, a study and a cellar where my father keeps his best wine. I enjoyed this independent house as I had my own room and large enough spaces to host all our family reunions.
Have you ever shared a flat with people you did not know before?
Well, when I used to live in London, a city with great transport facilities yet I could not afford to rent a place of my own, so I decided to join a flat share which I saw advertised on the Amber student accommodation website.
Although I had my own room it was a real challenge as the flat was in need of modernisation, and whilst the rooms boasted original features, such as original Victorian windows, it was freezing cold and my flatmates, who also had separate rooms, kept to themselves to study or watch TV so it was hard to make friends. I prefer living somewhere with a house layout with a small garden if possible, even a swimming pool, instead of an apartment block rented accommodation.
What kind of accommodation do most people live in your city?
It depends on where they live. For instance, people who live in rural areas usually live in houses while those who inhabit in urban areas would stay in apartments because there is not enough place for building houses.
IELTS Speaking Part 2
Describe a house or an apartment that you would like to live in.
You should say:
- What kind of accommodation it would be
- where it would be
- who would live there with you
and why you would enjoy living in this place
Sample Answer 1
Since I was a young boy, I have always dreamed of my future home. Today I would like to share with you about the ideal place that I would love to live in. It seems to me that the urban environment is perfectly suitable for my personality and my needs, and living in an apartment block in a metropolitan is the best choice for me.
Owning my own home means that I could do whatever I like, I have constantly wanted to make my dream apartment come true as soon as possible. Over there I would live with my future family which would consist of my two children, my wife and me. The apartment will be in a high floor such as the 15th or above, and of course, my place will have to be spacious, which could be about 200 square meters which means my kids could have enough space to play. There might be a living room, a kitchen, three bedrooms and one balcony. My ideal apartment should be equipped with mod cons, so when it comes to cleaning the house, we will find it easier.
Also, I would put tables and chairs out in my balcony so I could sit in, have a cup of tea with my wife and experience the city’s view. This I believe will be a memorable memory for my beloved family.
Sample Answer 2
I have always been attracted to the idea of constructing my own home with many amenities, as my father and other family members are architects and we have always been great fans of watching TV programmes that follow the trials and tribulations of people who are involved in complicated and ambitious building projects. We often spend time contemplating harmonious atmosphere designs such as a house with a master bedroom, two bedrooms as spares, a spacious dining area and located in a wonderful neighbourhood. Sometimes, although there are many difficulties and unexpected challenges along the way, the end resulting home is just beautiful, appealing and really inspiring.
This small house would be by the sea, possibly in France, as the Atlantic coastline there is still quite wild and underpopulated and offers a good life. I’m attracted to the idea of an environmentally friendly bungalow or old house that could be redesigned, open plan and use screens or bookshelves to divide rooms.
I’d love to work with my father on the design, and ideally it would be made of eco-friendly materials, such as sustainable woods, recycled glass and highly insulated to keep energy costs as low as possible. I’ve been inspired by the Scandinavian-style houses I have seen in design magazines, which are planned to blend into their location, looking simple and clean from the outside, but boasting all mod cons inside like an air conditioner and ample room.
I would love to have a large terrace to sit and watch the sunsets or share sustainably sourced local foods. I am not tempted by an extravagant, designer or flashy décor but prefer something understated with stripped or varnished wood floors, a kitchen made from recycled wood, and open shelves to display my valuable collection of ceramic pottery which was my grandmother’s. Light is very important to me, so I would try to incorporate large full-length windows to enjoy the views and experience a connection to the peaceful countryside outside.
IELTS Speaking Part 3
Is it better to own your own home or to rent?
I would go for rented accommodation because of its potential advantages. The first benefit is that people who rent a house will not need to take out a mortgage and just pay rent in advance, which normally costs them a small amount of money. Another benefit is this house will not be their permanent address, which means they can move to anywhere they like.
What are some of the pleasures involved in making a home for yourself?
The important thing is they can enjoy finding their own home, then another thing is owning their own home, which means that they could do whatever they like. For example, by doing up their property, they can organize and decorate their house in a way that suits their expectation.
In your country is it more common to rent or buy a house?
Sergi: I actually just watched a TV show on this topic recently. Over the past twenty years, there has been a surge in property prices, fuelled by relaxation in the rules surrounding mortgages and loans. This has resulted in a boom in the housing market. Many young professionals are taking the opportunity to get on the property ladder but for the average person, many years of renting is needed to save enough for a deposit.
Many landlords are known to take advantage of their tenants. What can be done to control this?
Raoul: It is well known that in many urban areas, which are overcrowded and where current accommodation is in very short supply for university students, unscrupulous landlords charge excessive rents and demand large deposits that they are unlikely to return in full. In addition, accommodation might be unsafe. It is essential that improved legal protection be provided for flat tenants with all contracts in writing, as most people are unaware of their rights, and this might give leaseholders more confidence and security in the future and a more positive renting experience.
It is preferable for families to live in central districts or in the suburbs?
Many countries have a widespread trend for parents with young children to relocate from a metropolis apartment to more suburban areas with less concrete walls and a more park-friendly environment. On the other hand, it also depends on which neighbourhood you want to live in, but the city centres have become too expensive for normal, middle-income families or people to live there. Outside the centre are the new hipster neighbourhoods, where many creative entrepreneurs and artists live in city-style apartments. You may see a lot of electric cars, but there can be a shortage of family-sized homes. This is the main difference between choosing accommodation in the city and suburbia.
IELTS Speaking Practice: Accommodation
The examiner may ask you to talk about the place you live or would like to live in the exam. Read the following IELTS-style questions and answers below and pay attention to the phrases in bold. Use the ‘Definitions’ section at the bottom of the page to check the meaning of any phrases you don’t understand.
Part 1-style questions
Examiner: Do you live in a house or an apartment?
Callum: Actually I live on campus … in a single room in halls of residence … all first-year students are encouraged to do that as they’re close to the university … next year I plan to move into student digs in town …
Examiner: Tell me about where you live.
Julia: I live with my parents in the suburbs of Madrid … we only moved in recently … in fact, we had a housewarming party just a few weeks ago …
Examiner: What kind of accommodation do most people live in your city?
Maria: In the city itself, most people live in apartment blocks … that’s what surprised me about England … most people seem to live in terraced houses with lovely back gardens …
Part 2-style task
Describe a house or an apartment you would like to live in. You should say
- what kind of accommodation it would be
- where it would be
- who would live there with you
and say why you would enjoy living in this place.
Paolo: I think most people when answering this question, would say they’d like to live in a big detached house with spacious rooms … views of the countryside and so on … but actually my ideal home would be a lot different … I’ve always loved the idea of having a mobile home … a costly one with all the mod cons … so I could live wherever I wanted or at least have lots of holidays and be able to take all my home comforts with me whenever I travelled … I realise this would have to be a second home as I’d need a base … a permanent address … but the mobile home would be the accommodation I’d find it exciting to live in … I suppose once I settle down and have children I’ll want to get on the property ladder … I’ll be like everyone else … saving up to put down a deposit on a house or an apartment … I don’t think my family would want to live in a mobile home … but I like to think I’ll still keep that dream home in mind …
Part 3-style questions
Examiner: Is it better to own your own home or to rent?
Ana: I think both have their advantages … living in rented accommodation isn’t necessarily a bad thing … you don’t have a huge debt like you do when you take out a mortgage but I suppose the property market offers you an investment for the future … I’m sure that’s why most people prefer to own their own home …
Examiner: What options are available to young couples looking for accommodation in your country?
Toni: If they want to buy their own home it isn’t easy for first-time buyers … mortgages are hard to get so most people live with their parents or in rented accommodation … but that can also be very expensive … you often have to pay rent in advance … and if the accommodation isn’t fully furnished you have the expense of buying furniture …
Examiner: What are some of the pleasures involved in making a home for ourselves?
Suki: I suppose it starts with house-hunting … finding your ideal home … some people enjoy doing up an old property … giving a property that’s old and tired a new lease of life … others like making wherever they live to feel like home with some home comforts …
(all the) mod cons: technology at home that makes jobs easier such as a washing machine, dishwasher etc.
apartment block: a large building made up of smaller units of apartments
back garden: a garden at the rear of the house
detached house: a house that is not physically connected to another property
to do up a property: to repair an old building
dream home: a home you regard as perfect
first-time buyer: someone buying a property for the first time, especially when taking out a loan (mortgage)
fully-furnished: a rented property with all furniture included
to get on the property ladder: to buy a property to buy another bigger or more expensive one later in life
hall of residence: a college or university building where students live
home comforts: things that make a home feel comfortable to live in
house-hunting: looking for a property to live in
house-warming party: a party to celebrate moving into a new home
ideal home: a perfect home
to live on campus: to live on the university or college grounds
mobile home: a home that can be moved by a vehicle or one that has its own engine
to move into: to begin to live in a property
to own your own home: to have bought the property you live in
to pay rent in advance: weekly or monthly rent paid at the beginning of the week or month
permanent address: a fixed address
property market: the buying and selling of land or buildings
to put down a deposit: to pay an amount of money as the first in a series of future payments
rented accommodation: property owned by someone else and for which a person pays a fixed amount to live in
single room: a room for one person
spacious room: a large room
student digs: student accommodation
the suburbs: a residential area on the edge of towns or cities
to take out a mortgage: to borrow a large amount of money, paid back over several years, in order to buy a house
terraced house: a house connected on both sides by other properties