Fitting your rental property with the right finishings and furniture will save you time, money and energy in the long term. One of the main things to keep in mind is that decorating a rental property is not the same as decorating your individual living space. There are different choices that go into both these processes. For example, when decorating your own home, you will want it to cater to your way of living and to express your individual style.
On the other hand, when decorating a rental property it is important to keep a neutral and versatile style that can cater for a variety of tenants. It is also likely that cost effectiveness plays an important factor. At the same time, your rental property will be someone else’s home, so it should still look and feel like a welcoming space. Basically, getting it right is a bit of a balancing act. So whether you’re getting your property ready for the market for the first time or looking to spruce it up, these tips can help make your life easier as a landlord.
1 Flooring & fittings
These form part of your property’s basic structure and should therefore be of good quality and last a long time. Make sure that any gaps or holes created during construction works are appropriately sealed off and covered. Having a sound, weather-proof structure is a very important first step. You don’t want to be fixing leaks or dealing with mouldy walls later on!
What about heating/cooling systems or air-conditioning? Is this something you want your property to offer? In a warm country like Malta that gets quite hot in the summer, having an airconditioned property could add quite a lot of value to your rental offering, for instance. For your flooring, avoid choosing overpowering materials and colours - opt instead for earthy or neutral-coloured materials that can fit any style - beige and grey tones resembling wood or stone are great options.
2 Wall colour & wall hangings
A light and neutral wall colour probably works best for your walls. Think of the flooring and the walls as the backdrop to everything else in the space - they should not be overpowering. Painting every room the same colour will probably work out cheaper. White is always the safest option and it generally makes rooms feel brighter and bigger, as opposed to darker colours. Cream, light green, light grey or light blue tones are also good options to maintain a general feeling of freshness and brightness while making the space feel a bit ‘warmer’ and more welcoming, without losing neutrality.
It is likely that once tenants move in, they will want to personalise the place by hanging items on the wall. Just the idea of having walls drilled into is not very appealing to several landlords. Understandable. Consider installing tenant-friendly hanging systems, like command strips, that require no holes in the wall to hang something up.
Lighting can quickly change the whole mood, look and feel of a room, so don’t underestimate it! Opt for bulbs that are not too warm (yellow) and not too clinical (white). Ideally, even when artificially lit, the light in the room feels quite natural and even throughout the whole space. Alternate between ceiling lighting, standing lights and other forms of lighting, such as desk lamps, that can be added later by the tenant.
First thing to consider is whether you are renting out your property furnished or unfurnished. There are advantages to both. Unfurnished properties allow tenants more opportunity to personalise the space according to their needs and it is likely that whoever moves in is looking for a long let.
If you’re offering your rental property furnished and ready to move into, make sure you are offering all the essential pieces that your tenant(s) will require to be able to inhabit the space comfortably from day one. A sturdy dinner table, a desk, comfortable chairs, a sofa and coffee table, an ample-sized bed and wardrobe are expected in a furnished rental property.
Since these pieces will stay in your property for a long time and be used by multiple tenants, it would be a good idea to buy good-quality, durable furniture. You don’t want flimsy furniture that keeps breaking and needing replacing - it is annoying for both landlord and tenant when this is the case. Buying secondhand or vintage pieces is a great way to get high quality for little money.
Try going for versatile pieces that can be used in multiple ways - that way you are able to save some of your budget and your tenants are able to do more with less. On that note, don’t overdo it. Your tenants probably still want to add their own pieces or reconfigure the living space later.
5 Soft Interiors
If you are providing curtains, cushions, artworks on the wall, or any other ornaments, it is important to keep a coherent and neutral style and to not overcrowd the space. Otherwise it’s likely that it will end up feeling tacky and overcrowded. Don’t use your rental property as a storage space for all your unused or unwanted items. Remember, this is going to be someone else’s home and it should allow them the space to style it according to their preference.
It is extremely important that this room feels clean, fresh and has the proper fittings in place. A dirty or tired-looking bathroom can be very off-putting for prospective tenants eyeing your property. Make sure that ceiling and walls are mould-free and there are no leakages. Periodically seal sinks and shower trays properly. Go for grouting if your budget allows for it. Avoid white tiles. They look great when new but can look old very quickly. If your bathroom is fitted with a bath, make sure to add a shower head to it for versatility.