Rental Advice: Design, Decorate, Furnish

As a landlord, it’s important that you organise your property portfolio efficiently to get the best value for money. Designing, decorating and furnishing your rental property can have a significant impact on its monthly rental value.

Before and after decorated room

© anatoliy_gleb /

Whatever the location of your rental properties, it’s in your best interests to have them well-furnished to ensure they attract tenants prepared to pay a fair rent.


How important is the design of the house?

The design of the house is extremely important when it comes to getting the most rent. It figures that the monthly rental price increases in line with the number of bedrooms. The Private Rental Market study by the ONS reveals the highest rent is commanded by properties with four bedrooms or more. They fetch an average of £1,300 per month.

The size of the rooms is also important, as this will dictate whether the property is suitable as an HMO – there are mandatory sizes for bedrooms. A landlord with a six-bedroom house who converts it into an HMO has the potential to make £2,400 rent monthly if it houses six separate tenants.

Newer homes tend to reflect a change in how we live. For example, older houses usually have closed individual rooms, whereas more modern houses are often open-plan. If your properties are older, you may need to upgrade the kitchens and bathrooms to ensure their rental value isn’t impacted.

Any house that isn’t a heritage property will start showing its age and command a lower rent, unless you keep it in good repair and update rooms and features when necessary.


Decorating the rooms

Getting the décor just right can help improve your chances of securing a decent tenant in today’s competitive market.

Making your property appear well looked-after can reduce the time it is empty and will help you secure the rent that you want. If a property looks tatty or unkempt in any way, potential tenants may be put off, or may try to barter down the price.

When it comes to colour schemes, neutral shades are usually best. This will make it appealing to more people, rather than going with a bold colour scheme that is your personal taste. Tenants can add things like pictures and ornaments that will tweak it into feeling more homely. Neutral shades will go with any furniture and furnishings too.

Use paint with a satin finish, as this makes it easier to clean the walls in between tenancies. Having walls you can wipe down, rather than having to redecorate totally, reduces the necessary refurbishment work to get the property ready for the next tenants.

Use highly durable paint that contains latex or acrylic to further reduce the need for redecoration. When you require a quick turnaround between tenants, using water-based acrylic paint which is quick-drying can help get your property looking great in a shorter timescale.


What about the flooring?

Choose a carpet that isn’t too light – although it might look nice to start with; if you go for beige or cream, it will show stains and dirt. A mid-tone, patterned carpet is a good choice. In terms of quality, it’s preferable to go for a mid-range price.

While you might save money in the short term by buying cheap carpets, they will not last as long. If you buy a medium quality carpet and have it professional cleaned regularly, it can last for years and still look good.

It’s generally best to lay carpets in sleeping areas. However, good-quality wooden floors or laminate can be better in living areas where there is high traffic, such as the hall. The kitchen or dining room can look great with tiled floors, which will last for years.


What furnishings should the landlord provide?

There are many items in a furnished property that a landlord must provide. Having the relevant furniture, in a good state of repair, can be invaluable to tenants who want to simply move in without any hassle, such as those on temporary working contracts, or those who don’t have a lot of cash to spend. It can also help show off your property.

Ensure that each room has at least the basics. In the lounge, this means a sofa, armchair and coffee table at the least. Many properties also offer a television on a stand.

In the dining area, you should provide a table and chairs. In the bedroom, provide a bed, bedside tables and a wardrobe at the very least. Ideally, you should also provide a chest of drawers. If it’s a student let, a table for studying in the bedroom is also useful.

Make sure all your furnishings meet the necessary safety standards/fire regulations!

Supplying white goods in your rental property is also an added incentive to attract tenants. The minimum would be a fridge/freezer, a cooker and a washing machine but you could also provide a microwave.


What about serviced accommodation?

While HMOs and student accommodation are lucrative means of making a good income as a landlord, how should you go about furnishing your serviced accommodation, such as a holiday home? The answer is simple: it needs to combine practicality with elegance and comfort.

Your guests need to feel relaxed and comfortable. After all, this is why they are staying! However, you also want your property to capture the holiday spirit, so it needs to feel special.

For holiday let furniture, choose a theme to run throughout your property. Whether it’s modern, retro or revival; make sure the furniture is of a high quality, so it’s much more than just a home from home.

Remember that whatever you invest in your furnished rental property, this will be reflected in the rent you can charge and the kind of tenants you will attract. If you offer a well-decorated, refurbished property with high quality furniture, it won’t be empty long and your tenants will be keen to keep it looking as lovely as the day they moved in.

Many landlords choose the services of a professional supplier of furniture packs for quality, value and convenience. You won’t have to shop around and arrange deliveries from several different suppliers!

All Articles