Decorating Rental Property – Tips & Tricks

Decorate in a way that keeps costs down but still appeal to tenants

How to decorate rental property to save money and appeal to tenants

A rental property is supposed to be “a grey box that makes you money”. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be appealing to tenants. It does mean you might decorate it in a different way to your home.

In this article we offer our tips for decorating rental properties:

  • What to do to appeal to tenants
  • How to keep decorating costs down
  • How often you should budget to redecorate
  • Ways to minimise on decoration maintenance

It should be noted that we’re thinking here of long term lets rather than Holiday or Luxury lets which will have a different approach.

1. Neutral Colours

  • Magnolia paint in rental flats is clichéd. However, it has the advantage of being a cheap paint to buy. This is because so much magnolia is sold and if you are doing the whole flat the same colour you can buy in bulk.
  • If Magnolia is too passé stay with light or off-white. Light colours have broad appeal, make rooms look larger than dark colours and won’t clash with furnishings.

2. Don’t use “special” colours

  • Only use colours from a manufacturers colour chart. Do not be tempted to have a colour made up to match something. Find something close to what you want from the manufacturers existing colours.
  • It will be cheaper and easier to get hold of than a special mix and so save having to redecorate a whole room if just one wall needs touching up.

3. The same colour throughout

  • This will enable you to buy in bulk and so reduce paint costs.
  • It also makes it faster (and so cheaper) to apply.
  • If the same colour throughout is too much then keep to a minimum the number of colours. Never more than one colour in a room.

4. Avoid Papering

  • Unless it’s lining paper to cover cracks (see below)
  • Finishing paper costs more to buy and hang than painting.
  • If it gets damaged paper is far more costly to repair than painted walls. If it can be repaired at all.

5. Paper over the cracks

  • If cracks regularly appear on walls (as they often do in Edinburgh tenements) consider hanging lining paper before painting.
  • It will reduce the number of times painting will need to be done to cover cracks.
  • Big cracks on walls (even if they are superficial) put off prospective tenants.

6. Put a sheen in bathrooms & kitchens

  • In bathrooms & kitchens use a wipe-able paint. This paint may be called a “bathroom paint”, a “soft sheen” or a “mid sheen”.
  • It will be less susceptible to mould caused by condensation and easier to clean (saving on redecoration costs).

7. Use mould resistant paints

  • Particularly in bathrooms and rooms with poor ventilation.
  • Remember that tenants are often reluctant to open windows to ventilate bathrooms, kitchens or bedrooms
  • See Damp in Edinburgh Properties for more

8. Budget for redecoration

  • Fair wear and tear of a property is to be expected. That means some marks on walls.
  • Aim for a rolling programme of decoration (a room a year) or set aside money each year.
  • Don’t leave it until the poor state of decoration puts tenants off. Void periods cost more than redecoration.

9. Let tenants make the place their own

  • When tenants feel at home they stay longer. It is changes of tenants and void periods that reduce profit on rental properties.
  • Allow tenants to put up their own pictures and even paint to their own tastes.
  • HOWEVER, also make it clear they must remove all picture hooks and fill holes when they leave and return walls to original colours.
  • Any extensive damage done by hanging pictures would not be permissible under the fair wear and tear rule of a tenancy agreement. Costs to put this right can, legitimately, be deducted from a deposit. As could failure to return a wall to the original colour.

Arrange a reliable Edinburgh Decorator to quote to decorate your rental property: