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.