In your own home, you can do whatever you want when it comes to interior design — you’re the person who has to live there, so you should like what you see each day. However, as a landlord, you won’t know what your future tenants will want in your rental property, so something so personalized to your tastes wouldn’t work.
Instead, you should choose a more neutral backdrop so potential renters will picture themselves living in your for-rent property. More specifically, you should stick to these five design principles that will work for any rental.
1. Ignore Extraneous Design Details
As a landlord, you will have plenty of design decisions to make. Along with the materials you use, you have to choose a coordinating — and equally neutral — paint color for your rental property. It can take some thought to put your color palette together, but it shouldn’t take too much time or require too many decisions.
Once you cover the basics, it’s time to stop designing. Some landlords will get caught up in the design process and start adding too many extras. Regardless of whether they’re trendy or timeless additions, you probably don’t need to make them. Make the place look refreshed, but don’t design it from top to bottom — it’s up to your tenants to make those decorating choices, and you might alienate some potential renters if you put too much into your property.
2. Maximize Storage
Not every landlord will be in the position to renovate and add more closet and cabinet space for storage. Still, you’re not out of luck if you’re in this position. Instead, you can come up with plenty of creative ways to put everything in its place, thus proving to prospective renters that they, too, can make do with the amount of storage available in your rental property.
Perhaps the most important room for storage is the kitchen — if a tenant can’t see how they’d fit all of their small appliances, dishware, glasses and food into your cabinets, you might have a problem. Fortunately, adding smart storage solutions is always in style, when it comes to timeless kitchen renovations. Options include built-in cutlery organizers, slim-but-tall cabinets to hold cutting boards and a pull-out basket of cleaning supplies that easily comes out when you need it.
3. Choose Neutral Colors
Every year, new design trends make a splash on magazine pages. It might be tempting to capitalize on hot paint colors when you’re freshening up a rental. However, when it comes to the longevity of your chosen design scheme, you should stick to clean, neutral accents and materials.
While some potential tenants might love a pop of color, you really want to create a space that every potential tenant can see themselves in. White paint, natural wood and subtle accents where possible will give you a lot of mileage. Not only do neutrals allow tenants to make the space their own upon move-in, but they can also open up a small space and bring in light. It’s a win-win.
4. Maintain Kitchen Appliances
The kitchen is a huge selling point in every rental and for-sale property on the market. But renters are slightly different than people looking to buy. They don’t necessarily expect your property to have top-of-the-line, stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen — unless you rent a top-of-the-line apartment or home.
In most cases, keeping appliances attractive and usable is enough. All your tenants will want to see is that these pieces look clean and well-maintained. If you do start to notice that your devices need more and more repairs, then replace them. Swap them out if they look more than 15 years old — renters will have their limits, even if they’re open to older versions of must-have appliances.
5. Light It Right
Finally, as you show tenants around, you want to make sure your rental property has plenty of light. Many renters seek out a place with plenty of natural light, so throw back the curtains and open blinds before the walk-through.
If your place can’t offer a floor plan drenched in the sun’s rays, then get creative — don’t rely on overhead lighting alone. Learn to maximize different lighting options to brighten each room in the space. For instance, in the kitchen, you might have a light dangling over the kitchen table. You can stage other rooms with floor and table lamps.
Simple Design for Rental Properties
As much as you might want to put a personal touch on your rental property, your best bet is to keep everything simple. From natural materials to shiny appliances to bright lighting, you now know what renters look for — and how simple it can be for you to give them what they want.
This article has been contributed by Holly Welles from The Estate Update.