A Guide to Decorating Rental Homes

Redecorating in the rental market is an entirely different game to residential design, especially when renting fully furnished - we should know, we have a sizeable portfolio of properties we have renovated for the rental market for various investors - we are working on 5 flats for rental at the moment on Golborne Road (www.number10.info).

Fully furnished rental homes are probably the hardest designs to get right - people have varied tastes and although the instinct is to keep it simple, not everyone likes minimal either. The other risk with doing too little is to make the design cold and uninviting - when the main selling point in a rental design should be that it is warm and inviting, somewhere that people want to live. Trying to hit as wide a market as possible with a simple but friendly design is the goal.

Below is a collection of images from our London property portfolio - these flats were acquired by an investor, refurbished and furnished by Ardesia Design and then rented for a few years before being sold. All of the below properties achieved a net rental yield of more than 5% and capital gains of up to 40%.

Here's our advice on how to successfully decorate a rental home.


  • Stick to neutral colours but don't go white - white can be too stark or sterile and you want to create a warm, inviting feeling. Choose warm off-whites, but stay clear away from magnolia!
  • Choose light coloured wooden floors. Light floors radiate warmth and reflect light, they are modern and long-lasting from a design perspective. Invest in an engineered wooden floor with a good, thick layer of real wood so that if needed, the floor can be sanded and re-oiled after a long tenancy.
  • Choose hardwearing materials for your kitchen work top such as corian, quartz or marble. Wood, laminates and surfaces such as concrete (although beautiful) are not suitable for rental flats as they scratch and stain easily.
  • Spotlights are a better solution, where possible, than pendant lights. They provide an even spread of light and the tenant does not have to bring their own light shade.
  • If the property is being rented furnished, it's best to choose simple furniture. Again, light colours appeal to everyone's tastes but when it comes to sofas and other upholstered furniture  make sure the cushion covers are removable so that they can be easily washed after the tenancy.
  • In terms of decorative details, some landlords don't think these are necessary, however, we firmly believe they add to the design. Without finishing touches, a property is at risk of feeling too empty and therefore, not appealing as well to prospective tenants. We like natural materials such as wood, and small uplifting details like brightly painted metal lanterns or rustic bits and bobs to contrast with the minimal designs. It's also important to have some artwork on the walls so the walls don't seem too bare.
  • Of course once a tenancy is agreed, the tenant can ask for certain things to be removed before they move in - that's not to say these details have been a waste. Often we have found that tenants love the completeness of our designs so much that they ask to buy things to take with them at the end of their tenancy!