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Flair and Flexibility with Furniture

Updated on April 21, 2016
Stella Kaye profile image

As a property developer, Stella has written many articles on the home environment, decor and problems that arise in the home and garden.

Loft rooms benefit from neutral shades if there is restricted light

Furnishing a room in a simple but effective style
Furnishing a room in a simple but effective style | Source

Home furnishing ideas for shared houses

The keyword when furnishing individual rooms in house shares is flexibility. Furniture that may suit one tenant may not suit another. Whereas one tenant may be happy with a desk another may want space for a TV set or a fridge and his own tea and coffee making facilities. Maintaining flexibility to suit the tenant’s individual needs is your best option. If their requirements are catered for from the start they are more likely to stay in your shared house for longer. When presenting the rooms at a viewing, point out that you are prepared to be flexible with furniture and your house will be sure to be on their shortlist.

If the pipework allows, before purchasing any furniture, install a wash hand basin in every letting room so that there will not be so much pressure on the bathrooms with several occupants in one house. Above the washbasin you can mount a bathroom cabinet with a mirror on the front and surround it with a chrome storage area for toiletries. Better still if the room to be let is large enough, consider fitting an en suite; a room with such facilities will always command a higher rent and add significant value to the property. Try to enhance the plus points of your multiple-occupancy home by making the best use of space. Laminate flooring and neutral decor to the walls and ceilings will provide you with a clean slate for your furniture and be durable and easy for your tenants to keep clean. Also make sure that lighting is bright and shows off all your fixtures and fittings to their best advantage.

Next you must decide whether the size of a room will allow it to take a double or single bed. Be realistic; it is no good saying your room to let is a double when there is little room for anything else once the bed is in situ. For a double room there should be space for two bedside tables and lamps plus a reasonable sized wardrobe, dresser, chair and mirror. Base it on the features you would find in a small but well-equipped hotel room.

Many retail chains provide everything from furniture to picture frames nowadays so it will be easy for you to furnish your rooms without having to visit too many shops.. Avoid any heavy pieces that will only fit in one place; smaller items from a coordinating range which can be moved round between rooms are a far better idea. Always be sure to get your measurements right and take a tape measure with you when you are looking for suitable furniture and you will not go far wrong. Middle of the range fixtures and fittings are always the best choice so you know your furniture isn't going to fall apart in just a short time but you will also know that if it does get damaged at some point, it will not break the bank to replace.


Furniture and equipment packages

Furnishing your house share need not cost a fortune. Durable furniture is advisable in all the communal areas that will need to be able to cope with heavy usage. It is possible to purchase furniture packages specifically aimed at landlords who let rooms in shared houses but it is just as easy to do it yourself to fit in with your own particular budget.

Furniture ideas for rental properties

Allow your tenants to be creative with colour

Your letting rooms can be decorated to suit any taste
Your letting rooms can be decorated to suit any taste | Source

Safety issues to bear in mind

All soft furnishings, mattresses etc need to comply with current fire safety regulations and this can only be a good thing. Bringing only safe furnishings into the property will not only protect it from serious fire damage due to the flame retardant nature of the fabric, but it will also help preserve the safety of your tenants. New goods will most likely already comply but be careful with second hand goods which although may be perfectly usable may not be safe from a fire safety perspective.

All portable electrical items such as lampshades will have to comply with electrical safety requirements and be replaced if the flexes become damaged. The same applies to small appliances such as kettles, irons and toasters which get heavy usage yet are so cheap to replace.


Storage and space-saving ideas

Ideally you should have some storage space in the house to allocate for spare furniture that can be accessed if and when required. A disused loft area would always be better than a garage or out building where wood and composite furniture can deteriorate over time. You may have to swap a double bed for a single on some occasions or temporarily deposit furniture into your storage space if tenants bring their own. This is a situation where flexibility is once again the key word..

Plan your rooms so that you can show them at their best advantage by making clever use of space and arrangement of furniture, No one wants to rent a cluttered room that makes them feel claustrophobic even if it is in reality quite a fair size. Visit some show homes as this will be beneficial in giving you ideas for furnishings and decor and if you don't have time for this a peek at some show properties on rightmove will serve the same purpose.

Communal areas must be well appointed and equipped

The areas of the property that are shared jointly by all occupants must be adequate for the maximum number of people you intend to let your property to. Of course it will be highly unlikely they will all sit down to dinner together as in a family home but there must still be a reasonable number of chairs and place settings etc to allow for visitors.

The kitchens and bathrooms will likely need very little in the way of furnishings and should be free of clutter. Each tenant should be allocated their own individual cupboards if the space allows, for their own food and equipment, although kitchen equipment in shared housing is generally provided by the landlord.

Soft furnishings, bedding and toweling

Last but not least don't forget the soft furnishings such as scatter cushions, curtains and bedspreads. Once you have added these finishing touches to your rooms to let, you can take some eye-catching photos and begin to advertise for suitable housemates.

You may or may not want to supply bedding and toweling but it is a nice touch to show your rooms with the beds fully made up and of course this will be essential for a good photography when advertising for housemates.

A few tasteful pictures or art work here and there to coordinate with the decor will complete the atmosphere you want to create


Practical furnishings and vanilla tones for the communal areas

Functional furniture and neutral décor makes even a small room look good
Functional furniture and neutral décor makes even a small room look good | Source

Make the garden attractive too

You don't have to go to great expense to make the outside space appealing, whatever its size. A few planters and a nicely paved path is often all that is required to show that this area is tidy and well maintained. Bear in mind you don't want to have features that are difficult to keep looking good especially if you are not going to be a live-in landlord. It is as well to remember that the tenants who live in your house share, although perfectly happy to clean up after themselves, will not want to carry out things like weeding, window cleaning or removing the cobwebs from the ceiling so you will likely have to employ someone to carry out these tasks periodically - or do them yourself.

Preparing a room for viewing

© 2015 Stella Kaye

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