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Home Decorating Ideas for the Budget Conscious

Updated on November 24, 2020
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.

Perhaps You Need to Brush Up on Your Decorating Skills!


Neutral Colour Schemes are Best

If you're a landlord who needs to minimise expenditure but still willing to provide an excellent standard of accommodation for your tenants, then decorating a rental property need not be costly or arduous. However you will need a definite plan of action for when you first market it.

Freshly applied paint works wonders, throughout the property but don't go to the bother of working out a complex colour scheme for every room - this may be recommended for a holiday let, but not for standard rental accommodation.

Armed with several trade-size tubs of cheap and cheerful ‘Magnolia Magic,' 'Vanilla Variations,' or 'Cappuccino Crème,' whatever you care to call it, your neutral colour scheme will prove just as effective as those on display at any of the major DIY depots which can be found in just about every town nowadays.

Even novice landlords can do a successful makeover on a tired and worn property in no time at all. Standard white emulsion on the ceilings gives the illusion of space even in rooms that are poorly lit and smaller than average. A front elevation will also benefit from a new lick of paint that doubles as a protective coating for the fabric of the building.

Specialist paints for kitchen and bathrooms can be expensive but the discerning purchaser can opt for cheaper methods by adding mould-inhibiting formula to any off-the-shelf paint.

Wallpaper is best avoided if the walls are in a good state of repair – paint over bare plasterwork with some primer and then use some cheap trade emulsion to get a smooth finish. If existing wallpaper is still intact but dated, you can paint over in a neutral colour to achieve a modern feel. Sometimes it's better to leave the old paper in situ as you may end up with a replastering job.

Dreary wooden panels can be preserved and enhanced with a reputable cupboard paint slightly darker than surrounding walls or they can be sanded and re-varnished with a thoroughly reliable product from the Sadolin range. Wood varnish is an excellent product that can enhance rental properties and can also be used to revive almost any wooden features throughout the home inside and out, Doors, window frames and fencing will benefit from a resilient protective coating that doesn't require re-application for several years. Available in a range of natural wood shades, you can have perfect pine or opulent oak to suit all tastes.

Rusting wrought iron railings and gates can be lovingly restored with just one coat of Hammerite. Black railings with tips of gold picked out to give a decadent feel will add the finishing touches to your front elevation and give it some 'kerb appeal' A small tin of Hammerite goes a long way and is excellent value for money.

Worn and tired carpets are best removed and replaced with laminate flooring which is clean and durable and can be by far the best option if you know your tenants are likely to have pets. It may be cost effective however to preserve any original wooden flooring you discover when ripping out dull and dated carpets. Wooden floorboards, if still in reasonable repair can be sanded and stained with wood enhancing dye to provide an enviable feature. Once stained, wooden flooring can be further highlighted with several coats of clear polyurethane varnish to toughen the surface. Sanders can be hired and the whole procedure can be carried out cheaply and swiftly.

If the floorboards are not salvageable then laminate floors will prove just as functional. Your rental property needs to be shown to its best advantage to attract a better type of tenant who will be more likely to appreciate the place. Modern laminate is tough and durable and easy to install, a laminate floor is virtually maintenance free and creates a streamlined feel throughout; it won't need replacing for a good number of years and will serve the landlord well throughout the duration of several tenancies. Carpets, however, will never last half as long and may even need to be replaced at the start of every tenancy. Of course, you'll still need carpets on the stairs but laminate can be used in all other areas. There are even extra durable laminates available for kitchens and bathrooms and other areas of high water usage.

If wall tiles in bathrooms and kitchens are too dated and dreary you can paint over them with a reputable tile paint. Tiles can be repainted to transform and harmonise the total appearance of a room making it immediately more appealing. Take some 'before and after' photos so you can keep a record of progress. Tiles can also be re-grouted to look pristine if you wish to preserve the existing patterns. Prospective tenants won't appreciate ingrained grime from a previous occupier so be certain to use sealant guns to restore worn sealant around baths, showers and sink areas and to protect against leakage.

It will help immensely if you visit a reputable internet property portal such as Zoopla or Right move and look at other rental properties currently available. This can give you no end of ideas that you can incorporate into your own property makeovers. Your letting agency, if you have one will also have useful recommendations for you so that you can improve on what you already have without any unnecessary outlay.

Using the above tried and tested tricks will assist you in finding a suitable tenant who will be more likely to appreciate the property and look after it well. Although there is always an element of luck in finding someone who will take care of your property as if it were their own, most tenants take a pride in their homes and are happy to maintain the standard of accommodation you initially provided.

Renters will invariably prefer a clean slate so that they can add their own personal feel. You as a landlord need only provide them with the very basics to put this into practice.

Magnificent Magnolia!


Interior Decorating Is Fun But Get Advice From the Professionals Too!

The same tips apply to any residential property whether you are a landlord, a tenant or a homeowner. Homeowners can be that little bit more creative when it comes to decoration as there won't be a landlord to stipulate what and what is not allowed. Often a tenant can offer to decorate a property for a slight reduction in rent which will save the landlord time before moving a tenant in.

A professional decorator may be needed especially for inaccessible areas such as stairwells which will require special equipment such as gantries. Always get an estimate if you're hiring a professional and ascertain whether the quote includes materials. If the walls are in a poor state of repair, it will be pointless just 'papering over the cracks.' You'll need to buy some Pollyfilla or even replaster before redecorating when the walls are that bad. Another point to remember is the danger of black mould - this should never be painted over or it will return with a vengeance. Specialist treatment will be needed to prevent black mould from returning. This comes in the form of a fungicidal wash which you coat on the walls and leave until the mould has gone.

Neutral Decor Makes Any Room Look Spacious


Ideas for Decorating a Rental Apartment

A Bucket Full of Decorating Tips for Renters and Owners Alike

What is better - decorating your home yourself or leaving it to the professionals?

See results

© 2015 Stella Kaye


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