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Furnishing a Property - Interior Design Tips

 One of the most common questions we get asked at Investor Assist is ‘should you furnish an investment property?’. There are many important factors to consider when considering the interior design of your furnished house for rent. For example:

* Is your target tenant likely to need/want a fully furnished property for rent?
* Will you be able to achieve a premium or higher rent with a furnished property?
* What will the initial outlay cost to furnish a house and have you factored in maintenance plus depreciation for the furniture and household items?
* Is there more merit in only partially furnishing a house with items such as whitegoods or major appliances?
* Does a furnished house for rent improve an investment?* Should you enlist the expert services of someone qualified in interior design?

Author: Nat Santich, Designer, Nat Santich Interiors
 

Your Investor Assist Property Investment Specialist or an experienced property manager should be able to conduct some research on your behalf and provide a recommendation, answering the question of ‘should you furnish an investment property?’ If you do decide that furnished properties are the way to go, we highly recommend enlisting the services of an expert interior designer to provide suggestions and interior design guidance.

If you don’t have the budget to appoint an interior designer (and you might be surprised to find how affordable and useful their services really are), we have compiled a list of top tips and handy hints for you to consider when considering furnished properties for rent. These interior design tips are provided by one of our favourite interior designers, Nat Santich from Nat Santich Interiors, who furnishes many of the Investor Assist properties. Nat has over thirty years of experience in the industry renovating his own furnished properties and has helped his clients create beautiful interior design ideas for more than 13 years. Here is what Nat had to say:

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 1: TRANSPORT AND ACCESS
Before you even start buying furniture and homewares, consider access to and from your investment property. It is two storeys? Can you transport furniture up the stairs or will larger items such as lounges and mattresses need to be hoisted over your second floor balcony? Is there a lift and if so, what are the dimensions of the lift (width, depth and height) as this will dictate the largest possible size of your furniture.

These considerations can greatly impact what furniture you buy and the cost of delivery so plan ahead. And be sure to choose an experienced and reputable removalist or delivery company as you don’t want them taking chips out of the walls and paintwork in your new furnished property!

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 2: PLAN AHEAD
Just as it is important to consider access to your property, you also need to know exactly how much space you have within the furnished house for rent, which will help answer the question 'should you furnish an investment property'? The purchase of an A3 graph pad and scale ruler (1:20) will be a very handy investment.

Using your building plans, draw up a room plan increasing it to 1:20 on your A3 graph paper. Note where the windows, doors and TV points are located in the room and then you can pencil in where the furniture should be placed and the maximum size the furniture items can be. This is a handy exercise for the bedrooms as well as the kitchen and living areas. Establish what wall the bed head will be on and then you can decide what size bed will best suit the bedroom. As a guide, allow 1600mm for a double bed, 1800mm for a queen and 2000mm for a king size bed.

If the available space is tight in the bedroom be very sure on what width your bedside tables are and remember, a larger bed in a smaller room can give the perception of less space so choose wisely.

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 3: USE YOUR AVAILABLE SPACE WISELY
Similarly, if the living areas are not overly large don’t use two sofas as it will only make the room appear smaller than it really is. If you need seating for up to six people, I generally like to invest a little more on a three-seat sofa, two single chairs and two small ottomans, which can also be used in the bedrooms. This will give you more than enough seating but will keep the room open with more flexibility for the layout. There are the interior design secrets you need to know about!

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 4: MEASUREMENTS AND RECESSES

It may sound obvious but double check the size of the recesses for fridges, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers before you purchase your white goods. Nothing looks worse than a tiny fridge swimming in a massive recess or a washing machine jutting out from under the laundry bench because it is too big for the allocated space. When the appliances effortlessly blend into their surrounds it gives a better finish and overall appeal to furnished properties. Does furnishing improve an investment property? The answer to that question is a definitive ‘yes’, but only when done correctly.

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 5: DECIDE ON A COLOUR PALETTE AND STYLE
Don’t just rush off to the shops and start buying items without first having a clear vision of what colours and interior design style will make up the overall look throughout the house. If you are unsure of what the latest colours and trends are, pop into a furniture store like Freedom Furniture and have a look around or browse their catalogue online. Freedom Furniture is very current and always has a variety of items that will mix and match well together. Even if you walk away empty-handed, you will pick up some handy interior design tips on what works well.

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 6: CHOOSING THE MAJOR ITEMS
When selecting the major items remember to take a colour sample of the wall and floor colours with you. If your floor is a charcoal shade (or similar) you are safe with a black sofa and dining chairs. I recommend reserving darker colours for the major items and add colour with scatter cushions, ornaments and don’t be scared to use a bright colour on a single armchair or ottoman.

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 7: ACCENT COLOURS AND HOW TO USE THEM
The latest accent colours will add personality to a room and should only be utilised to compliment the major furniture items, walls and floors. Limit the bright colours to accessories including ornaments, scatter cushions, single armchairs and ottomans. The major furniture items such as sofas, dining chairs and tables should be dark so that they can handle bit more of a beating.

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 8: LEATHER IS A GOOD INVESTMENT
There is no doubt that a leather sofa will cost more than fabric however unlike fabric, good leather gets better with age. Often if you are prepared to shop around there are definitely bargains to be found and don’t be afraid to ask when the sales are starting. Places like Freedom Furniture and Bay Leather Republic often have excess floor stock or ever so slightly damaged stock on sale that can be attractively priced. And no matter how good it looks or how cheap the price is, don’t be tempted to go for white leather in a furnished property for rent.

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 9: FLAT PACK FURNITURE
Flat pack furniture was once considered poor quality and frustrating to assemble however the quality has improved and there are a number of companies in Perth that collect, deliver and assemble the furniture for you. I use a company called Opal Couriers and Assembly who will charge approximately $100 per hour for two people which is really good value. They are also able to provide professional picture hanging services so they can set up your home from start to finish.

FURNISHED RENTALS PERTH TIP 10: ART AND ORNAMENTS
Whilst art and ornaments are not always a requirement in a furnished property, I think it’s wise to have some colour on the walls. Art will complete a home and your tenant will appreciate the home so much more.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Places like Ikea have a terrific range of frames and some reasonable prints in different sizes and colours. I would suggest that you just buy the frames from Ikea and look around for unusual prints, which are generally found at picture framing outlets.

You will save lots of money and will give the home plenty of personality. The tenant may not like your choice of art however at least they have hooks in the walls that they can utilise to hang their own pictures if they would like to carefully place yours in storage and hang their own during their tenancy.

So, when asking the question ‘does furnishing improve an investment property?’ the definitive answer is yes but you need to consider if furnished properties are appropriate or cost effective. Some families are looking for the furnished properties Perth has on offer  - provided it is done well. If you have any additional interior design questions or would like some more of Nat’s expert interior design tips, he is only too happy to help. You can get in touch with Nat on 0412 940 171 or email nat@natsantichinteriors.com.au

 

DISCLAIMER: This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice. We strongly recommend that you seek your own professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances. Investor Assist Pty Ltd Builders Registration No. 13818.

 

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