There are five elements on which investor-landlords could work on; namely wall, floor, furniture, lighting and ceiling. Amin’ guide on each will help maximise returns while cutting down costs:
When it comes to wall colours, it is difficult to pinpoint potential tenants preferences. Some people love bold colours while some prefer a minimalistic feel to their homes. Nevertheless, investors should stick with light and neutral colours such as white, beige or light blue.
In hotels and such, you will observe that these ‘safe’ colours are used and wallpapers are kept simple. Instead of bold colours, investors could play around with textured wallpaper – this adds a playful touch to more casual interior spaces, i.e: the living room and bedroom. When it comes to finishes, avoid using glossy paint as it magnifies flaws; try to use matte paint instead. A plus point for matte finishing is that it requires less maintenance.
One tip – use a maximum of two colour tones as ‘too many cooks will spoil the broth’. For instance, if your floor is tiled white, complement it with a light orange or beige and if your floors are covered with dark/coloured carpeting, go with white walls instead. Never use red as it is too bold and will put off the more conservative tenants.
Flooring tends to be overlooked by home owners because it is a costly affair. Still, anyone can spruce up the floor in their unit by investing in attractive, quality carpets. Make sure to get carpets that fit under your furniture such as sofas and tables. The perfect carpet can pull the whole room together by how it “holds” the furniture and lend a fancy vibe to the area.
Do not place small rugs or carpets haphazardly in a space as it creates a messy picture and detracts the observer’s point of vision. When a carpeting is placed with some of the furniture pieces on and some off, then the rug/carpet has a tendency to look lost. If you do decide to refurbish old floor tiles, make sure to rip out the old tiles first before installing the new ones.
Never use bulky furniture in a small room but aim for pieces with simple designs and sleeker lines.
For instance, settle for a skinny console table instead of a sideboard or a love seat instead of a sofa. Make sure your furniture fits in the theme of the room – does it match the paint, lighting, etc?
If you are angling for more affluent tenants for your higher-end residential property, you might want to consider custom-made furniture.
Use existing ceiling slabs to minimise wiring work and try to use spotlights instead of downlights where possible, as the latter contributes to significant electrical savings and it creates a more relaxed and cosy ambience to boot.
Lighting should be slightly muted or orange-toned. As observed in malls, lighting is kept mellow as it evokes a sense of calmness. To help strike the perfect balance, you can mix up two lighting types – mild and bright by alternating the different intensity light bulbs with one another.
Also, do not settle for conventional lighting designs just because it is the norm. A simple matter of getting creative with your lighting arrangement and altering the layout of the light bulbs can contribute to significant savings, as shown below:
Top ID tricks and tips?
Living Room: For small living rooms, there is no need to break up the area into zones or boundaries. You do not have the luxury of space to play around with furniture and walls. Don’t be tempted to pick one wallpaper with prints or patterns – stick with textured ones if you have the urge to do something different. This removes the risk of your tenant having an instant dislike to your wallpaper. It is always two extremes – they will either love it or hate it.
Kitchen: Make sure the flooring is appropriate – you would not want to use wood or marble in a kitchen! It might look gorgeous but it’s not practical. Maximise your kitchen space by allocating fixtures and fittings to complement the layout of the area. For instance, you can have a row of ceilinghigh cabinets in narrow kitchens.
Bedroom: Installing reading lights or bedlights add a touch of cosiness. Also, we most often spent more time in our beds at night and it makes more sense to just flip on that one bulb than the main lights. Try to stick to a colour scheme, do not exceed 2 or 3 colour tones in an area.
Bathroom: Your plumbing must be in tip-top order – no leakages or dripping taps. During a tenant’s inspection, spruce up the bathroom with a fragrance sachet or a flowering plant. Most importantly, eradicate any signs of mould or fungi.
• Unplug your electrical appliances when not in use – It DOES make a difference when you consider the accumulated savings.
• Keep the temperature setting of your air-conditioners at roughly 24C, not only will your electricity bill be lower but it helps to extend the appliance’s lifespan as well.
• Set the timer of your air-cond and alternate with the ‘Fan’ setting to obtain efficient and quick cooling at a lower cost.
Words of advice?
• Sometimes there is no need to overhaul the entire unit to revamp your rental property; it would suffice for you to thoroughly clean the unit, replace old fixtures (door handles, faucets, light bulbs, etc) and give dreary walls a fresh coat of paint.
• Make an effort with small function décor – do not be afraid to throw in stuff that will add a homey feel to your unit. Examples include a covered shoe rack, a mirror near the entryway & a pullout pantry shelf in the kitchen.
• Utilise technology to your advantage – Check out Pinterest for décor ideas and ID examples and connect with ID experts through social media platforms such as FB & Twitter to obtain updates on the latest ID tips and tricks.
Any recommended brands?
For paint, I always turn to Jotun or Dulux. They provide value for money and have proved to weather the ravages of time, humidity, etc quite well.