Design guide to investment refurbs

Have you decided to renovate a property you are renting? Or are you looking to refresh it before selling to get the best price? You probably know your budget and scope of works and have even lined up contractors… But what about the design elements?

Sometimes landlords don’t get the value of good design and may let a creative friend or family member, even a builder make decisions on materials and design – not always leading to a good end result.

These tips below should help a landlord wanting to refurb! As well as give a good starting point and save them from making easy design mistakes.

Painting the walls

When painting the walls, opting for light warm colours is the way to go! A light grey would make the interior feel luxurious and give warmth to any space – it will also help to tie all the rooms together. You might try to introduce a darker shade behind the headboard in the bedroom to give a cost effective but interesting feature.


Floor finishes is an important feature in any property. Practical, hard-wearing and easy to clean are key for landlords and their tenants. For rental properties you should consider wood flooring throughout, including bedrooms and fully tile bathrooms. Carpeting bedrooms may be a cheaper option, but wood flooring saves you the hassle and maintenance costs later. If wooden flooring is not in your budget, you might consider vinyl tiles.

Try to stay away from yellow shades, or anything with orange or green undertones. Go for either a slightly light whitewashed oak or a darker, grey/brown oak. Try to stay away from busy wood graining and opt for something neutral and smooth.


When it come to the kitchen of course it’s about the finishes, however, the layout is also very important. It should be practical with plenty of storage for every type of item your tenants are likely to have, as well as dry goods storage. You should also get a fridge to fit the property size, you wouldn’t need a large fridge in say a one-bedroom flat for instance.

As for the design, again opt for neutral colours, especially in an open plan kitchen. Design is about being clever, spending where you need to and saving when you can. You will need to spend money on kitchen cabinetry and work surfaces, as they both get a lot of usage and possibly not much TLC from the tenants.


You might want to consider porcelain tiles as they are much more hardwearing than ceramic ones, the last thing you want to be doing is replacing cracked or chipped tiles in your rental property.

Don’t think too crazy, go for ‘simple with a twist’. Something with a geometric pattern or a metro tile will work well – fully tile the rest of the bathroom with a complimentary range, not heavily patterned or textured.

Hard finishes

You should pick one metallic finish for handles and sanitary, carry that through the whole house. Keep it easy and go for a brushed chrome, you need to be very confident to mix and match. You don’t want to spend lots of money, a tenant would not choose another property over yours due to it having fancy doors or handles.  A simple door matching your wall colours is always a good bet.


The most important thing is quality of the materials and fitting. Use good companies with a large project portfolio. You don’t want your materials to be wasted if they are not fitted correctly, as this can lead to further damage.

If you are looking to BTL, we have a large selection of suitable properties. You can view our current listings here.