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How to Elevate Your Furnished Rental Property to Increase Income and Bookings


Transform your furnished rental property.

So you’re interested in renting, or you’ve already started. There’s a lot that goes into making a perfect furnished rental property, and incorporating beautiful design and thoughtful touches is just part of the equation.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed about everything you need or want to see a higher return on your investment, fear not. Whether you’re looking to see higher bookings, increase the rental property price, or just want to make a memorable experience for your guests, we’ve made a list of key elements for elevating your furnished rental property. 

Finding the Best Furniture For a Rental Property 

The right furniture is essential to creating a comfortable and homey rental property. You want your guests to feel right at home, but keep your job as the landlord as easy as possible. 

Your furniture selection should suit the property style and be appropriate for renters. That means it needs to be high quality enough to handle frequent use and generic enough that the majority of potential renters will enjoy it. 

In general, your furniture should be:

  • Durable
  • Functional 
  • Easily washable
  • Comfortable 
  • Stylish

You’ll obviously want the basics—couches or chairs for the main living room area, a designated eating space, a comfortable bed, and a workspace. Sturdy furniture pieces will survive plenty of action and are a great investment for a rental property. Commercial-grade furniture will stand up to extra wear and tear without sacrificing quality or visual appeal. Keep an eye out for upholstered furniture made from performance fabrics that can handle frequent use and cleaning. 

Staying on theme.

When picking the look of your furniture, remember that style is crucial. What’s the overall look of your rental home? Make sure to pick furniture that fits and builds on the look rather than creating a jarring experience. If you have a lot of wood, try going with a rustic theme. If your home is modern, keep the furniture sleek. 

No musical chairs necessary.

Your specific rental property will determine how much seating you need, but make sure you have the appropriate amount of seating for the total number of guests your rental property can accommodate. If you advertise your property for eight people, there needs to be seating and space for eight people to gather in one room for eating, games, movie nights, or other social activities. 

You might want to consider flexible pieces and double duty furniture, such as a sofa bed to allow for extra guests. The more comfortable your guests are, the happier they’ll be and the more likely they will leave positive reviews.

An Instagram-worthy space.

It might seem silly, but take into account how the furniture looks in photographs. Do the sofa cushions need constant fluffing to look nice? Does the material look flat with the lighting? Not only will you be posting photos online, but your guests will likely be taking photos as well. The more beautiful the space, the more likely they are to remember and spread the word about your gorgeous property. 

As an example, we avoid leather when staging homes. It’s cold in the winter, sticky in the summer, and causes throw pillows to slip rather than sit nicely. It also doesn’t photograph well, so despite being easily washable, it’s not worth the hassle and loss of comfort. 

Decorating a Rental Property 

Now that you’ve got the foundation of the property set with your furniture—it’s time to add the fun details. Styling and decorating rental properties is no different than styling for a magazine cover. You want to highlight the positive qualities and minimize any negatives. 

Decorations should be:

  • Useful 
  • Fun or quirky
  • Inexpensive
  • Homey 

Accessorizing is important to bring style and appeal to the home, but needs to focus on the guest. The best styling touches are items that are thoughtful, functional, and useful. Items like beautiful glassware, cups, bowls and other items that people will use can add a lot to enjoyment of the place—both visually and practically. When filling your walls, absolutely bring in some artwork, but keep it minimal. Pick pieces that are neutral, interesting, and inviting, and place them in a few key spots. 

Beauty on a budget.

Stick to inexpensive decorations. While guests are generally careful, accidents happen, and you don’t want to lose a priceless family heirloom just because it looked perfect on the coffee table. Pick accents that aren’t too precious to you but still bring class to the overall room. 

Cozy, not cluttered.

Remember that when it comes to decor, less is more. Shelves should look artful, not cluttered. Tables should look attractive, not crowded. You want enough to make the space feel inviting, cozy, and lived in, but not so many that the guests have to move accessories out of the way to be in and enjoy the space. Don’t pile so many throw pillows on a bed that your guests need to go on an excavation mission just to go to sleep. 

Don’t get us wrong—blankets and throws are wonderful to include, so long as they are easy to wash. For pillows, pick options that have removable inserts so they can be quickly wiped or dry cleaned. 

Keeping it green.

Plants add a generally inviting feeling to rental spaces and are easy to manage if you pick artificial ones. Find a few that look real enough to elevate your space and let your guests enjoy the green accents. If you feel more ambitious, live plants can radically transform your rental property and bring it to a whole new level. 

Lighting your Rental Property

Lighting is often overlooked when designing a rental property, but is a crucial part of your guests’ experience. Just think about it—when lights are too bright, or too dim, you can’t help but feel annoyed. And if there’s no way to change it? You might not even want to stay in that room anymore. 

In general, you want lighting to be:

  • Convenient
  • Flexible 
  • Functional 
  • Energy efficient 

Keep the overall property nice and bright, but not glaring or overwhelming. You want lights to be right where your guests would need them and as personalizable as possible. Dimmable options are a great choice for a rental property. 

The perfect spotlight.

When creating the perfect lighting experience for your guests, think function first. What kind of light will they need in different spaces? Bright light for a bathroom and kitchen work spaces, a lamp for a desk or other work surface, and dimmable lamps for a bedside table. You’ll likely want a standing lamp next to couches or other cozy reading areas as well. 

Take into consideration the size of the room. Does it require extra lights? Is there opportunity for a chandelier or lamps? Is there lots of natural light? You won’t need as much lighting in a room with lots of windows, and the lighting should match the natural ambiance. 

For each room, try to bring good ambiance and glow to the area. Use soft and warmth lighting in living rooms and bedrooms to create a cozy feeling. You don’t want a glaringly bright white light overhead in a bedroom. 

When placing lamps, think about traffic patterns. Avoid places where people could accidentally tip the lamp or where cords could create a tripping hazard. 

Light it up… efficiently.

The type of light is also important when creating the right feel for your space. Use a high lumen for spaces that require a brighter light such as a kitchen or an office. 

We recommend LED bulbs as they use less energy than regular bulbs. They offer many hours of light and require you to change them less, making them more cost effective in the end. No matter how careful you are about turning lights off when you’re not in the room, guests are a different story—so keep your energy bill friendly no matter if they forget to flick a switch or not. 

While keeping this all in mind, you want to keep your property as simple as possible. Lighting should enhance the experience but not be too overwhelming. Keep it personalizable and in the background. 

Furnished Rental Property Checklist

Depending on how you’re renting (whether you’re using an executive rental company, Airbnb, or doing it on your own) you will likely encounter checklists of essential items for a rental property. 

The gist of them all is that you need to include everything that a person would require for everyday living. Make sure you keep in mind the number of people who will be staying at the rental to determine how much of everything is required. For example, supply enough bed linens for each bed with a few to spare, enough towels for each guest, and enough dishes for everyone to eat at the same time.

You can find classic checklist items from Liftylife and Airbnb, so we won’t go into all of those. However, we’ve seen some items that are often forgotten in rental properties that really add a personalized and thoughtful experience for your guests. 

These extra touches could include:

  • A welcome basket (wine bottle, snacks, brochure for nearby activities and restaurant suggestions, monogrammed hand towel)
  • Bathrobes
  • Phone chargers at the desk and bed 
  • Fresh flowers
  • Clear instructions for wifi and any electronics 
  • Spices, herbs, oils, and seasonings in the kitchen
  • A simple to use, quality espresso maker and coffee
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and luxury soaps
  • Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, cleanser/makeup remover, moisturizer, shaving cream or gel)
  • Sunscreen 
  • Board games and cards 
  • Basic desk accessories at the work space
  • Bottled water
  • Non flammable candles
  • Flexible tables that can be moved around as needed
  • Good quality knives for the kitchen 

The key is to anticipate needs and fulfill them—every single one. Going above and beyond creates an experience that will surprise and delight your guests. If you can make your rental property feel like home (or even better than home), your guests will love staying there. 

Taking Beautiful Room Photos

This is one of the most important parts of all—getting those perfect shots so that your listing stands out online. Without a good online presence, you won’t get guests. Photos are absolutely key to making people fall in love with your space. 

Fortunately, getting good photos is relatively simple. Make sure your photos are:

  • Bright
  • High quality
  • Feature each room
  • Feel authentic 

The amount of rooms your property has will impact how many photos you take. In general, make sure there is at least one of every room and a few showing the exterior. If you have any special features, make sure to show them off. 

Cinderella’s best work.

Your place needs to be spotless. Make sure every surface has been scrubbed, the floor is vacuumed and mopped, and there’s no clutter. All your furniture should be arranged and neat—plump up any pillows, neatly fold blankets, and arrange any decorations so you can see their best side. Position a few strategic items, like towels and soap in the bathroom, and maybe some candles, so that your place looks ready to live in and not overly sterile. 

Highlight your best features.

You want as much light as possible. Take your photos during the day, and turn on the lights in each room so there aren’t any dark corners. Natural light will help enhance the depth, contrast, and colours of your property. You also want your guests to be able to see exactly how amazing your property is, and bright, clear views are going to pop beautifully online. 

Add some interest.

Shooting into a corner is a great way to add dimension to the photo. It will add perspective and make the room seem bigger, rather than shooting directly facing a wall which will make the room seem flat. Try to put the room’s most interesting feature in the centre of the photo. 

However, you don’t want to have the exact same setup and angle for every photo, as that will quickly get boring. Try a few different angles or feature specific items mixed in with the room shots to add interest. 

Break out the DSLR.

A good camera and tripod are your best friends. Your photos need to be crisp and high quality, with a minimum resolution of 1024 x 683px. If you’re shooting with your smartphone, make sure to have some sort of stand to keep your phone steady, and take photos horizontally. 

DEKORA Does it All 

And now for the best part. 

DEKORA can supply every item we’ve listed above, bring them to your property, take all the photos you need, and leave the place ready to move in for your next guest. 

If you live in a different city than your rental property, let us take care of the heavy lifting. We’ll create the perfect rental property, hitting every checklist item, and fill your property down to the last bathroom towel without you having to worry about any step of the process. Focus on making those bookings and let us create a beautiful space that’s ready to live in. 

Our expertise.

We know exactly what it takes to create a space that makes people fall in love at first sight—a home that’s inviting, practical, and comfortable. After all, we started in staging. We know the exact formula to create “the look” for optimized rental appeal online—that makes people want to move in and live comfortably. With our design experts and life skills, we’re found the perfect recipe of home design that looks good and functions well. 

So whether you’re starting an Airbnb, an out-of-town investor, an executive moving to a new city, partnering with an executive rental company, or something new, we offer white glove service to furnish and photograph your accommodations. 

Let’s enhance your property and watch the bookings start rolling in.