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Choosing Art for your Buy-To-Let property

Envie d'Art, Corinne Dalle Ore, London
“London” by Corinne Dalle Ore. Acrylic and collages on canvas. 120 x 100cm. £3,500 at Envie d’Art

Sourcing, purchasing and installing art are creative endeavours which require an element of planning, especially when you are selecting pieces for your buy-to-let property. With London’s Affordable Art Fair being held in Battersea from the 12th of March, we look at the best investments for landlords when choosing those works of art.

Art adds value

Whether you are a true art ‘aficionado’ or not, when it comes to furnishing a rental property, there are many practical ways you can ensure your paintings, prints and sculptures add value to your property. With this in mind, we show how the four elements of context, colour, location and lighting can be easily and cost-effectively managed throughout the home-staging process, each helping you to attract the right tenant for your property.

Keep calm and stay in context

Unless it’s a deliberate shock tactic, art shouldn’t dominate the room or clash with its intended setting. A calm, relaxing print is ideal for a bedroom but a vibrant ceiling mural is liable to keep your tenants awake at night. Likewise, if the kitchen is full of hi-tech stainless steel, a rustic watercolour will not be the best match. With fluctuating temperatures in a kitchen, a framed print is probably a safer and more robust option. And, just because it’s a kitchen, please don’t feel

Eyestorm, Jacky Tsai, Lotus Play
“Lotus Play (Shanghai Tang series)” Jacky
Tsai. Screenprint. 73 x 73cm. Edition of 60.
£600 at Eyestorm

like you have to adorn the walls with obligatory pictures of fruit and vegetables!

Your property may contain colour schemes which co-ordinate with a particular painting but try not to match them too closely – tenants don’t want to live in an apartment designed by computer software so go for contrast where possible.

Location, location, illumination

Big picture windows can lessen the impact of even the most striking piece and it’s best to keep the two as far away from each other as possible. Smaller pieces can be grouped together in order to make a bigger statement and the angle at which natural light enters a room is also crucial: there’s nothing worse than getting everything just right, only to see it vanish in a blaze of reflected sunlight for the majority of the day. Small and discreet picture lights can really bring paintings to life and our in-house design experts recommend the light fittings are in keeping with the overall style of each room.

Plan ahead

Lime Tree Gallery, Peter Wileman, Bosham
“Bosham” by Peter Wileman. Oil. 30 x 30cm. £1,600 at Lime Tree Gallery

If you are decorating your buy-to-let property without the assistance of interior designers or refurbishment specialists, we’d suggest putting together a simple mood board when planning each room. We find most people have a particular sense of style which commonly translates throughout their artwork, soft furnishings and furniture choices. To have a well-planned strategy and ‘shopping list’ when attending an event such as the Affordable Art Fair can pay dividends long-term.

Add the wow factor

Most corporate tenants renting a property in London are used to living in stylish homes which contain pieces carefully selected to accentuate the interior design. Our best advice would be to go for pieces which add to the setting, rather than detract from the overall surroundings. If you have a large wall to decorate, smaller, bolder artworks can have the same impact as one larger piece. Whichever you choose, you’re aiming to purchase something that has the wow factor that your tenants will recognise and appreciate.

Keep your budget in mind

Outline Editions, Malika Favre, Route 78
“Route 78” by Malika Favre. Limited edition print. 50 x 70cm. Edition of 80. £150 at Outline Editions

Even though you may have fallen in love with a piece by the next Damien Hirst, it’s worth keeping an eye on your budget versus your potential rental yield. Whatever your budget, the aim is to enhance your property that certain wow factor.

Of course, none of us can second-guess tenants’ individual tastes so please do consider removing a piece if the tenant so requires.

Ready-made packages

If the thought of buying art for a rental property seems too daunting, help is at hand. There are a variety of furnishing packages that are designed to co-ordinate the overall look of a room, from what hangs on your wall to what sits on the floor. These packages provide simple solutions that appeal to a wide range of tenants and if you prefer this option, we can help. Call us on 020 7319 9780 or email us for more information.

If you’re planning to make a foray into the world of art, tweet us at @brletsUK; we’d love to see your chosen masterpieces!

Our thanks to The Affordable Art Fair for providing the imagery on this page.


About the Author

Established in 1958, Benham and Reeves is one of London’s oldest, independently owned property lettings and sales agents.  With specialism in residential sales, corporate lettings and property management in prime areas of London, the company operates from 21 prominently located branches and 14 international offices.