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How to maximise space in your rental property

For most people renting a property in London, compact living spaces are an unavoidable reality as a huge shortage of accommodation and protected land means less square feet for developers to work with. However, it’s a small price to pay for living in one of the greatest cities in the world. While this might prove to be challenging for some, it’s not impossible to transform a small and uninspiring living space into a snug and cosy haven through some simple space-saving solutions.

A perfect balance of practicality and aesthetic appeal is essential to creating a stylish and versatile rental property. In the competitive rental market you have to make sure your property stands out among others. While this may mean additional spend on furnishings and accessories, 91% of our applicants enquire for furnished homes and we always advise our clients not to compromise.

Presenting your rental property well helps your property let quickly at an optimum rental, not to mention that it also attracts good quality tenants and helps minimise void periods. To start, it’s important to have an understanding of your tenant’s needs in order to create a practical yet inviting space that works for them.

Planning your living space

Map out the floorplan and clearly define how you would like to utilise the space to its maximum potential. Keep an open mind and don’t hesitate to completely reconfigure the existing layout of the room. Never alter a room to make a piece of furniture work, always select furniture that works for the available space. Have a theme in mind, and whether you want to go contemporary or traditional, try to stay consistent to the theme.

 

Minimalism

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Remember, clutter is your enemy and can make a small space appear even more claustrophobic. The adage ‘less is more’ has never been more true than in the battle against clutter. The trick is to reorganise and disguise clutter through clever storage. Don’t hesitate to get rid of things that aren’t necessary. Resist the temptation to buy large furniture pieces which can feel quite overwhelming and make the room appear smaller than it actually is. If your ceiling height is quite low, keep the furniture low also, such as a low coffee table or sofa, which can create a perception of more height. Also using technology that incorporates Bluetooth or Wi-Fi gets rid of unnecessary wires and cabling.

 

Think neutral

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There’s nothing like crisp white décor to lend a bright and airy touch to a living space. You can always add accents of vibrant colour to infuse personality by introducing colourful cushions and accessories. It’s important to choose a dominant colour and use accent colours to complement. If white décor makes the room feel slightly cold and uninviting, add other soft neutral shades which are popular with tenants including beiges, greys, taupes and pastel shades of blues.

 

Mirror, mirror on the wall

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Strategically placed mirrors are the most popular and easy way to create the illusion of space. By reflecting light, they add more depth to the room. Preferably choose mirrors with lightweight frames. Creating a stylish mirror wall can also serve as a focal point, while almost doubling the perceived size of the room. Positioning a mirror opposite a window is a useful way to reflect natural light. Invest in mirrored furniture or glass/metallic accessories which are a chic way to bounce light around the room, creating a welcoming space.

 

Smart storage

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We advise our landlords to invest in multi-purpose savvy storage solutions. Shelving that doubles up as wall decoration or floor-to-ceiling shelving can draw the eye away from the floor and towards the ceiling creating the impression of more height. Underbed storage is a no-brainer for small spaces and the handy ottoman can serve as a coffee table or seating. As opposed to large free-standing pieces, adopt the use of concealed storage that seems to appear out of nowhere.

 

It’s all about light

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Natural light is the most organic way to inject life and energy into a confined space, and can completely transform property presentation. Avoid using thick, dark curtains which block natural light and take up valuable space, instead use white translucent curtains or window blinds. When dressing windows in bedrooms, be sure to include blackout curtains or blinds as these are a must for getting good rest at night. Replace chunky or old-fashioned light fittings that take up space with recessed ambient lighting that tenants can control to create the mood that suits them.

 

Keep it stylish

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Remember, a smaller property doesn’t mean you need to compromise on style, particularly if you wish to cater to young professionals or students who prefer a well-designed small space over a larger less stylish space. A breakfast bar with stools is a great space saving solution if your kitchen isn’t big enough for a dining table. Some breakfast bars have concealed storage which is convenient for storage of kitchenware.

 

Create distractions

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An attractive feature wall, bold painting or a statement piece of furniture or artwork become focal points of the room and distract attention away from the size of the room. With small spaces, don’t make the contrast too dark as this constricts space and makes a room look smaller. Geometric patterns are on trend and can serve to create more depth; horizontal stripes can widen a room while vertical stripes create the impression of more height. Be careful though, keep it subtle otherwise you may turn prospective tenants off at first viewing!

As experienced agents, we know what tenants are looking for and we provide a comprehensive furnishings package service for landlords. We also handle refurbishment projects on behalf of property investors. All of our workforce are in-house so you can be assured of the best quality and continuity of service. Contact your nearest branch for more information.
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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 19 prominently located branches and 8 international offices.

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