The market for furnished flats has changed. Years ago, nearly all apartments rented out easily. There were fewer on the market and tenants had to make do with practical solutions.
This has now changed. Nowadays tenants have the choice. And they go for more stylish and modern flats. The typical holiday let with inexpensive and boring standard furnishings is an outdated model.
Here are 10 tips for owners to make sure they avoid the worst mistakes when furnishing an apartment.
Plants are not an ideal decoration choice for a furnished apartment. There are exceptions to this rule though but only if the plant is part of the design.
It is better to rent out an apartment without living plants. A collection of potted plants does not look very modern. Tenants are also not too keen on looking after the plants. Spare yourself the trouble of arguing with the tenant at the end, when the tenants move out. There are better ways of decorating apartments.
Oriental carpets used to be popular – and very expensive – perhaps some 20 or 30 years ago. Today, oriental carpets are not fashionable any more. In our experience, some apartments do not rent out because of the carpet. This is the feedback we get from tenants.
There are new, modern versions of the typical Persian carpet on the market now. The colours are different and so are the patterns. These are okay but the classical oriental carpets should be avoided. Owners should always remember that the target group for furnished flats are working professionals who come to work in Berlin. Most of them are between 25 and 50 and they prefer modern furniture.
Even the aparment in the above photo which is expensively furnished and not overpriced, is not everybody’s favourite.
Shelves are not ideal for furnished apartments. Wardrobes, cupboards – everything that helps storing items, is much better. Nobody brings a library with them when they move into a temporary, furnished apartment. Storing items in shelves just does not look very good. You always see them because they are not packed away. Go for clean chic and be better off choosing a wardrobe or a chest of drawers!
Too many Books
You already have shelves in your apartment and you don’t want to throw them away? Then you should be careful not to leave too many books. Tenants are not necessarily interested in reading old books. Especially if they are a bit dusty as it does not look stylish either.
Cheap IKEA Furniture
Generally speaking, IKEA furniture is totally okay – or at least some IKEA furniture. But you should be careful not to buy only the cheapest stuff. If you are familiar with all the names of your IKEA furniture, chances are that you only bought the basic and not so stylish items à la Malm, Billy, Lack, Ivar…to name a few!
It is best to match IKEA furnishings (like Pax) with other, slightly more upscale furnishings. This way, your apartment won’t look like a cheap holiday let.
Second Hand Furniture
Buy new furniture. It is an investment that certainly pays off. That ‘vintage touch’ can’t always be pulled off. If you mix a few items from the 60’s, or 70’s with modern furnishings, the decor should be fine. Nobody would say no to an old Eames or Panton Chair. Mixing too many old pieces of furniture with the new might not be successful on the market. Tenants prefer a new and clean style.
Beware! You can ruin a good design concept with the wrong pictures – or even with one ugly picture! The next time you see a bargain at IKEA, please don’t buy it. There are enough holiday lets with not very tasteful tourist sights like Brandenburger Tor that are already on the market. Needless to say – these flats are not popular with good tenants. Agencies are not allowed to rent out to tourists any more, only to people who come to work in Berlin.
On holidays, you might ignore such pictures. But if you live in an apartment for a longer period of time, you just don’t want to see “Sunset at the Brandenburger Gate” day in day out.
Sofa bed instead of real Bed
Unless your apartment is very, very small, please always buy a bed instead of a sofa bed. Apartments with sofa beds are harder to rent out. A good bed with a good mattress (!) is the most important piece of furniture in any rental apartment. Very few tenant will go out of their way to put away the bedding each morning and transform the bed back into a sofa.
Sofa beds are only suitable for the occassional visitor.
Clothes Stand instead of a Wardrobe
Owners should always remember that tenants come to Berlin for work reasons. They are therefore going to have to dress appropriately on a daily basis. For them, a clothes stand is not a substitute for a wardrobe. They have to store their cases, winter coats and other such possessions. Even if there is not a lot of space in your apartment, a real wardrobe is always a must.
Personal Belongings of the Owner
The personal belongings of the owners should not be left in the apartment. If the owner wants to rent out an apartment while he/she is away and it is not possible to remove everything from the actual owner, there might still be the option to put personal stuff into one room and have it locked. Alternatively the rent may need to come down.