Over 118 million people in the United States are renters, and being able to seamlessly move from place to place is key to making these transitions easier. As people move for new jobs and work opportunities, family obligations, and university, the need for furnished housing has drastically increased, especially in big cities like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.

In this post, we’ll explain and provide a checklist for how to best furnish your property with home decor that makes your house feel like your tenants’ new home.

Why does furnishing and decorating your property matter?

Moving furniture isn’t fun. It’s stressful, time-consuming, and expensive. About 65% of people who rent are younger than 35 years old. Many renters are recent grads, students, and traveling professionals who may not own a lot of furniture or don’t want to spend the time or money moving it, especially if they’re living in a short-term rental.

Furnished rentals benefit property managers and owners, too. While there’s an initial upfront cost, furnished rentals can earn between 15–50% more than unfurnished rentals depending on the location and renters’ length of stay and amount of quality furniture.

Quick Tips for Furnishing Your Space

Before you start your quest for stylish comfort, remember these easy tips:

  • Keep it simple. Most of us are not interior designers, so stick to the basics. Pick a neutral color palette and add small pops of color. Want great ideas? Visit a local furniture store for ideas on how to pull pieces of furniture together.
  • Know your audience. If you’re mostly renting to students, interns, or young professionals, provide a dedicated workspace area with lighting and a desk. High-end furniture is not a true necessity.
  • Less is more. Every open space in your room or home doesn’t have to be filled with furniture pieces or things. Allowing open space gives the renter a chance to make your space their own.
  • Don’t blow your budget. Remember that you’re not purchasing new furniture to furnish your dream new home — you’re furnishing a space for many different renters. Find high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time at places like IKEA and HomeGoods. If you’re looking for unique pieces that also help you save money, cruise your local garage sales, flea markets, consignment and antique stores, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace for second hand finds that can help you avoid a splurge purchase.

Kitchen

Average room cost: $500

Light and airy kitchen with white cupboards
This kitchen highlights its light and airiness by focusing on one main color and using small pops of color in its decor.

For a lot of people, home is where your food is! It’s important to make sure that your future renters have everything they need. Not including major appliances, there are a few kitchen items that will make them feel like home.

Kitchen Basics

  • Dining set dishes including plates and bowls
  • Drinking glasses
  • Pots and pans: at least 1 large pot, 1 sauté pan, 1 frying pan, 1 mixing bowl. Ensembl’s stacking pots are great to save space and will last a lifetime. ($125)
  • Cutlery: forks, knives, spoons
  • Cooking utensils: spatula, grater, kitchen knives, can opener
  • Trash can
  • Microwave
  • Dining table

Living Room

Average room cost: $1500

Comfortable couch in simple living room
This space is meant to be lived in! Comfy pillows, inviting area rugs, and adequate seating guarantees a space where memories are made.

The key to creating a great experience in your living room is providing the pieces of furniture that will bring ultimate comfort and convenience to your tenants.

Living Room Basics

  • Seating (couches, love seats and/or chairs) that seat up to the maximum that the space sleeps
  • Blinds and/or curtains for windows
  • Table lamp and/or floor lamp
  • A TV stand or entertainment center
  • TV
  • Bookcases/Bookshelves
  • Coffee table
  • Side tables/end tables

Bathroom

Average room cost: $500

Bathroom with classic and neutral accents
These accents are not only classic and neutral, the decorations are provide a little fun without taking away from the available space in the room.

Sometimes the bathroom is overlooked as unimportant, but throughout a lifetime, the average person spends 1.5 years in the bathroom! This room (and the — ahem — experience in it) will play a role in how renters feel about your space. Make sure your bathroom is covered with the following basics:

Bathroom Basics

  • Shower curtain and liner
  • Trash can
  • Bath towels
  • Washcloths
  • Toilet Paper
  • Toilet Brush
  • Plunger
  • Rug

Bedroom

Average room cost: $1,500

Simple bedroom with accent colors
This bedroom does a great job of using "functional decorating". Every piece of furniture adds to the style while also providing a surface or storage.

If the kitchen is where people feel comforted and the living room is where they entertain, the bedroom is the place where your renters will relax and let go of the stresses of day to day life. Providing a space where renters will feel like they can destress and decompress will be vital for ensuring comfort.

Bedroom Basics

  • Bedroom furniture including mattress and boxspring
  • Bedframe
  • Bedroom set including: sheets, comforter, pillows, blankets
  • Bookcases/Bookshelves
  • Nightstand
  • Window treatments/Drapes (if applicable)
  • Lamp(s)
  • Hangers

Laundry Room

Average room cost: $1,500

Laundry room with tables on top of washer and dryer

An often-overlooked space, a washer and dryer, whether it’s in-unit or in-building, can make a huge difference for a renter and doesn’t require a lot of space to make it functional.

Laundry Room Basics

  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Iron/ironing board
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • Fabric softener sheets

Maintenance or Storage Closet

Average room cost: $500

Open closet with items stored in containers

Whether you’re hosting a tenant for an extended stay or short term rental, it’s normal to expect them to perform some everyday maintenance and cleaning in the space. To make this easy for your tenant, be sure to provide them with the materials and tools to do that.

Supply Closet Basics

  • Glass and kitchen spray
  • Mop and mop bucket
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Vacuum
  • Batteries
  • Simple toolkit (screwdriver, plier)
  • Step ladder
  • Extra lightbulbs
  • Air filters
  • First aid kit
  • Extra phone chargers

The key to hosting renters successfully is anticipating their needs during their stay. Furnishing your space doesn’t have to be hard or too expensive. By being conscious of your budget and looking at alternative ways to find your next furniture pieces, you’re on the right track to providing a space that’s classic, inviting, and functional. Small, thoughtful steps ensure a space that renters will be proud to call home.