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What colour should I paint the walls of my rental property?

If you are a new landlord or preparing a property to let, one of the questions you are bound to ask yourself is, "Should I paint the walls?

In most cases, the answer will be pretty obvious. A renovation will certainly need painting. New rentals or those at the end of a long-term tenancy will also need freshening up.

But a more pertinent question than, "Should I paint the walls?" is "What colour should I paint the walls?" This is a little harder to answer though there are some generally accepted guidelines you shouldn't ignore.

What you shouldn't do

The key is to remember you're not decorating for yourself. Forget your favourite colours and styles. You may enjoy purple walls and lime green skirting boards but not many others will. Especially your tenants. OK, that example is a little extreme but avoid bright colours. The idea is not to make a statement but to paint the walls in a functional colour which will suit everyone.

Boring magnolia

There are very good reasons why so many social housing landlords choose magnolia. Yes, it's boring. But it is neutral, inoffensive, and will suit any room. There are other shades of white or vanilla which are equally as acceptable. 

Why you should always use neutral colours

Apart from the neutral aspect of using this colour its suitability for any room is also important. Because you are using a single colour for all the rooms you can buy in bulk saving money and cutting down on waste. If you do need to repaint or touch up areas later on you only need to buy a single shade rather than lots of different colours. This again saves you money.

Don't use custom or specially mixed paints

Never use custom paint. No matter how tempting it is to create your own mix or to go the extra mile to wow your tenant. The cost of the paint is higher, the benefits negligible and it will be an awfully hard job to recreate the paint if you need to retouch in a year or two. Once again boring standard magnolia is more convenient and cheaper.

Use tough washable paint

Whether you rent to young singles or families the walls will take a pounding. Sticky fingerprints, marks and stains will all take a toll of your once pristine paint job. But you can delay the repainting cycle by using washable paint.

It is worthwhile paying the extra for washable paint. Make sure you tell your tenants that they are able to scrub away any marks. Good quality washable paint will last a long time saving you money in the long run as you won't need to redecorate so often.

Time to redecorate?

It may not be. If you have used washable paint and are between tenants or you just feel it is time to redecorate you may not have to repaint. You may be able to call in a professional cleaning firm which will wash the walls. This is cheaper and quicker than repainting and more convenient for the tenant as well as yourself.

DIY or call in the experts?

Unless you enjoy decorating and are very good at it may be wise to call in the professionals when it is time to paint your property. 

There are several reasons why you should bring in the pros. The first is that they will do a much better job than you. They will also do it faster, which means less time between lets or less inconvenience for your tenant. They will also be cleaner and won't splatter the new carpet with drops of paint. 

One of the big advantages of using professional painters is that they will do the job properly. They won't take the shortcuts we are all tempted to take. They will prepare the surfaces properly and this will ensure a better and longer lasting job. Again, in the long run, a team of professional painters will save you time, effort and money.

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