How to Furnish the Perfect Rental Property

July 26th, 2016

How to furnish a rental property for tenants

If you’re a landlord, you’ll know that there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to how you present and market your property. Part of this, of course, is whether or not you furnish it – and if you do, in what way.

This special guest post provides some ideas on how to furnish your rental property so that it’s the perfect combination of functional, attractive and a wise investment on your part.

First – take a look at your rental property and consider its location

Have you bought a residential flat on a site (such as the kind developed by the First Urban Group) within commuting distance of a major city? In that case, it’s quite likely that your potential tenants are going to be young professionals.

On the other hand, if your rental property is a home in a suburban area with links to schools, shops and amenities, it might appeal to families, couples and students.

You’ll need to know who you’re marketing it to, as the demographic will determine how you furnish a property.

For instance, a young professional is probably going to want functional, modern furniture that looks the part: leather look sofas, white walls and a flat screen television are must-haves.

On the other hand, families might expect to see a cosy living area, adequate storage for all their belongings and a well-equipped kitchen.

Second – don’t spend too much money

Tips and ideas for furnishing a rental property ready for tenants to move in

Most tenants will be respectful of your furniture, but there’s always the risk that something will get broken, damaged or stolen.

In fact, just general wear and tear is to be expected, so invest in items that are robust enough for renters but not so expensive that it’ll cost you too much when things need replacing.

Shops like IKEA offer good quality furniture without breaking the bank, and they’ll also be modern enough in design to make your rental look attractive to a wide range of people.

Third – don’t add anything of sentimental value

How to furnish a rental property

Similarly to the point above, be mindful of the fact that you’ll be losing control over the contents of your rental property once you let it to tenants.

So, if there’s anything of sentimental value to you, remove it from the property before you let anyone move in. It could get lost or damaged, and while you’ll have home and contents insurance, your precious belongings are going to be priceless and impossible to replace.

Fourth – be open to change

With more and more people renting in the long term, landlords are going to need to be flexible about tenants needing more control over furniture.

Many tenants will want to make the property feel like their home if they’re staying for a long time, so be open-minded about swapping some of your furniture for theirs.

If your tenants ask to move their own sofa in, for example, consider storing yours in cheap self-storage until you’re able to find another permanent home for it.

Just be sure to update your inventory whenever you move furniture in or out of the property, ensuring that tenants stay responsible for keeping items in good repair.

(All images courtesy of Pixabay) 

Product review: Stewart Garden Essentials Planter

July 25th, 2016

The mixture of heat and rain this summer is making my garden behave like Day of the Triffids, and new plants are growing faster than I can look after them. This means I’m particularly interested in gardening paraphernalia at the moment, so I was pleased to be asked to try out the essential planter from Stewart Garden.

About the product

Stewart Garden says: “Add a touch of style to your garden with one of our beautiful Essentials Planters. Perfect for floral displays, bedding plants and growing herbs, they bring character to patios, decking or even the kitchen windowsill. Made from top quality plastic, Stewart products are designed to protect your plants whatever the weather.”

Features include: available in three different sizes: 27cm / 33cm / 39cm and nine colours: cornflower blue / mocha /terracotta / lavender / cherry red / dark green / pistachio / light blue / black. Recyclable.

Long-lasting: lightweight, frost-proof, shockproof and UV resistant.

Prices range from £2.99 for the 5l (27cm) size, to £3.99 for the 9l (33cm) size and £4.99 for the 14l (39cm) size. Made in the UK.

What I thought of the Stewart Garden Essentials Planter

27cm essential planter from Stewart Garden, RRP £2.99

To start with, I have to confess I’m not a big fan of plastic planters – I prefer good old terracotta.

However, plastic definitely has its advantages and weight and durability are two of them – I have to replace some of my terracotta pots every couple of years due to frost damage.

I thought this planter was great value for money, in fact cheap as chips at just £2.99 for my 27cm version in cornflower blue. This size was large enough to hold a large dahlia easily, and the plant remained comfortable in July’s very hot weather while one or two of my plants in terracotta pots started to suffer a bit.

Underneath of pot

The good bits

Value, obviously. I liked the colour range, as well – you could create an instant rainbow, even in the winter.

These pots would be great if you had young children who were interested in starting to garden, as they’re shatterproof and very light.. Avoid arguments by assigning each child their own colour of pot!

You could also have some fun decorating these with permanent markers. They’d also be useful for serious gardeners for colour-coding plants – for example to keep different seeds separate, or for plants at different stages of potting out.

The size range was another bonus, as you can create a display by mixing and matching. The light weight means they’d be easy to store – my terracotta pots have to sit on the floor, but these would live happily on a shelf or in a cupboard.

I also liked the fact that these were made in the UK – in Oxfordshire, in fact – and were recyclable.

Inside of pot

The not-so-good bits

The pot came without drainage holes, which may or may not be a problem!

Holes can be added by drilling if necessary. For me, this would be a problem as I’d use my pots for planting out, and I think I’d find drilling each one a bit of a pain. I can see why the holes haven’t been added automatically, though – it means you can use them inside as plant holders, and also use them for other things such as holding tools.

Instant garden colour


I’m afraid I’m still not a convert to plastic pots – but if that’s what you’re looking for, which many people are for reasons of practicality and budget, I think these can’t be beaten for choice and value.

Reviewed by Sara Walker 

(Disclosure: A planter was provided for the purpose of this review, but all views and opinions are genuine and honest).


Five key style looks to create with garden furniture

July 18th, 2016

The sun is out, the temperature is up and summer is finally here – hurrah! Whether you’ve got a tiny deck, large patio or sprawling lawn, there are plenty of ways you can make use of your outdoor space for dining, lounging, entertaining and relaxing.

Here are five different looks that you can create in your garden using affordable contemporary garden furniture sets from Homebase.

The boutique hotel terrace look

Contemporary rattan furniture helps create the boutique hotel terrace look

Dreaming of creating the style of furniture often found on the terraces of stylish boutique hotels? Thanks to an increasing range of excellent garden furniture ranges, and dropping prices, it’s now much more achievable.

Think chunky rattan dark brown cube chairs, with contrasting cream padded cushions for comfort, teamed with a matching cream and dark brown wooden parasol.

As well as looking the part, the contemporary furniture offers somewhere to unwind with a tea in hand, and catch the last few rays of the warmth of the sun. A place to sit with friends for coffee, or read the weekend papers. A little spot of boutique style luxury in the quiet solitude of your garden.

Product idea: Mali eight seater transformer cube rattan effect garden furniture set. £249.96.

The vibrant Mediterranean look

Warm red accessories teamed with wooden garden furniture helps create a Mediterranean feel

Create your very own bit of the Mediterranean back home in your garden with furniture and accessories in hot, vibrant shades. Bright reds, fruity oranges bright pinks look lush against the fresh greens of the garden.

Think lively colours and patterned prints in warm inviting colours. A round table for sociable dining, teamed with a colourful parasol and matching seat cushions bring life to brown wooden furniture and help create the Mediterranean feel.

Product idea: The Almeria six seater round wooden garden furniture set. £299.87.

The minimal romantic look

Minimal romantic style metal garden furniture

Bring a touch of minimal romance to a bijou balcony, petite patio or dinky deck with the use of slimline metal furniture.

Slimline chairs, accompanied by a small round table, provide ample space to enjoy a glass of wine outside after a long hard day at work. Ornate features add a decorative touch to the chairs, plus they’re easier to move around if you fancy a change of scene.

Pink roses cascading over a wooden archway would look right at home with this style of furniture. Patio planters with roses, or other scented floral blooms, would work just as well.

Product idea: The Romance four seater metal garden furniture set in fresh white or minty pastel green. £299.99.

The classic elegance look

Create a classic elegant look in your garden with Lucca designer garden furniture

Whether you’re seeking comfortable designer style seating for drinks on the patio, or comfortable seats for a weekend barbecue party, the classic elegance look never fails.

Think chairs that are designed above the norm, with an elegant pattern on the back reminiscent of designer chairs. But whilst designer might equate with not so comfy in some circles, these are definitely designed with comfort in mind.

Soft padded seat and back cushions add an extra air of comfort and make sitting around the large table chatting away for hours an enjoyable experience.

Product idea: The Lucca six seater rectangular metal garden furniture set.  £349.97.

The cosy coffee corner look

Contemporary rattan garden furniture for coffee in comfort

If you love the idea of relaxing in your garden with a cup of coffee, on your own for a few minutes of peace, or with a friend or loved one, then a cosy corner could provide the perfect haven.

Relaxed laid-back seating provides the perfect pairing for this seating style. Think contemporary rattan style furniture with comfy cushions. A small  matching side table will provide ample space for coffee mugs or cups, and perhaps a plate of biscuits.

Product idea: The Charles Bentley brown rattan three piece stacking garden furniture set. £279.99.

(Disclosure: This is a collaborative post)


Fab Friday Bargains: Homeware and furniture sale buys

July 15th, 2016


Furnish your home for less, by buying homeware and furniture in the sales

With the summer sales in full swing, and many reducing things even further, there are some good buys to be had in terms of homeware and furniture.

Here are some of the top buys we’ve spotted in the sales this week.

Top row, from left to right: 

Pale jade Coco chair – now £320 (was £575) from Oliver Bonas

Umbra Stack large two tier dish drainer rack – now £19.99 (was £34.95) fromLakeland

Iris twist glass lamp base – now £30 (was £60) at John Lewis


Middle row, from left to right:

Ship and whale bookends – now £9 (was £19.50) from M&S

Bread ‘n’ Flutter set of four chicken design side plates – now £14.95 (was £36.95) from Joules

Hadley striped bedding set – now from £14 at M&S


Bottom row, from left to right:

J by Jasper Conran designer stainless steel wine cooler – now £16.80 (was £24) at Debenhams

Studio drinks trolley – now £135 (was £275) at Oliver Bonas

Ro Palm orangery stool – now £96 (was £160) at Oliver Bonas

Pastel walls: My Secret Garden wallpaper by Majvillan

July 13th, 2016

Gorgeous pastel wallpaper designs, from the My Secret Garden collection by Swedish company Majivillan.

Love decor in soft shades of pastel? This wallpaper collection by Swedish company, Majvillan, could be perfect for you!

The My Secret Garden collection of wallpaper is designed by Charlotta Sandberg and features a range of designs. From whimsical birds and cute deer, to trailing florals, geometric patterns and stylised damask, there’s something in here to appeal to a variety of design tastes.

Sweet cotton trailing blooms wallpaper by Swedish company Majvillan

Each design is available in a range of colour combinations. The Sweet Cotton design looks lovely in soft blue.

Alice grey geometric design wallpaper from Majvillan

The Alice geometric print is a great contemporary design and works really well in soft grey.

Tomoko pink wallpaper by Majvillan would work well in a kid's bedroom

The designs are suitable for a range of uses. The pink and orange Tomoko, for example, is a fresh and bright print that could be effectively used to decorate the walls in a child’s bedroom.

Lovely yellow Estelle design Swedish wallpaper from Majvillan

And the cheery yellow of the Estelle print would be an ideal welcoming colour to have on the wall in a hall or entrance way.

The My Secret Garden wallpaper collection is in stock at Wallpaper Direct.




Fresh Design Guide: Industrial style interior design

July 11th, 2016

Ideal for modern, open plan living spaces or for adding a contemporary twist, the industrial interior design look is all about clever exposure of raw building materials.

The look works by mixing different styles and textures, and juxtaposing sleek with unfinished.

You can ‘go the whole hog’ with exposed pipework, brick walls and concrete floors, or just add some key industrial-inspired pieces to your existing décor.

Retain original features

If you live in a building that’s been converted from another use, such as a factory or mill, then this look is custom made for you.

If you’ve inherited any original features like heating pipes and ducts, brickwork or original doorways, then showcase them rather than hiding them. This not only helps preserve the building’s identity but creates a unique, clean look that’s perfect for modern living.

That doesn’t mean you have to keep every original element, but retaining a few key features will help to create the look.

Exposed pipes can make a ceiling look fussy, so keep paintwork to a plain, pale colour to help them stand out without dominating.

Leave areas of exposed brickwork to help create the look. Image: Pixabay

Source metal doors and windows

Doors and windows with metal fittings will help to create an industrial look.

Look for original office doors at reclamation yards that have metal ‘kick strips’ at the bottom, plain stainless steel handles and push plates; plus windows with metal latches.

If you can’t find anything suitable, keep doors as plain as possible and add your own push plates and handles for a clean look.

Opt for raw industrial floors

The industrial look is all about raw materials, so for floors concentrate on wood, stone, polished concrete or tiles. Keep colours neutral, for example paint concrete floors grey and add colour with bright cotton rugs.

These vintage office chairs are full of character and add an industrial note to a domestic setting. Image: Pixabay

Find industrial style furniture

If you don’t live in an original industrial building, you can still create the look as much or as little as you want to.

For furniture, there are two options, both eco-friendly!

You can ‘re-purpose’ original office and industrial items such as filing cabinets, desks, desk lamps and shelving units.

Look for the best quality you can find, and avoid cheap modern items – vintage office furniture from the 1950s and 1960s is often beautifully made and looks good when mixed with other pieces in a domestic setting.

Re-purpose industrial furniture for your home. Image: Pixabay

Alternatively, seek out artisans who make new items from industrial materials.

For example, cushions made from old flour sacks, tables made from cable reels or bookshelves made with old scaffolding poles will all help to create an industrial look and feel.

Many manufacturers also make pieces that are ‘industrial inspired’ – in particular, chairs, tables and bar stools.

Choose functional lighting

Lighting should look functional rather than decorative, so to keep the effect from being too harsh use lamps rather than too much overhead lighting. Original or reproduction enamel hanging lights are ideal for areas where you need more light, such as kitchens.

Get the industrial look in your home

Keen to create the industrial look in your home? There are plenty of places where you can find excellent examples of industrial style furniture and decor.

Here are six ideas to get you started.

1. Industrial metal wall storage, Vincent and Barn

Reproduction industrial wall cabinets, £110

This reproduction industrial style wall unit with a lacquered metal finish looks like it’s straight out of a factory locker room. It’s ideal for a busy family life, as a few knocks and scratches will actually improve it! £110 from Vincent and Barn.

2. Industrial grey coffee table, Alexander & Pearl

Lovely Industrial style coffee table, £280

An industrial chic coffee table featuring a wooden trestle style base with grey painted rectangular resin table top which would look great in any loft-style setting. Was £325 now £280 from Alexander & Pearl.

3. Industrial pendant light in copper,

Gorgeous copper Industrial pendant light, from £130

Perfect for adding a vintage note, this industrial-style light comes in a choice of nine colours and three sizes. Ideal for installing above a dining table or kitchen counter, it’s handmade from metal and costs from £130 from

4. Industrial metal storage unit, Primrose & Plum

Useful industrial style metal wall storage unit that would work in so many rooms.

This industrial style metal wall unit is so versatile. Use it in a study to store your desk essentials and memos, keep it in your hallway as somewhere to pop keys or umbrellas, or use it in your kitchen. It’s only £45 from Primrose & Plum.

5. Concrete design wallpaper, Lime Lace

Very realistic looking concrete design wallpaper

Want to create authentic looking wall features? Concrete design wallpaper is the perfect option. This one is by Dutch designer Piet Boon and looks very realistic. £199 from Lime Lace.

6. Industrial pipe hook, Industrial By Design

Unusual handmade industrial style coat hook or jewellery hanger

Lovingly made to order, these industrial steel pipe hooks are perfect for hanging coats and scarves on, or using as a nifty jewellery hanger. They can even custom make them to your own specifications. £29 from Industrial By Design.


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