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September 19, 2019 – Published in Design & Decor Autumn 2019 issue

5 ways to get the most out of your short-let rental property

Words Justine Bartolo

It seems like we’ve moved on from the days of hotel bookings alone. Nowadays anyone with a second property can make a good earning through letting it out in a most convenient and almost instantaneous way.


Due to the ease of international travel and experiences abroad becoming so much more attainable, rental properties have definitely been on the increase, both in Malta and overseas.
High demand has caused high supply and now we are left with a lot of competition between different spaces offering almost the same thing.


So at this point you may be wondering, how can I beat the competition and differentiate my property to my neighbour’s. Well here are 5 tips explaining how this can be done whilst staying on a budget. All it will take is a bit of planning and a lot of creativity!

1. Decide on a design style & stick to it

There are endless benefits to planning of any kind, and this is no different when it comes to the design style of your rental property. Your design style will base heavily on your target audience, so firstly you will definitely need to know who you are most likely to rent your space to, then decide what kind of design style suits that person.


Another thing to consider when choosing the property style is the property itself. Is it big or small? Lots of natural light or needs a pick me up? These are all important elements that will determine the best design style for your rental and bring out the best in your property.

2. Create focal points

Help your property stand out by creating focal points in each room. This could be anything from a large piece of quirky art to an interesting light fitting. These focal points give the viewer a place to look and appreciate, as well as adding depth and character to each space.


Focal points also make your property more interesting. When it comes to short lets your audience may be more open to enjoy something with a difference rather than a typical space they can live in any day of the week.

3. Layer your lighting

Lighting has always been one of the most crucial elements in interior design. No matter how stunning the space, if the lighting isn’t up to par, it can create a space that looks dark and unwelcoming. The wrong lighting casts shadows and makes everything look dull and uninviting, therefore always make sure to play with light well to increase the flexibility of lighting in the property.


If you are at the stage where you can install dimmer switches that will definitely be a plus as allows the tenant to decide on the degree of lighting required for any given task or activity.
On top of functionality there is also the aesthetic to consider regarding lighting. Playing with different heights of lighting is fun and creates a more welcoming effect, therefore definitely consider wall lighting, ceiling lights, floor and table lamps. What’s more is that the actual light fitting can be a design focal point in itself.


4. Have a USP (Unique Selling Point)

Doing a little research to check out what the rest of the world are doing with their rentals will definitely only end up in more educated decisions, so I would definitely hit the web and check out images of unique properties around for short-lets.


When people travel, they are usually more relaxed and are looking for a space to unwind, but one that is also something different to what they have back home. So creating a USP is a good way of attracting more attention to your property and giving you a larger slice of the market than your competitor.


So at this point you’re probably thinking ‘Great, this makes sense, but how do I do it?’
This is the tricky part as your USP is something subjective and highly dependent on a number of factors, such as your budget, design style, locality and property.


But the general idea is to create a space or environment that is in some way unique to your competition, just so that the viewer will choose your property over others. A few ideas could be anything from a sauna to a mirrored ceiling, stained glass to a black kitchen with a brass splashback. What ever it is, it just needs to stand out and give that something extra that will make heads turn!

5. Create an experience

Finally, yet definitely not last on the priority list, is to create an experience, rather than just a space. By this I mean adding the final touches that mean going that extra mile for your tenant. This could include, but not be limited to, fresh flowers, instructions as well as a cultural to-do list explaining the best bars, restaurants and activities within the area. Transportation tips are also very helpful.

Taking notes from hotels you visit could also come in handy. Details such as chocolate on the pillow cases, a scented space and if you want to take it further even a visitor journal, where each tenant gets to leave their own note in a special book. The options are endless, but as long as you keep your target audience in mind you shouldn’t go wrong.

For more information about design and sustainability, like my Facebook page Lillie Helena

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