How Interior Design can Help Attract Apartment Prospects

How Interior Design can Help Attract Apartment Prospects


Multifamily housing providers have an opportunity to be a Picasso and use apartments to create a masterpiece that anyone can appreciate.

Today’s consumer preferences for simplified designs are providing the backdrop for apartment interior design that appeals to ranges of prospects, without requiring a big budget. Sarah Fishburne, Director of Trend and Design for Home Depot, says ornate finishes and brilliant colors are not as appealing as they once were. Warmer Taupes, gray undertones, and whites are more pleasing color palettes, and recessed doors and cabinets are in demand.

Using Design to Appeal to Apartment Prospects

Together, the style trends enable apartments a way to create appealing interiors which keep costs down and charm a broader demographic of renters. That could mean fewer turnoffs when trying to sell a new lease.

“We’re seeing consumers wanting to live in a more simplified existence, and this really does transpire great for property management because it is something that can appeal to so many different tastes,” Fishburne said. “As a property manager, you have so many different lifestyles (of residents) coming in and you want a style that is going to appeal to the most people.”

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Consumers want living spaces that are calm and cool

Fishburne has witnessed a change in consumer tastes for living spaces that are calm and cool, no matter the type or grade of housing, even down to flooring materials. The classic, tonal layering of products is elevating design all over the country, not just on the coasts where fashion and design are deeply embedded, Fishburne says.

“We’re seeing a huge shift to going into a more rectangular tile, even going into plank tile,” Fishburne said. “It can be used throughout the property, it can be in the kitchen and taken through the bathrooms, even up the wall. That will make it feel more up to date and fresh.”

The design makes a statement the moment a visitor enters the room. Simple design techniques like laying tile vertically as opposed to horizontally offer a different feel and further define the living space, Fishburne said. A vertical pattern adds a greater dimension to the room than one that’s horizontal.

“A lot of times in design, it’s even how you lay it from where you’re walking in,” she said. “If you’re coming in the front door, you turn it horizontal and it kind of defines the space. But if you want to be one that opens up into the room, you would want to turn it vertical. You can use those rules of thumb in kitchen space as well as a bathroom.”

Running the same color and type of tile up walls adds simplicity beyond where the tile stops on the floor and provides another dimension to wall finishing that doesn’t require a lot of cutting and planning.

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Less sophisticated design easier on the pocket book

Fishburne said that adding slight variations can elevate the feel of the room without great expense.

Simplified shaker cabinets or recessed doors don’t cost as much as a raised panel door, even with some of the millwork that contributes to the cleaner design.

“You don’t have all this added detail, so you are saving money,” Fishburne said. “It’s great because you’re getting a lot of credit for it. The customers are trending, this is what appeals to them. I think any time it feels familiar, people can resonate with it. There is something very personal to a style.”

The light, airy style also serves as a versatile baseline that residents can work from to add personal touches without the property management company having to make expensive investments for model units.

“(Prospects) feel like they have endless opportunities to style it my way with my furniture and my art,” Fishburne said. “Instead of customizing a unit to a renter’s particular taste, refreshing a neutral design is a very easy flip to make when someone leaves.  It’s more difficult to rent a unit that’s very dark and polarizing, that’s not what you want.”

For example, selectively mixing tile colors from the same color palette or choosing a diamond pattern in a Taupe carpet suggests a feel more special than a cut or loop.

“Sometimes you stay with mutual palettes that elevate the different pattern and you get a lot of credit for that because you’re not going to turn off anyone. It feels very high-end, it feels like when you would go into a custom home, not something like you’ll be renting.”

Fishburne says quartz countertops are also fast becoming a favorite. They are durable and more luxurious than granite, and lighter colored quartz blends well with the popular whites and grays.

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Making apartments feel special rather than expected

Sticking with basic color palettes and adding a little artistic license can make apartments feel special rather than expected. That can be an advantage to a property manager, especially when prospects are touring multiple communities where floorplans tend to blend together.

“It feels updated and feels custom but you’re not turning anyone away because they don’t like something,” she said. “You’re just giving them this very clean palette with these little upgrades.”

A clean, updated look may be just the right flare that prevents the prospect from turning around.

“You want this beautiful blank canvas that when they walk in instantly feel like, ‘I can live here.’ ”


Contributing Editor, Property Management Insider
President, Ballpark Impressions, LLC

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Tim Blackwell is a long-time publishing and printing executive in the Dallas/Fort Worth area who writes about the multifamily housing and transportation industries. He has contributed numerous articles to Property Management Insider, and worked as a newspaper reporter in the D/FW area. Blackwell is president of Ballpark Impressions, and publishes the Cowcatcher Magazine. He is a member of the Fort Worth Chapter/Society of Professional Journalists.

One response to “How Interior Design can Help Attract Apartment Prospects”

  1. AgarwalEstates says:

    Great tips on how one can increase their apartment’s rental prospects..

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