How Real Estate and Interior Design Work Together

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Real estate is a powerful thing. When you buy your own home, you begin to build wealth; when you invest in an income property, you gain a powerful source of passive income.

Interior design is powerful, too. The spaces that surround us have a huge effect on our mindset and mental health. As we’ll soon see, interior design choices can even make us more likely to buy or rent a property — even though the furniture and wall hangings are not ours.

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Real estate and interior design come together in all sorts of interesting ways. Here are just a few.

Make the most of the space that you have

When you buy a home, you make a sound financial decision. Your rent doesn’t do much for your long-term finances; all it does is give you a place to live right here and right now. But once you’ve made a down payment and gotten a mortgage, you’ll be paying monthly toward and asset that you own. In the long run, that’s a much better way to build your wealth.

There’s just one catch: Homes are not that liquid. You’ll probably have your first home for a while, and during that time you may come to wish that you could have bought a larger space.

You don’t have to pack up and move, though. Interior design can do a lot to make small spaces look and feel larger and more useful. Consider using rugs and carpets to create zones within individual rooms, creating the impression of a larger and more complex space. And use color theory and quality modern furniture to make your space feel larger and airier — or opt for a more cozy aesthetic and lean into your space’s strengths. Whatever you choose, you’ll find that the right furniture and decor choices can really transform your space. It’s almost as if you can expand or move the walls and rooms themselves.

Staging and property values

People aren’t always as imaginative as we might think. For instance, can you picture your furniture filling an empty space? If you can, you’re more talented than most — experts say that would-be homeowners and would-be tenants have a hard time picturing their furniture and decor in a space. That’s why home staging exists.

Home staging is one of the most obvious ways in which the real estate and interior design industries interact. When you stage a home, you fill it with furniture and decor as if it were being lived in. The result, experts say, is that the space will look more appealing to buyers and renters — which means you’ll get more bang for your real estate buck.

Staging can work in rental listings, too. The right modern furniture or decor can make a space look roomy and well-lit — just the thing for your rental listing. Modern landlord software makes it easy to do things such as create a full listing with photos (and even videos), set up a rental application online, and perform background checks quickly. Modern renters expect a quick and easy online experience, and they don’t want to have to strain to imagine their furniture in your space. By making your apartment or house look lived-in in your online rental listing, you’ll encourage more would-be tenants to apply and will have more options to choose from.

Furnished income properties

Your furniture and design decisions don’t just have to be for staging and your property’s big photo shoot or open house. You could decide to throw pieces of furniture in with a house to sweeten a home listing — or your could offer your space to renters as a fully furnished apartment.

Most renters don’t need apartments to be furnished — they’re probably planning to move in some pieces of their own. But some renters prefer to have the space furnished for them. Furnished apartments are most appealing to people on long-term work trips, graduate students in town for just a semester, and others who need spaces for longer than would make sense in a hotel but shorter than would make sense for a full move-in. With a furnished apartment, you may want to be flexible with lease terms and offer short-term leases. Furnishing is also important for AirBNB properties and other short-term rental options.

And if you are going to market a furnished apartment, it’s going to matter a lot how the space is furnished and decorated. It’s just one more way in which real estate and interior design go hand in hand.