Help painting a rental

4 Replies

I’ve seen lots of advice that recommends to paint all rentals a single color. Which I get all the reasons why. But my question is, do you really paint the entire rental one color? Common areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, etc? All a single color? If so, what finish and brand/color do you use? If not, how do you paint? This just seems so boring and a little off putting, but it could just be me trying to complicate and personalize the property. Thanks in advance!

Yes. I do. Why? 


Last thing I want on a unit turn-around is a color mystery. 

Make it easy. 

This is especially true if you get multiple units. Start changing colors and your garage looks like a street artists studio with a few dozen cans. And a few years later, you may not even recall that you used shabby peach in the bathroom in unit "F"..... Where is that Shabby Peach? Or was it Shabby Chic? And where did I buy it? Oh no, can't recall, I get to prep, prime and complete repaint. Oh, fun....

Plus, if you get too creative, there is bound to be someone (a potential great tenant) who does not have the same taste.

What color? I just use Ben Moore Aura, Atrium White in Satin (or what used to be their Pearl). Easy to clean, good for traffic, easy to touch up (key).

And, you guessed it, the color choice was inspired by what the previous owner had used in my fourplex.... Why do a complete repaint when you don't have to.

You are going to paint so darn many walls that picking colors is not going to be as fun as it is in the commercials. Just stock the 5 gallon buckets in your garage, shake em and go. 

You will be done with the first room before the other person even picked out a color and had it mixed at the store....

Plus, use the good stuff (whatever brand that may be for you) and you may get out of some shorter tenancies or one with lower wear and tear tenants with just a touch up and by washing walls. I keep a quart handy for those wonderful occasions (easier to handle and lug up stairs).

I would get to know the folks at your specialty paint store by name as they can be a good allies, too.

Best of luck!

I get the ease of having everything basically the same, but I can't  resist mistints when I'm at the store already and you're right, having everything the same is boring.

All of my 84 bedrooms, 35 living rooms and 47 bathrooms are different colors. Earth tones mostly and my tenants like it. So have the buyers of the last 3 houses I've sold. 

My investor buddy or my handyman says 'yep, it's a Steve house' whenever we enter a different place.

I store the paints on site. In the crawl of the apt, the basement of the house or the maintenance closet. I have gotten hung up a time or two with matching or finding the color to touch-up, but haven't made a special trip for paint or waited in line to get something mixed in a very very long time.

How's that for conflicting advice!?

Here’s yet another approach: I have a formula for all my rentals. Master is one color, hall bath another, living room another etc. - so they all look like a “home (they are SFH). Only time I deviate is when I have extra paint to use up that’s the expensive kind (like from my own home). I also use this as a selling feature for the tenants. The type of tenants I attract are kind of “Pinterest home” tenants (it’s a niche lol) and they love the attention to detail I put on the design. It looks so custom but it’s pretty much the same for every house. I have a “Heidi” bathroom design that my contractor knows how to do in a new house - beadboard, Pale Aqua walls, chrome fixtures, gray plank tile. We just say “Heidi bathroom for the hall bath” and he knows what to do.

I get the simplicity factor of having one color, but I don't think it's great for the aesthetics of the place. We have three colors that we use for everything- a white, grey and a mellow blue. That way, it's still simple, we can do touch ups anywhere without having to try and match a paint, but it's not totally boring.

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