7 Great Ideas for Updating a Rental Space to get an Incredible Listing Response


Putting a little design love and improvements into your rental property prior to listing it is a very smart thing to do. And, this month we partnered up with my designer friend, Erin Wasden to update a condo in Hermosa Beach CA –and we were asked to get it ready to rent by August 1st! The owners are a wise, young couple who purchased the property with the idea of renting it out for extra income. Right now is an opportune time to invest in a rental because home prices and interest rates are low and that combination makes for a great time to become an investor!

“So what did the condo look like before our beautiful remodel?”

Upon first viewing of the space, I was pleased because I could see that beneath the mis-matched stone and tile materials, old themed paint tones, and cherry wood laminate floors, was a beautiful gem of a home with open space and gorgeous light–which with a few improvements, fresh paint and new well chosen materials would be a very hot rental property. So we got started with the ideas, choice of materials and color palate and below I share with you 7 great ideas for updating a rental space to get an incredible listing response.

First and foremost, clean up the lines of the home by choosing colors that are unified and neutral, however choose paint colors wisely and go for classic tones that will stay in style and age well.The new space would need to be updated to a more contemporary feel throughout, but we opted to go with mainly soft colors which were a part of Benjamin Moore’s Historical Palate. We chose the colors we did for two reasons. 1. To make sure the home would stay in style through the years. 2. To bring the feel of the outer environment in to the home. Furthermore, the selection of soft tones that had relating values made each room appear larger and gave the entire home a cohesive feel. The palate was also neutral and non-gender specific–an important quality for a rental to have. Our palate selection follows:

Benjamin Moore, Revere Pewter HC-172

Benjamin Moore, Revere Pewter HC-172

Benjamin Moore, Woodlawn Blue HC-147

Benjamin Moore, Woodlawn Blue HC-147

Benjamin Moore, Oxford White #869

Benjamin Moore, Oxford White #869

Benjamin Moore, Palladian Blue HC-144

Benjamin Moore, Palladian Blue HC-144

Benjamin Moore, Shaker Beige HC-45

Benjamin Moore, Shaker Beige HC-45

Large open space with monolith style fireplace.

Fireplace column with updated mantle, face and hearth stone. Column is set against Benjamin Moore’s Grey Husky paint.

Save the existing materials in the home which still hold value.
For example, we chose to save the granite in the kitchen and change the fireplace stone to a hue that ties in the kitchen granite. Doing so created a balanced feeling upon entry into the large open space that makes up the kitchen, living and dining room. The recessed lighting trims were updated and we added a cute cost effective chandelier to dress up the dining room.

Clean up the kitchen to a bright and clean look and use existing appliances if they are in good working order. We chose to freshen up the kitchen by sanding and then filling in the existing red oak grain. Then we painted the cabinets a beautiful soft white. Adding a bold black accent with oil-rubbed bronze knobs and pulls made the existing black sink and appliances look like they were a part of the new design.

Cabinets went from oak to fresh white and are adorned with new oil-rubbed bronze hardware.

Oven and cooktop surrounded by beautiful freshly painted white cabinets.

Space Case Kitchen Cabinet Re-paint

Freshly painted cabinets adorned by new oil-rubbed bronze hardware.

Go for the biggest change by investing in a gorgeous but cost effective floor–the existing laminate is durable but let’s face it, it lacks real wood texture and looks cheap. We decided to go with an upgrade–white oak engineered hardwood flooring. Oak will have the durability needed in a rental and it’s beautiful! To make sure that this floor screamed “We are at the beach, Yay!” we went with a warm, wire scraped, white washed and variegated surface.

Space Case Design Updated Living Room in Hermosa Beach CA

Spacious Living Room showing updated recessed lighting, white washed oak flooring and beachy white shutters.

Freshen up the dated and boring bathrooms and add storage. Bring in the idea of clean fresh water to make for bathrooms that anyone will want to wash-up in. All of the warm sandy tones and bright whites will sing when offset by the color of blue skies. We chose contemporary and affordable vanities, sinks and faucets from IKEA–yes, that it right–IKEA! The vanities provide needed storage and function and the stainless steel faucets and hardware add the glisten that makes our eyes bounce and feel charged.

Space Case Design Master Bath Double Sink Vanity

Beautiful Woodlawn Blue paint by Benjamin Moore is the perfect back drop to the gorgeous sandy tone vanity and tile.

IKEA Single bowl seamless sink and vanity.

Single bowl, seamless sink and counter top vanity from IKEA revels the look of the famous German bath manufacturer, Duravit, for a fraction of the price.

Hexagon Floor Tiles Bathroom

Guest bath depicting existing tub with new flat subway and hexagon floor tiles. So chic!

Over john from Lowes

Use covered, over toilet storage where possible to make a more functional and beautiful space.

Choose neutral tones for bedrooms and freshen up the closet spaces.
Give the bedrooms a nice neutral coat of paint and freshen up all the closets by caulking and sealing the shelves and painting the inside the same color as the trim on the home–Oxford White by Benjamin more. In the master bedroom we wanted to make if feel like a small boutique closet so we added an accent of Woodlawn Blue, Benjamin Moore paint inside which was the perfect compliment to the pretty warm maple built-ins. We added a seamless wire curtain mount which we hung simple grommet style canvas curtains from. Contemporary frosted and bamboo reeded flush mount ceiling lights were added to the rooms for function and ambiance.

Shaker Beige room and pretty canvas draped built-in closet.

Master bedroom closet with built-in maple chest of drawers beyond a clean canvas of drapery.

Bedroom #1 Revere Pewter Paint and Neutral Drapes

Bedroom #1, Revere Pewter Paint and Neutral Drapes

Sliding Glass Mirrored Closet

Image shows the use of existing mirrored closet which was cleaned up and interior closets were caulked and painted to a fresh Oxford White.

Guest Bedroom Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore

Bedroom #2 we used Revere Pewter paint by Benjamin Moore and flush mount fixture from Lowes.

IDEA Lucky # 7!

Consult with an interior designer to make sure that your updates will be worth every penny you spend. DIY shows make it look so easy, but there is skill and experience needed to guarantee a selection of materials which are beautiful, durable enough for a rental, and yet cost effective. Plus, a licensed designer will make sure that your improvements will be up to the new codes which protects you as the home owner and they can save you time and money by purchasing products from their trusted and reputable wholesale establishments.  Sometimes the secrets they possess can save you so much money that the saving alone can pay for their services.

In the case of this beautiful Hermosa Beach condo– it was able to be listed in the middle of July!

There was so much response that it nearly “blew up” the owners email account. All the candidates were loving the new interior and improvements and the owners enjoyed being able to make their selection from a great group of people. It was rented via a one year lease, starting August 1st.


A before look at the fireplace

Fireplace column before.

Oak kitchen cabinets before reface.

Oak kitchen cabinets before reface.

Condo remodel before picture.

A look down the hall way during remodel.

Master bath before.

Master bath before. Shower wall was built out to bring the bathroom up to code.

Bathroom Before Picture by Space Case Design

Guest bath before. Oak vanity and all tiles and floor was removed.

I appreciate any comments regarding this subject. Do you have rentals? Do you like the way the space shaped up?