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The Best Paint Color for Rental Property

Swatches of color and fabric materials for interior design

Creating a living space that appeals to a broad range of potential tenants is vital for a successful rental property. That said, if interior decorating is not your specialty, the task can prove daunting. The goal in rental properties is to create a neutral space where anyone could visualize their belongings. Continue reading below as we break down the best paint, flooring, and cabinet colors and materials to make your rental stand out to potential renters.

How to Choose The Right Paint for Your Rental Property

Bright colors tend to appeal to select individuals or only fit within a particular decor scheme. Therefore, bold options could be a turn-off for anyone visiting your rental property in Philadelphia. Thus, severely reducing the number of possible applicants for your space. Instead, choose neutral colors that provide a blank slate to suit any décor. Check out these tips below to get the best paint result for your rental.

Go Neutral, Not White

Ideally, in a rental, it is important to keep the tones light. Light tones help to reflect natural light and can open up even the smallest spaces. While white is often the go-to neutral, it can make a living space look too sanitized or institutional. Plus, white paint does nothing to hide scuffs and marks or dirt common in rentals. So, consider something with a bit of warmth to make the space feel like home. Spruce up the common grey or beige with warmer undertones of yellow and pink for a neutral but still on-trend and welcoming option. Check out these hot colors below –

  • Transcend by PPG (PPG1079-4) – Subtle with gingerbread undertones perfect for adding elegant warmth to any space.
  • Wheat Sheaf by PPG (PPG14-21) – Light and breezy gray with yellow and green undertones perfect for walls or even kitchen cabinets.
  • Dayflower by BEHR (MQ3-54) – Perfect blend of light aqua and gray for a cool and coastal vibe.
  • Jojoba by BEHR (N390-3) – Pale and calming blend of mossy green perfect for bedrooms or the master bath.
  • Autumn Glow by PPG (PPG1106-3) – Soft sunflower and beige tones ideal for a dining area or accent wall paired with crisp white trim.
  • Almond Wisp by BEHR (PPU5-12) – Neutral beige blended with a modern twist of rosy pinks.

Invest in Durability

Like many other things, all paints are not created equal. Therefore, durability is vital when choosing the right finish in a rental property that experiences more moving furniture and turnover than a normal home. When it comes to painting, there are several different finishes or “sheens” to choose from, and each is best suited to certain areas –

  • Kitchens – High Gloss or Semi-Gloss that is durable and easy to wipe clean for minor spills and dirt.
  • Living Areas – Satin or Semi-Gloss finish that can withstand the heavily trafficked areas and furniture scuffs.
  • Bedrooms – Flat, Matte, or Satin finishes work great as this is a low-traffic area.
  • Baths – Use Gloss or Semi-Gloss for areas where moisture is present.

Painting an entire rental can become a costly endeavor. However, investing in good quality paint from the start will save in the long run. Poor quality paint does not cover as well, requires more coats, and can look sloppy or unappealing to renters. So, if your walls need a refresh, consider a quality paint and primer in one to get great coverage, durability, and an attractive result.

Trust the Professionals

You can paint the rental yourself to save money. That said, the amount of time invested is something to consider seriously. Hiring a professional painting crew is an investment, but they have the staff, equipment, and experience to create a professional result in half the time. So, hire experienced painters to make your spaces look welcoming and well-kept.

What is the Best Flooring for a Rental Property?

When choosing flooring for your rental property, neutral is again the key to getting the best results. However, light neutral tones in flooring can easily show dirt or wear and tear. That said, deciding on color also depends on the type of flooring you need. Continue reading below as we examine the different options for rental property flooring and what each has to offer.

Hardwood Flooring

Average Material Cost per Square Foot: $3.00 to $7.00

Hardwood flooring is a beautiful choice for any home and comes in various styles, finishes, and colors. Cost can range from pricey to exorbitant, so choose your material carefully. Avoid exotic finishes, high variation patterns, unnatural colors such as whitewashed finishes, or anything else visually busy. Instead, stick to classics in blonde or honey tones.

 Pro Tip: Worried about protecting your investment? It is not uncommon for rental leases to require renters to cover up to 90% of the homes flooring with area rugs to protect it from scratching and scuffs.

Vinyl Plank Flooring

Average Material Cost per Square Foot: $2.00 to $7.00

Vinyl plank flooring is a great option for rental properties and a cost-effective alternative to hardwood. Additionally, it offers a durable and water-resistant surface in a myriad of colors and styles. With options that resemble wood or natural stone at a fraction of the cost, this is a great way to achieve luxury style without the luxury price tag. However, like hardwood, avoid exotic or unnatural finishes that will not appeal to the masses.

Ceramic or Stone Tile

Average Material Cost per Square Foot: $5.00 to $10.00

Tile is an easy to clean option perfect for kitchens, baths, or entryways. That said, when choosing a tile for a rental property, professional installation is key. Any variations in the subfloor or unlevel installation can cause tiles to break loose, crack, or chip, which looks bad and creates a potential hazard. Additionally, steer clear of bold patterns or overly personalized designs. Instead, stick to a neutral and timeless style that will look great for years to come.


Average Material Cost per Square Foot: $1.00 to $20.00

Carpeted flooring runs the gamut of pricing when it comes to rental flooring options. While it is a popular and cost-effective option for rentals, it is not always the best choice. Due to the high turnover and wear and tear rentals face, the carpet will require more frequent replacement and deep cleaning costs. For colors, grey or darker tones tend to hide dirt better than tan or beige options. However, carpet traps smell and allergens, making it a turn-off for most renters. So, to save money for more durable options throughout the home, consider using carpet in low-traffic areas such as bedrooms instead.

Should I Paint My Rental Property Cabinets?

In the right space, dark-colored cabinetry will always have a place in interior design. However, that space is not in a rental property. Another popular choice is Honey Oak, but its appearance can appear generic and sometimes feel cheap even when you’ve invested in quality cabinetry.

One of the biggest trends over the past few years, showing no signs of slowing down, is painted cabinetry. Kitchens these days are a vessel for personal style statements like navy, emerald, or black being popular choices. However, a rental is not the ideal place to show off your style as an owner.

So, instead, when choosing colors for kitchen cabinets, make white your go-to—especially if you’ve avoided white paint throughout the rental unit. In the kitchen, white cabinets help the space look clean, bright, and fresh, all things people want to see. Painting cabinets is a cost-effective way to achieve an entirely new look without replacing the current cabinetry that may still be in great shape.

 Need Help from a Property Manager in Philadelphia?

While bold styles may seem like a great way to stand out from the crowd, it ultimately limits the field of interested renters. Tenants do not want to adapt to your style; instead, they seek a well-maintained blank canvas to add their personal touches to. As a landlord, providing this is a key to your success.

Along with choosing the right design, successful landlords know that choosing the right property management company is equally important. The dedicated Philadelphia property managers at Bay Property Management Group can help investors make the right renovation choices to maximize both appeal and profits. So, if you are looking for design ideas or just need help with day-to-day operations, contact our team at BMG today.