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To Furnish or Not To Furnish – Make The Right Choice For Your Rental Property

As a landlord, you might ask yourself “do I want the hassle of furnishing my rental property” and “will paying for furniture be worth the investment?” while preparing your home for market.


However, as property experts with over 30 years of experience supporting landlords to secure the best tenants for their investment properties we think you’re asking yourself the wrong questions. In this blog, we explain why.


Whenever landlords prepare a rental property for the market, they must decide whether to let it furnished or unfurnished. If you’re in this position right now you might find yourself wondering about the time and cost implications of furnishing a property as a key consideration. However, in our experience, it’s best to be guided by the market rather than these practicalities where possible.

Why? I hear you ask. Well…the type of property you have and its location will generally attract a certain type of tenant. And those tenants will typically have a preference for a particular level of furnishing.

For example, a three-plus-bedroom home in a suburban neighbourhood is likely to attract families, either relocating to the area or upsizing within the rental market with no immediate plans to buy. These tenants often have at least some of their own furniture already and therefore they usually prefer unfurnished or part-furnished properties.


A beautiful one-story rental property advertised for let by Currans Homes estate agency in Chester. The owner has yet to decide whether to let the property furnished or unfurnished, however, the gardens and hedges are beautifully manicured.


On the other hand, if you have a smaller property to let in the city centre, you’re more likely to attract younger individuals and couples, possibly moving in together for the first time. For these tenants, fully furnished properties can be quite appealing.

To identify your target market, speak to a local lettings expert who understands the current and future demand for the area and your type of property. Feel free to get in touch with us at any time. We’re more than happy to discuss tenants’ expectations and how you can make your property as attractive as possible. You can also find plenty of advice in our blog, “Perfect Presentation Attracts Perfect Tenants.”


A modern kitchen in a rental property let by Currans Homes letting agent in Chester. The home is furnished and surrounding the breakfast bar are 4 high stools, 2 black and two red. In the background a clock and a sofa can be seen.


Once you’ve researched tenant demand, you’ll have a better idea of what level of furnishing might be most appropriate for your property. But what are the main differences between letting furnished and unfurnished? Here are the key points you need to know to make sure you get things right, whichever option you choose.


Monthly rent

You might be surprised to learn that there isn’t a significant difference in rental prices between furnished properties and unfurnished properties. On average, furnished properties tend to let for around 5% more than unfurnished ones. However, the key priority should be to meet tenant demand. Being flexible about the level of furnishing can often attract tenants who are willing to pay a competitive monthly rent for a property that meets all their needs.


What Fittings/Furniture Do I Need To Provide?


Unfurnished Properties

While you’re not expected to provide furniture in an unfurnished property, today’s tenants will anticipate essential kitchen and bathroom fittings, curtains or blinds, suitable flooring such as carpets, and light fittings. Additionally, it has become customary to include at least some white goods: fridge/freezer, oven, hob, and washing machine.


Fully-Furnished Properties

For a fully-furnished property, tenants will expect you to supply all fittings and furnishings, along with basic equipment. The quality and type of furniture should align with your target market. Get in touch to discuss how to attract the best tenants and command the highest monthly rent.

As a general guideline, an ‘average’ furnished property typically includes:
  • All key furniture pieces, including beds, wardrobes, bedside tables, drawers, sofas, chairs, dining tables, cupboards, and side tables
  • All white goods, including fridge/freezer, oven, hob, and washing machine. (Higher-quality rentals may also feature a dishwasher, microwave, and tumble dryer).
  • Basic crockery, cutlery, glassware, and cooking equipment
  • Some accessories, for example, lamps, mirrors, cushions, and modest wall décor
For corporate or multi-let properties, tenants wi;ll also expect full kitchen amenities and small electrical appliances, including:
  • Assorted glassware, crockery, and cutlery
  • Cooking and baking utensils
  • Kettle and toaster (Higher-end options may also include a coffee machine and juicer/blender)
  • A ‘smart’ television
  • Lamps, vacuum cleaner, iron, and ironing board

Note: It’s crucial that any upholstered furniture and furnishings you provide—such as sofas, armchairs, cushions, loose covers, and mattresses—comply with current flame-resistance standards. Ensure these items bear the appropriate labels; if they lack this label, they cannot legally be used in your rental. If you plan to include second-hand or older furniture, verify this label’s presence as a precaution.


Lakeside view from the window of a furnished rental property let by Currans Homes letting agency in Chester. In front of the window is a round black dining table with a single black dining chair.


Maximise Light and Space

Whatever level of furnishing you’re providing, it’s important to think about creating light and space in the property to help boost its appeal to tenants. Here are a few tips that can help give the illusion of extra space:

  • Choose a light colour for the walls – something like soft cream or light beige – and paint all woodwork and ceilings white
  • Avoid any texture on the ceiling – you want it to be almost ‘invisible’
  • Have the same wall colour and flooring throughout to help make the space flow
  • Hang mirrors throughout – they bounce light around a room, give the impression of extra depth and can really help narrow hallways feel bigger and brighter
  • Hang pictures in a portrait orientation to make ceilings feel higher
  • Make sure the furniture is in proportion to the room. A huge sofa in a small sitting room will make it feel even smaller, so choose furniture carefully and don’t overcrowd the rooms – you can always add items if the tenant needs more.


Know The Implications Of Furnishing Your Rental Property

It goes without saying that if your property is furnished, you’ll have to invest more money into getting it ready to rent than if it’s unfurnished, but what else does the level of furnishing affect?




1). Maintenance

Every landlord has maintenance costs, but as the landlord of a furnished property, you’ll need to budget for repairing and replacing your furnishings over time. No matter how careful your tenants are, the furniture will be subject to wear and tear and, when you come to re-let, you’ll have to ensure the property looks fresh and clean for the new tenant. So, choose your furniture carefully – aim for good-quality, hard-wearing basics, with soft furnishings and accessories that can be replaced relatively cheaply. For example, go for a decent-quality sofa that has loose covers you can easily wash or replace.

The other main maintenance job you’ll have to think about is electrical testing. It’s recommended that all ‘portable’ electrical items are tested regularly to make sure they’re safe to use – once a year is advised. That includes electrical white goods, lamps, kettles, vacuum cleaners and irons; so, if your property is fully furnished, you need to consider that it will cost more to have everything checked.


2). Insurance

A fairly standard landlord insurance policy should insure the building itself and basic décor of the property against accidental and deliberate damage. But if you choose to furnish it, you may want to consider taking out extra cover for the furniture and other items you’ve provided.


3). Inventory

Letting a furnished property will require a more extensive inventory, which usually makes it more expensive than for an unfurnished home. We would recommend you use a professional inventory clerk to make sure the record contains everything it should.


4). Length of tenancy

As a general rule, tenancies tend to be longer for unfurnished properties. Some people find it quite an upheaval to move with all their furniture and possessions, and it can be expensive to hire a removal company. So, once tenants have completed the move, they’re usually keen not to have to do it again for a while!



Beautiful manicured garden in a property let by Currans homes estate agency in Chester. In the background is views over a lake with small sailing boats dotted around.


We also find that when a tenant brings their own furniture and furnishings to a property, it quickly feels like home. And, generally speaking, the more ‘at home’ a tenant feels, the longer they tend to stay. So, if you’re letting your property unfurnished, allowing tenants to make changes to the interior décor (within reason) and being flexible about letting them do things like fitting shelving to walls can help secure a longer-term let.

Similarly, with a furnished property, tenants might be more likely to stay longer if you’re flexible about swapping out some of your furnishings if they start to buy their own, or if you’re happy to provide any additional items that would make them more comfortable.


Get In Touch

If you’re letting a property for the first time or your current tenancy is coming to an end, make sure you’re up to date with who your next tenant is likely to be and what level of furnishing will result in the quickest and best let. We speak to great tenants every day and can help you make sure your property – whether it’s furnished or unfurnished – offers just what they’re looking for. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d love to help!