HMO Design Ideas: Jen’s 5 tips to stand out from the HMO crowd in 2017

A young-professional’s lifestyle today is vastly different to that of past generations and the stereotypical hysteria of ‘student life’ has changed from what it used to be. The standards of shared accommodation and HMOs for young people are rising; properties are becoming more creative and interesting and students are surprisingly more sober!

Thanks to the influences of platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest, the focus is now on sophisticated living. This in mind, it’s essential that your tenants are comfortable in their living space. To stay in the game, you will need to think about your HMO design ideas to ensure your property is a cut above the others!

At Smart Property, we believe that high quality, stylish living spaces are important and we are here to share some invaluable tips, inspiration, and landlord help to turn your property into an on trend and well planned space. You don’t have to be an Interior Designer to get a good result, just follow these 5 simple steps…

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Ask yourself basic questions about what your tenants will want and need. Decide on the primary function of each room and design around this. By spending time browsing social media platforms and interior design websites for inspiration, you will find innovative ways to achieve this. At Smart Property, we are forever posting cool and unique ideas on our Instagram page, focusing specifically on the HMO market.

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Pin and post the things that you feel suit your target market the most – anything creative you find!  This will help evoke a theme or concept and avoid ending up with a messy, mismatched overall look. Trust me – not what you want!

Pinterest is a modern and efficient way of doing this, though in my opinion you can’t beat the good old fashioned way of having something physical to touch and feel. You can pin anything from materials/fabrics, wallpaper samples, and paint swatches to magazine cuttings, and photographs.

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3. find the best room layout


To achieve the best layout it’s worth mapping out some floor plans. These don’t have to be precisely to scale for this purpose and can be sketched by hand. Providing your sketches are relative, this method will work for you. 

Alternatively, if you are tech savvy and want something more accurate, there are a number of downloadable apps out there in which you can input measurements and the hard work is done for you! #ThinkSmart

Each room in your HMO will have its own unique dimensions. Spending time at the property will help you to create the perfect layout. Think about the size and scale of the space you are working with; rearranging furniture and testing various placements until you find the right arrangement. If you are tight on space, try to construct multi-use areas where you can.


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4. think multifunctional


When sourcing furniture for shared accommodation think three things: multifunctional, practical, cost-effective. There are plenty of affordable suppliers out there and with the internet at our fingertips, these are easy to find.

Don’t rule out salvage yards, charity shops and trusty eBay. These places are great to find old furniture that can be upcycled and can help create that unique, on trend look. Just remember to make sure this fits in with the concept you have created using your mood board!

Don’t forget to consider storage space for your tenants – so many Landlords do!  When showcasing your HMO to prospective tenants when lived in, clutter can really damage the look. By providing space for tenants to store possessions you will eliminate this, maintaining that clutter-free stylish look and ensuring your HMO is let quickly, every time!

For more tips on letting your HMO swiftly, why not check out our quick guide to better HMO property management here written by MD Andy Graham.




Be brave! A strong, bold colour scheme will really help your HMO stand out from the crowd.

This can be channelled by painting feature walls, using some funky bold patterned wallpaper, or incorporating some daring colourful furniture. Keep an eye on colour trends, these do change with the times, but with the likes of Instagram and Pinterest, it’s pretty easy to see what is hot and what is not!

Being consistent with your colour scheme throughout the property will create that cohesive, unified theme. Remember, you want all rooms to connect and the style needs to seamlessly flow from room to room.


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Now that you have somewhere to start, why not share this post with a landlord you think would benefit from these HMO interior design ideas! Maybe you know somebody thinking about becoming a landord, or maybe you’re about to take the leap yourself? Help them get out of their rut and embrace today’s competitive HMO market! Don’t forget to subscribe below -there’s lots more to come! 

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