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Fear the Feature Wall…..

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A cautionary tale for the unwary landlord…..

I would like to think that you have already read my blog post entitled: Presenting your property to the letting market: is it shipshape and Bristol fashion? and have heeded the dire warnings within.

If so, then I am hopeful that you will have cast a cold and discerning eye over your potential property to let and painted it up and polished it so clean that your house could feature on an advert for cleaning products.

 Perhaps you have even sledgehammered that ugly old fireplace and replaced it with something contemporary and beautiful? Yes- you know what I’m talking about: that 1950’s ceramic-tiled affair which you tried to convince your partner was O.K. “It’s an original feature, people like original features in these old properties these days.”  Remember how they shook their heads, woefully? I’m glad you took their advice.

I’d like to think we’re on the same page with this.

Now, the topic for this post today is: Fear the Feature Wall.

It should go without saying that a feature wall should hold no fear. Even though I am a somewhat cynical letting agent of many years’ experience, I recognise the benefit of a break in the endless palette of magnolia, light stone, almond white, daffodil white, ivory cream shades of neutral.

But, dear landlord and landlady, can we really forget what happened with the butterflies? Yes, butterflies are indeed a creature of undeniable beauty, but did we really want them winging their way all over the walls of our properties to let? There was a time, not so long ago, when you only had to open the door of a room in your house for a whole cloud of multi-coloured butterflies to swarm out of every corner like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s film : ‘The Birds.’

Look, don’t hate me for being negative about butterflies; I like butterflies, really I do. In my garden. But you’ve got to wonder what might be the next insect-inspired wallpaper craze. Yes- mark my words, in a couple of years’ time your tenants will be asking to paper their feature wall with bluebottle-inspired wallpaper- or maybe paper with a delightful mosquito motif. It’s only a matter of time, believe me.

image of a butterfly on the wallpaper
butterflies- swarming all over the place!

On the subject of things which I find repellent, I couldn’t possibly continue writing this blog without giving unicorns a mention. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has noted a disturbing rise in the numbers of these mythical creatures appearing everywhere at the moment. If I were you- landlord or landlady- I would organise an inspection of your letting property within the next few days, and just pop round there to check for the unsettling presence of unicorns.

Property owners: beware of unicorns

Yes, remember that lovely young couple who viewed your house a few months ago? That bright young pair, just at the beginning of their careers and wishing to set up home together for the first time? You’re picturing them now, aren’t you? Standing together admiring the beautiful new, very expensive fireplace you installed. You’re remembering that they’d said they’d want to decorate the feature wall if they were to let out your property.

Remember that frisson of fear that fluttered around your heart at the recollection of the pink and black butterfly paper you had to scrape off just before these two came for the viewing? Surely this couple- these sensible young recent graduates- wouldn’t put anything outrageous on your chimney breast, would they? And they promised they’d change it back before they left…….

unicorns and butterflies
Unicorns and butterflies at the same time!

No, I’m worrying you unnecessarily with my cynical letting agent views. I’m sure that they have put up some lovely tasteful paper which really enhances your living room with a beautiful, invigorating punch of colour. My problem is, that I’m a bit old. I’ve seen what Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen used to do to poor suckers’ living rooms, back in the noughties….and I’ve lived through the butterflies and the migraine-inducing florals.

However- it wouldn’t do any harm to check, would it? And don’t be surprised if you find a rainbow-coloured unicorn flying majestically on glittered wings across your feature wall in your property to let.

And so the moral of this warning tale is: beware when your tenants ask to decorate their feature wall- to just ‘put our own stamp on it.’  By all means, go ahead and agree- but make sure you get a signed agreement stating: ‘No unicorns.’

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