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Back to Your Roots: A Design Guide for Landlords

There are tons of decisions to make when designing your dream property. Whether you're building from scratch or renovating an older property, choosing design details that will delight tenants is critically important. While beige carpets and white walls have become staples of the property management design world, they don't do much to make your stand out from your competitors. It's hard to leave a lasting impression on prospective tenants when your units are, well, kind of boring.

Apartment design doesn't have to be drab. There's a ton of neutral decor that you can use to give your place a little more life. One option? Embrace your area's roots when designing a space. Look to spots like this apartment building in Sunnyvale, California for inspiration. Sunnyvale was once the home of Atari, the video game company that sparked a revolution in their industry. Now the home of many tech companies - and their employees - Sunnyvale is the perfect spot to embrace some light theming.

The apartment complex, known as pksl, honors the birthplace of Atari by nodding stylishly nodding to the company. A black and orange color scheme with wood paneling is a homage to Atari's 2600 consoles, while square tiles throughout the property remind visitors and tenants alike of the early pixel square art of early video game design. To the average visitor, the pksl theme might go unnoticed. To Atari fans, though, the subtle and classy theming will serve as a reminder that they are not only among friends, they're home.

That's the kind of message any property manager or landlord would like to send to prospective tenants. Even if your town isn't the home of some cool company or historical landmark, you can play on the natural geography as a theme. Bring elements of the outdoors in, with wood, stone and other natural materials. Continue the theming outdoors with landscaping that uses foliage that thrives in your region.

While such touches might seem too light to truly be considered a theme, it's important not to go overboard. For every pksl, there's a similar property dripping in murals of cartoon characters and video game music playing in the lobby. While those ideas might seem for to you, most tenants will be turned off to this kind of overt theming. After all, folks want a relaxing place to come home to each evening. Disneyland might be one of the happiest places on Earth, but it's also over the top. Ensure your property doesn't become an amusement park by ensuring that themes are kept to a minimum.

- Scott Safadi, Cal Bay Property Management

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