I understand where you unfurnished landlords are coming from, with all that white paint.
Yes, it is different in that my tenants don’t bring in their own furniture.
But I still think you are losing with being stuck on that lowest common denominator paint. Upscale your paint and you may upscale your tenants. We had a tenant who so loved her glazed golden bedroom walls that she wouldn’t leave. She was in our unfurnished rental for 10 years, and no, there was no need to repaint that glazed hand-applied paint during her stay.
Go visit a model home or two; big bucks decorators pick out those color schemes. They use them because warm color sells houses! Also check out the website Houzz for color tips.
I don’t know what kind of motels you are staying in, Javipa, but dirty white has not been in style for some time. Do they still have bedspreads in those motels too? Try a motel that has duvets and some style.
We like to use cowboy red, sage green, buff (a yellow/tan). We don’t like flat paint either. I like to use paint glaze and it also makes the walls more washable and more durable.
Here is a tip for re-painting one of your white rooms. Take some old yellow, tan or gold paint. Dilute it 3 to 1 with water. Now rub it on the wall using an old t-shirt. There is no need to mask off edges, no need to be perfect. Start in a closet or low area until you get your technique right. Do this very quickly, don’t rub too much. This gives a muted, vintage warm look with some areas darker than others. This is incredibly fast, cheap and easy. Takes way less time than regular painting. If you mess up, well, you can just paint over it.
Here’s another idea–paint a kitchen wall or half wall BLACK. Use chalkboard paint and put a box of chalk next to it. Write “Welcome! Use this board for your grocery or telephone lists!” People absolutely love writing on that wall.
Every house can benefit from a color punch of black. Every house can benefit from a color punch of red.
I too use the tan/white combination, we call it cream/white. Walls eggshell or semi-gloss cream, woodwork and doors semi-or high gloss white. We always use semi-gloss white on ceilings to reflect light into the room.
You landlords…I challenge you to upgrade with some color and see if you don’t get a higher class of tenant. Isn’t that what it’s all about? A warning–if you are not good with color copy from Houzz or from a model home. Bad color can be worse than landlord white.