The key to attracting guests to your vacation home rentals is to balance comfort and style, designing a retreat that people dream about living in.

Design Tips for Vacation Home Rentals

The key to attracting renters to your vacation property is to balance comfort and style, designing a retreat that people dream about living in.

Design Tips for Vacation Home Rentals

The vacation rental market has exploded in recent years.  After the economic downturn in 2008, many owners decided to rent their properties rather than sell.  Around the same time, Airbnb was established, and they now boast over two million listings worldwide!  With so many vacation home rentals entering the market, owners must design properties that stand out from the rest.

Unfortunately, many owners either don’t invest in interior design or create spaces that they would like (but may not appeal to others).  The key to attracting renters to your vacation home is to balance comfort and style.  As interior designer Mercedes Brennan argues:

“People do not want a home away from home on vacation.  Absolutely not.  What they want instead is the home they wished they had away from home.”  

In order to rise above the competition, you must provide the kind of vacation retreat that people dream about living in.  After all, vacations are precious and people want to feel pampered.

Here are the Coastal Cottage Company’s top five tips for designing vacation home rentals that will draw in vacationers:

Timeless Design

Too often, vacation home owners decorate according to their tastes and preferences.  But it’s unlikely you’ll be staying in your property very often (at least that’s the hope if you want to make a profit!).  Therefore, focus on classic, timeless design.  According to Andy Moore of Gulfcoast Property Management, “while interior design trends will come and go, your rental properties will not need remodeling for many years when you successfully start with a timeless look.”

Now, timeless does not mean boring!  Adding character and style is important.  But avoid choosing styles that are overly ornate, trendy, or offbeat.  While you may love the look of Roman columns and marble statuary, your guests may not share your vision!

Use classic and simple designs in your vacation home rentals, such as this dining room in rustic wood and cream color.
Incorporate classic and simple style, such as in this dining room. Home designed and built by the Coastal Cottage Company.

Local Design

One way to add character to a vacation home rental is to infuse local culture into the decor.  Your guests have chosen the location for a reason, so find ways to incorporate its history and atmosphere.  Shop in local stores for items that can only be found in the region, such as building materials, flowers and greenery, artwork, books on the history of the area, tasty treats, or luxurious bath products.  This is a simple but fantastic way to help guests feel like they are experiencing the local flavor without even leaving the house! 

Durable Design

With so many people coming and going, vacation home rentals can suffer a lot of wear and tear.  For beachfront properties, this is especially true as sand gets everywhere, air conditioners run constantly, and families with children often are renters.  Hardwood and tile floors are much easier to maintain than carpeting, while throw rugs can warm up a space and be tossed into the washing machine.  For countertops, quartz and granite are both sturdy and stylish.  Avoid materials that scratch easily such as soapstone and laminate.  While you don’t want your rental to feel institutional, you do want it to last without frequent repairs. 

Decorate to reflect the location of your vacation home rentals, such as this bedroom with rustic wood and green walls. Home designed and built by the Coastal Cottage Company.
Decorate to reflect the location, such as this bedroom with rustic wood and green walls. Home designed and built by the Coastal Cottage Company.

Luxurious Design

Vacations are intended to be relaxing and pampering, something that transports guests away from the mundane.  So while durability and timeless design are important, your property should look and feel like a retreat.  Focus on comfort and try to anticipate your guests’ needs.  For example, provide plenty of high quality linens, rainfall shower heads, plush rugs, and throw blankets.  Depending on your budget, consider adding unique elements that will make the property memorable like a cozy reading nook or extravagant outdoor kitchen.  If you’re on a tight budget, small details can lead to a high return on investment.  For example, install lighting dimmers, provide eco-friendly bath products, or add electrical outlets with USB ports to charge mobile devices.

Kitchen Design

Often, guests choose vacation homes over hotels for the extra amenities they provide.  One of the top five amenities that motivate guests to book a property is the kitchen.  Cooking is a fantastic way for vacationers to save money and spend time with the friends or family they’re traveling with.  So if you’re deciding where to spend your money, the kitchen is a good bet.  As interior designer Mercedes Brennan said, people want to stay in a home they wish they had, so adding a luxurious kitchen can be a good investment.  If pricey upgrades are out of the question, ensure you have provided everything guests will need to cook and enjoy a meal.  For example, provide small appliances like blenders, utensils like can openers, seating for multiple people, even cookbooks that feature local cuisine.

Provide a kitchen that has everything your guests will need, especially enough seating.
Provide a kitchen that has everything your guests will need, especially enough seating like at this fantastic counter. Home designed and built by the Coastal Cottage Company.

We hope these tips will help you design a vacation property that looks like it belongs in Condé Nast Traveller and puts you on track to get more bookings!  And if you’re interested in building a vacation home to rent (or to enjoy yourself), we’d love to chat with you!


Blog by Jessica T. Smith for the Coastal Cottage Company

14 thoughts on “Design Tips for Vacation Home Rentals”

  1. This is some really good information about ways to design. I like what you said about how you should go for a timeless look. It would be a good thing to do because you wouldn’t want to redesign it all of the time.

    1. Thank you, Emily, for reading our blog and taking the time to comment. It’s tempting to decorate a vacation rental to match your own specific tastes, but we agree with you that it’s more prudent to choose a timeless and classic look to make sure every guest enjoys the space.

  2. I agree that in order to make a good profit off a vacation rental home, owners must design properties that stand out. My Aunt is currently having a hard time renting out her little bungalow because it’s pretty standard and plain. Although the design elements are traditional, it doesn’t pop or make a statement. There is such a thing as too timeless of a design. I love your idea of adding character to the home by infusing local culture into the decor. I will suggest that to my Aunt. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Thank you, Abélia, for reading our blog and taking the time to comment. We agree that while you don’t want to choose a design that will only appeal to a specific group of people, being too traditional could end up looking boring. We’re so glad you liked the idea of incorporating local culture and wish your Aunt the best of luck with her bungalow!

  3. I really like your tip to use local design elements in your vacation rental. I think using local small businesses is a great way to do this. It helps out the community and gives guests a feel for the culture. I also like your tip to add local flowers or plants to the home. thanks for these great tips!

  4. People do not want a home away from home on vacation. Absolutely not. What they want instead is the home they wished they had away from home.In order to rise above the competition, you must provide the kind of vacation retreat that people dream about living in. After all, vacations are precious and people want to feel pampered.Here are the Coastal Cottage Company’s top five tips for designing vacation home rentals that will draw in vacationers.

  5. The vacation rental market has exploded in recent years. After the economic downturn in 2008, many owners decided to rent their properties rather than sell. Around the same time, They was established, and they now boast over two million listings worldwide! With so many vacation home rentals entering the market, owners must design properties that stand out from the rest.Unfortunately, many owners either don’t invest in interior design or create spaces that they would like (but may not appeal to others). The key to attracting renters to your vacation home is to balance comfort and style.

  6. One way to add character to a vacation home rental is to infuse local culture into the decor. Your guests have chosen the location for a reason, so find ways to incorporate its history and atmosphere. Shop in local stores for items that can only be found in the region, such as building materials, flowers and greenery, artwork, books on the history of the area, tasty treats, or luxurious bath products. This is a simple but fantastic way to help guests feel like they are experiencing the local flavor without even leaving the house.

  7. One way to add character to a vacation home rental is to infuse local culture into the decor. Your guests have chosen the location for a reason, so find ways to incorporate its history and atmosphere. Shop in local stores for items that can only be found in the region, such as building materials, flowers and greenery, artwork, books on the history of the area, tasty treats, or luxurious bath products. This is a simple but fantastic way to help guests feel like they are experiencing the local flavor without even leaving the house!

  8. I really like the comment here by Mercedes Brennan about people not wanting a home away from home, but rather a “dream home” when they go on vacation. I am not a vacation home owner, but I’m sure that if I was looking to rent a home for a vacation I would probably choose one that was very different from my actual home. It would make sense to me to design a vacation home more like a resort than an actual home.

  9. vacation homes over hotels for the extra amenities they provide. One of the motivate guests to book a property is the kitchen. Cooking is a fantastic way for vacationers to save money and spend time with the friends or family they’re traveling with. So if you’re deciding where to spend your money, the kitchen is a good bet. As interior designer Mercedes Brennan said, people want to stay in a home they wish they had, so adding a luxurious kitchen can be a good investment.

  10. vacation home rentals can suffer a lot of wear and tear. For beachfront properties, this is especially true as sand gets everywhere, air conditioners run constantly, and families with children often are renters. Hardwood and tile floors are much easier to maintain than carpeting, while throw rugs can warm up a space and be tossed into the washing machine. For countertops, quartz and granite are both sturdy and stylish. Avoid materials that scratch easily such as soapstone and laminate.

  11. vacation home rentals can suffer a lot of wear and tear. For beachfront properties, this is especially true as sand gets everywhere, air conditioners run constantly, and families with children often are renters. Hardwood and tile floors are much easier to maintain than carpeting, while throw rugs can warm up a space and be tossed into the washing machine. For countertops, quartz and granite are both sturdy and stylish.

  12. A vacation home rental is to infuse local culture into the decor. Your guests have chosen the location for a reason, so find ways to incorporate its history and atmosphere. Shop in local stores for items that can only be found in the region, such as building materials, flowers and greenery, artwork, books on the history of the area, tasty treats, or luxurious bath products. This is a simple but fantastic way to help guests feel like they are experiencing the local flavor without even leaving the house!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Footer background

Let Us Know

© 2017 The Coastal Cottage Company. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Web Design