Vacation Rental Decorating Tips

Bright Colors

Is your rental unit living up to its full potential?

Furnishing a beach rental property is very different from furnishing your own home.   You need to utilize furniture and decor items that will withstand the wear and tear of weekly rental guests. Take a moment to consider your rental unit. Is it a relaxing, well appointed unit that you and your family would enjoy renting? Would you happily pay the asking price? Is it a place you would return to because it left such a wonderful impression? 

Vacationers want a colorful interior.

By far, fresh paint is the easiest way to update and reinvigorate a property!  Remember, your guests are usually only here for a week or two and want to actually feel like they are at the beach instead of their own home.  Don’t be afraid to put some color on those walls!  If need be – start with a few small steps – infusing some color in the living room, dining room and kitchen areas first!  Then you can work up to the bedrooms and baths.  Use hues of blue, green or coral.  Renters do not want to stay in a place with white walls. What if guests happen to come during a rainy week? Your condo decor should make them feel happy, no matter how gloomy the weather conditions outside!  Any step forward with color is a step in the right direction to “brighten up” your renter’s beach experience.  

Quality – not quantity! 

When it comes to accessories, less is more.  Filling your unit with too many accessories can make it look cluttered.  A few interesting, well placed things on the walls and throughout the unit will leave a positive lasting impression.  Discard any fake greenery or silk flower arrangements!  If you have any renters with allergies, they can be aggravated by the dust that collects on these.  Look for inexpensive artwork in unexpected places:

  • Look at pictures on calendars, they can be cut out and framed.
  • Post cards make great artwork in a multi-matted picture frame.
  • Find a fun piece of fabric and stretch it over a piece of canvas.
  • Take some of your own black and white beach photos and put them in some inexpensive frames painted in bright colors.

Make use of mirrors - they reflect the light!

Place a basket of shells on a table that guests can add to with their own finds.  Take an inexpensive large glass container and fill it with layers of different colors of dyed sand, then top it with a votive candle and some shells.  Slip covers can be beneficial in updating older furniture that is otherwise still in good condition.  Take your furniture up a notch and think pillows!  This is an east cost-effective way to freshen up furniture.  They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Update an older lamp with a new shade.  Just remember….keep it simple with a few well placed accessories rather than covering every square inch of space with “something”.  It allows your guests plenty of room for their personal items. 

Extend the life of your furniture!

Don’t wait until your upholstered furniture is visibly dirty to clean it.  Be sure to have furniture professionally cleaned at least once a year after the rental season and re-apply any stain protectorate, like Scotch Guard.  Make this upkeep a part of your routine when you come to the beach to check on your unit.

Let’s talk floors!

Keep tile or laminate flooring in all of the main living areas.  They are extremely durable and very forgiving!  Vacation renters inflict heavy use.  They track in sand and walk on carpets dripping wet.  Also, nothing is worse than walking into a condo with stained carpet. Save carpet for the “less traveled” areas of your unit.  The initial cost is worth the easy maintenance of not having to deal with continual cleaning and visible wear that comes with carpeting.

Don’t forget bedroom needs.

Bedrooms are best when minimally furnished, allowing for easier flow around the bed.  In addition to a bed and nightstands, each room needs one chest, preferably tall and narrow to save floor space and a bench for laying out an open suitcase.  One with cubbies below is perfect for luggage, personal gear and shoes.  A peg rack near the door is useful for hanging beach gear and extra towels. Make sure bedside tables are sturdy and have a pair of good, tall lamps so vacationers can read in bed.   A colorful bedspread with a print is preferable over a solid color since it will bring extra color into the room and hide small stains. Kids, especially, will come in from the beach with sunscreen on and plop on a bed, creating sunscreen stains. Bedspreads should be used instead of comforters as they go all the way to the floor & require no dust ruffles. Consider how well the spread will hold up to repeated laundering and avoid “dry clean only” bed coverings.

When working on property updates, put yourself in your guests' shoes.

Consider when you go on vacation and some of the small things that make a big difference to your stay. While it’s impossible to be all things to all people, the most important thing is to provide your guests a welcoming, clean, and enjoyable place to spend their vacation.