A successful vacation-rental business has a lot of moving parts. As a property manager, you’re most likely responsible for knowing quite a bit—from revenue management down to strategies to increase your bookings, the list never seems to end.
But look: you don’t need a degree in vacation rental interior design to make your properties look genuinely nice. A common question in this industry is, “How do I make my vacation rental stand out?” That’s a multi-faceted topic with many moving parts of its own, but ultimately, it starts with a basic task: decorating!
Here are five quick vacation rental decoration tips that you can put into motion right now to set yourself apart from the competition.
Many property managers like their rental decor to reflect location. A cottage in Hilton Head, for instance, might sport a shabby chic look, while a cabin in Breckenridge might necessitate more rustic touches. Either way, it’s typically best to start with neutral color schemes and add pops of personality as you go. Avoiding “loud” decor—bright paint colors, bizarre pieces of art, and so on—is generally a good idea, since that eccentricity won’t appeal to every guest.
But that’s not to say you can’t infuse your rentals with some pizazz, or even with bits of your own personality. It’s all about striking a balance, and if you’re able to supplement traditional decor with custom or vintage pieces, that can add layers of intrigue to your rentals all while telling a story.
You definitely want to invest in durable, high-quality furniture, including couches and tables that are difficult to stain, scratch, scuff, or break. Your rental furniture is going to pick up some dings along the way, but taking the plunge for quality pieces can save you big in the long run. Not to mention, it just looks nicer.
Lighting, meanwhile, is easy to overlook. But it can actually be a major component of the vibe and appearance of your rentals. Some types of lighting create an illusion of spaciousness, while others simply make guests feel more at home (like a bedside lamp). Again, it’s worth investing in high-quality light fixtures, as well as energy-efficient bulbs that won’t burn out and leave your visitors fumbling around in the dark.
Maybe you’ve found yourself wondering this in the past: “Will guests notice that?” The answer is yes, they absolutely will notice that, whatever “that” might be. Whether it’s a stain on the sofa or a tear in the wallpaper, guests have a knack for spotting blemishes and they write their reviews accordingly.
Not all flaws are created equal, however: slightly chipped tiles or weathered bricks could actually make an older, more vintage-style space all the more endearing. The point is, don’t confuse features for flaws—some blemishes need to be fixed or covered up, but others can actually work to your advantage.
Storage is one of those things that’s pretty easy to take for granted in your own home. But when travelers arrive at your rental properties, one of the first things they’ll probably want to do is settle down and put stuff away—especially if they’re in for an extended stay. Storage space isn’t an exciting decor element by any stretch of the imagination, but guests appreciate when they have dedicated areas to stow away all their belongings.
Lastly, don’t forget to tie up any loose ends. Little things—like filling empty bookshelves with actual books, putting rugs down on bare floors, and populating empty wall space with artwork and pictures—are truly the finishing touches that transform your vacation rentals into temporary homes.
Not every inch of unoccupied space needs to be decorated, though; remember, guests want to relax, and unnecessary clutter could hinder their path to completely escaping the chaos of daily life. Instead, remain thoughtful throughout the decorating process, from the big stuff to the small stuff and everything in between. Guests do notice that level of care, and in the end, it really is the thought that counts.