Decorating Short-Term Rentals

Eddie Carroll

06 February 2023

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Vacation Rental Decoration Tips

Decorative STRHow do I make my vacation rentals stand out?


That’s a recurring question across the short-term rental industry. And sometimes, the answer is pretty simple: decorate.


Property managers already have a lot on their plates, so decorating and tying themes together might seem superfluous.


But you don’t need a degree in vacation rental interior design to make your properties look nice. Here are five quick vacation rental decoration tips that property managers can use right now to make vacation rentals stand out on Airbnb, Vrbo,, and other OTAs. 



Tell a Story with Your Style

Decorating vacation homes

Vacation rental decoration tips: Tell a story

Many property managers like their rental decor to reflect location. A cottage in Hilton Head 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.



Don’t Cut Corners on Furniture & Lighting

How to Decorate Vacation Rental

Invest in your investment

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.



Know the Difference Between Flaws & Features


Vacation Home Interior Design

It ain’t old, it’s vintage!

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, eagle-eyed 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, 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. 



Provide Space for Storage

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 it when they have dedicated areas to stow away all their belongings. 



Complete the Look

Vacation Rental Decoration Tips

A little TLC goes a long way

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 cozy temporary homes. 

But not every inch of unoccupied space needs to be decorated. 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.

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