Design Your Dream Vacation Rental: Tips from Top Interior Designers that Will Wow Guests

Updated on August 29th, 2023

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Are you dreaming of creating the perfect vacation rental that will captivate guests and provide them with an unforgettable experience? Look no further, in this Redfin article we have gathered expert advice and insights from top interior designers and professionals in the industry who specialize in vacation rental designs. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to enhance your existing rental property, these valuable tips and tricks will guide you in crafting a space that is both visually stunning and functional. 

From selecting the right colors and furnishings for the perfect beach rental in Orlando to incorporating a thoughtful Southern styled apartment in Oklahoma City, join us on a journey to design your dream vacation rental that will leave a lasting impression on every guest who walks through the door.Packing and unpacking cloths on a bed   

1. Strike the perfect balance between function, style, and comfort when it comes to furniture

“I love to keep in mind when designing for vacation rentals or Airbnb’s the function of the space and furniture, as well as the feel,” shares Interiors by Lauren . “Style and comfort tend to be our first thought, but if you’re in an unfamiliar space, function and comfort allow for a peaceful visit. Sure, it would be nice to walk into a lavishly designed space, but if the furniture is unforgiving, your reviews will reflect that.”

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2. Create a home away from home experience with cozy decor and captivating visuals

“To make a more enjoyable stay, I suggest having everything operational for a stress-free home away from home experience,” suggests Bath and Rooms by Denise. “It’s always important to have a very clean property with a few nice touches of decorations that give it a cozy, homey feeling. Therefore, realistic and current pictures are a must for guests to select your rental and keep them coming back.”

business women relaxing at her hotel suite

3. Exceed guests expectations with high quality hospitality

“Today’s guests have high expectations of accommodation that is better than their own home,” says Vacation Rental Formula.”This means your short-term rental is not the place for cast-offs or bargain basement purchases. It’s for high-quality furniture, furnishings, and amenities, as well as a comprehensively equipped kitchen. Give them the experience they deserve.”

4. Use sustainable practices when finding rental decor for a greener and healthier short term stay

“I recommend holiday rental owners consider introducing eco-friendly aspects to their vacation property decor,” suggests Search and Stay. “Here are some suggestions for eco-friendly home decor for your holiday rental:

  • Use sustainable materials: Look for furniture made from sustainable materials like bamboo, reclaimed wood, or recycled plastic.
  • Choose organic fabrics: When selecting fabrics for your home, opt for organic materials such as cotton, linen, or hemp. These materials are grown without harmful pesticides and chemicals, making them safer for the environment and your health.
  • Select low VOC paint: Choose paint that is low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals released into the air. VOCs can contribute to indoor air pollution and have negative effects on your health.
  • Choose energy-efficient lighting: Use energy-efficient lighting, such as LED bulbs, which consume less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
  • Incorporate plants: Plants not only add aesthetic appeal to your home, but they also help improve air quality by filtering out toxins and pollutants.
  • Use natural cleaning products: Look for cleaning products made from natural and non-toxic ingredients, such as vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils.
  • Opt for vintage or upcycled decor: Consider purchasing vintage or upcycled decor items, which are sustainable and often more unique than mass-produced items.
  • Reduce waste: Choose products with minimal packaging and avoid single-use items whenever possible.
  • Support local artisans: Consider purchasing decor items from local artisans and craftsmen who use sustainable materials and production methods.
  • Use natural textiles: Look for natural textiles such as jute or sisal rugs, which are biodegradable and eco-friendly.”
  • man walking through the patio doors of his rental accommodation pulling a wheeled suitcase

5. Design an immersive experience that narrates your short term rental’s story 

“Rentals that are truly unique, with bright, inviting colors, serene locations, and quiet scenery, are my top selections. I love the personal touches that welcome me into my experience: a handwritten note, fresh flowers, and an invigorating fragrance that puts my mind at ease,” shares Adryin Glynn Designs.

“Curiosity, personal values, and principles speak loudly to me. Are the property owners conscious of the environment? Do they incorporate sustainability, have a garden, offer local snacks, gifts, honey, toiletries, or fresh eggs? Are domestic pets welcomed? Is there a theme to the rental? How do the property owners tie in local history? What’s the narrative of the location? Is there a guest book to sign in or a chalkboard to create pictures and messages for other guests?

For relaxation, all linens are crisp and fresh, including throws. A speaker is available just in case I have forgotten mine, as music is critical to me. My hope is that the rental tells a story of the property owner and the area. I love connecting with the environment in which I’m spending time and relaxing.”

6. Provide the little details that go a long way

“When it comes to vacation rentals, think through what each space needs to be comfortable and functional for guests,” recommends Lauren Parikh Interior Design. “Put out some extra throw pillows and blankets in the living area, make sure the kitchen is stocked with the basic necessities for preparing and serving a meal, and don’t forget the little things like a box of tissues and a small waste basket for every room. These extra touches can make or break the guest’s experience.”

Brother and sister with beach ball running on driveway

7. Transform the space with fun paint colors and design accents

“In my rentals, I always go for interesting paint colors that lend themselves to the location or period of the house. Aubergine and muddy pinks are personal favorites for my historic home,” says Alison Otterbein of On Delancey Place Interior Design. “The walls are the largest surface in the room, and color choice is the least expensive way to make a big impact. You might also consider painting your trim and/or the ceiling a contrasting color for a designer touch.”

8. Compliment your vacation rental’s design with its climate and location

“For guests to enjoy a rental property, it is best that it is designed to provide all the creature comforts of home while also giving them a fresh and welcoming experience that identifies with the climate and location’s amenities,” suggests Micheline Laberge. “In other words, if it is a beach property rental, it should have an interior design that caters to these guests, with easy-to-clean surfaces and fabrics that can withstand the sand, sun, and mildew. 

Neutral colors are always a plus, but adding soft beach tones like corals and aquas is expected and appreciated by guests. These colors provide a calm and serene interior that aligns with the relaxation intent of their vacation.

Additionally, I prefer to design these interiors in a tasteful classic style, avoiding too many trendy items. This approach enhances the serenity of the interior design and ensures longevity for the rental, ultimately reducing costs for future remodels.”

Inside a typical Australian beach vacationhouse

9. Essential amenities to include in your vacation rental

“Provide amenities such as phone chargers, coffee grinders, water filters, speakers, and desks with comfortable chairs for guests who need to sit for extended periods,” insists Koloa Kai. In tropical areas, air conditioning is becoming a necessity. A/C extends the lifespan of appliances and electronics and keeps guests in a better mood, resulting in better reviews.”

10. Create an inviting outdoor space

“Outside areas should be inviting and comfortable, so invest in quality outdoor furniture,” recommends Koloa Kai. “Provide a space for meals, barbecues, and game rooms with foosball, pool, and ping pong. Set up game areas outside for volleyball, croquet, badminton, corn hole, and a few golf holes. Private pools are highly demanded and can pay for themselves through rental income and increased property resale value. Hot tubs and fire pits are always popular.”

koloa kai vacation rental property outdoor furniture on patio

Courtesy of Koloa Kai

11. Choose an optimal bedroom design with spacious layout and comfort

“Design bedrooms with enough space for king beds. Walk-in closets are not necessary; regular closets, dressers, and nightstands with lamps will suffice. Ideally, there should be an equal number of bathrooms to bedrooms,” says Koloa Kai.

“Privacy and noise should be considered. Bedrooms should be quiet with double-wall construction, and family rooms should be located away from sleeping areas. The kitchens should be spacious, with a dining room or eating area.”

12. Have a balance of stylish and comfortable furniture

“Avoid rattan furniture and opt for comfortable, cushy sectionals,” says Koloa Kai. “Hang large artwork instead of cluttering the walls with small pictures. Choose bedspreads that aren’t too busy and minimize the number of knick-knacks. Install modern lighting fixtures and fans.”

13. Add a thoughtful lighting design

“Thoughtful lighting design in the home is a must. Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the ambiance of any space. Utilize a combination of natural light, ambient lighting, and task lighting to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere,” recommends Carl  Curnutte from Twiddy & Company. “Install dimmer switches to provide guests with control over the lighting intensity, allowing them to adjust it according to their preferences. Adding lighting to artwork throughout the home will create a warm and inviting feeling at night.

Outdoor lighting is essential as it creates another space within the home and adds a fun element. Incorporate decorative lanterns in various styles and sizes. You can hang them from trees or place them on tables or along pathways. Opt for lanterns with flickering LED candles for a cozy and magical feel. Set up outdoor projectors to display fun and captivating images or patterns on walls, trees, or other surfaces. This can create a mesmerizing visual display and add an element of entertainment to your outdoor lighting.”

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Holly Hooper

Holly is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and lifestyle. Her dream home would incorporate both an industrial and biophilic design.

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