Now that folks are traveling in droves again, business for our clients who own vacation rentals is booming. Not that it was ever dead, but there was a drop immediately after COVID hit in 2019 followed by a slow but steady rise.

Truth is, vacation rentals have always been a popular mode for travel, ideally combining the comforts of home with the excitement of someplace different. It’s this last word we focus on as we try to create unique and memorable experiences for guests while sticking to (usually strict) budgets.

According to vacation management software company Lodgify, “different textures and patters result in lasting sensory experience and can release positive emotions.” This is why Grandma’s old chair and quilt just won’t cover it.

The following are what we’ve found to be the top criteria when designing and decorating vacation rentals:

Use a location-relevant concept

Having an overall design concept in mind is key to creating a unified and professional look in your rental. While it would seem obvious not to go with coastal decor in the desert, you’d be surprised at how many hosts decide to just throw the extra “fish” pillows, their seashell collections and hammocks from their sold bungalow by the beach into their new condo in Tucson.

Taking the time to carefully think out the overall ambience and the location-relevant decor details pays dividends in not only more searches and bookings (the listing photos speak) but in creating the memorable atmosphere today’s sophisticated travelers crave.

Don’t clutter

Conversely, some hosts decide to go a bit overboard with a specific decor theme to the point of having every wall and pillow delivering cutesy messages (don’t even get us started on that…) and every table covered with trinkets (say NO to golf-themed vases!). Guests want some “white space” so their minds can relax and places to put their own things. As Coco Chanel used to say: put on three things, take one off.

Be creative…even a bit wild

Unlike long-term rentals where you may want to go all-vanilla, vacation rentals are a place to be bold and beautiful. Wall paper, dark wall colors, whimsical art and fun furnishings create conversation and memories.

Carve out function zones

This last one Airbnb strongly promotes, and we agree, space permitting, of course. A cozy window corner with a comfortable chair for reading; a desk in a smaller closet for working (you need minimal closets in short-term rentals); a special wine or coffee bar; even small table and chairs for the littles ensure the entire family finds their happy place somewhere.

One of the most popular features in vacation rentals: a dedicated coffee bar

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