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How to Furnish Your Vacation Rental Home Like A Pro

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When setting up your vacation rental home, one key factor must be on point— the interior design. Your goal is to create an investment home that appeals to the widest possible audience of renters. You want your space to draw potential guests in with soothing colors and sumptuous surroundings. 

Your home should also photograph beautifully— most travelers base their booking decisions on photos alone. As the vacation rental market expands, it’s more important than ever for your short term rental home to stand out from the crowd. And quality interior design is one of the best ways to showcase your home.

We’ve compiled a few key pointers to help you furnish your vacation rental home so that you appeal to the largest amount of renters. Whether you are starting with a blank slate, or you’re updating a furnished house, PMI Aspen Snowmass is here to help. Follow our nine tips below for a flawless, picture-perfect vacation rental home.

1. Remove Personal Items

You want your short term rental home to be as comfortable as possible. For you, this may mean lots of personal photos of loved ones. Or souvenirs from a memorable trip. But for your guests, looking at personal photos and keepsakes of strangers can be a bit— well, awkward. Although vacation rental guests are looking for a more “homey” experience than a typical hotel, most admit they don’t like seeing personal memorabilia in their rental. 

We advise that you declare one closet in your home an “owner’s closet.” Here, you can lock personal items away when you are not there. When you stay in your home, the items are easily accessible. Remove all personal photographs, homemade artwork, clothing, and toiletries. Lock them away in your owner’s closet before you leave.

2. Stay Neutral

Chamonix Cooper - PMI Aspen Snowmass 720 East Durant Unit E-7 Aspen, CO 81611

Your own home should reflect your personal style and preferences. But your vacation rental decor should appeal to a large audience. Keep the major pieces in your vacation rental home a neutral shade. Cover upholstered furniture such as sofas, armchairs, dining room chairs, and headboards in soothing shades like gray or cream. 

Paint the walls white, light gray, or cream. Add pops of more expressive color to pillows, throws, rugs, and artwork. Bathroom tile work should be spa-like and peaceful. Think classic Carrera marble and clean, white subway tiles. Check out this home for some gorgeous neutral design ideas.

3. Invest in Durability

You want your vacation rental home to be homey, comfortable and inviting. But you also need home furnishings that stand up to the wear-and-tear of regular renters. Invest in high-quality, durable pieces that can withstand a lot of use while still appearing classic and comfortable. 

Instead of an antique dining table with wobbly legs, invest in a substantial piece that will hold up to high traffic. For wood furniture, choose darker finishes. Scuffs on darker wood can be covered up easier than marks on lighter woods. Skip the wall-to-wall carpet which can get worn easily. Install good quality wood floors, tile, or durable, waterproof laminate flooring instead. 

4. Cater to Your Ideal Guest When Furnishing a Rental Property

Before you get started with a design plan, ask yourself— who is your ideal guest? Have a clear picture in your mind of your perfect traveler. Is it a family traveling with young children? A group of friends looking for an annual ski getaway tradition? A honeymooning couple wanting privacy and romance? Once you have your ideal guest in mind, add elements to your interior design that will appeal to them. 

For families, have kid-friendly furniture and dishware on hand. If your ideal guests include large groups of friends, have lots of lounging space so they can relax together. Want to attract more business travelers? Add a desk and a dedicated workspace.

5. Reflect the Area

Cascade - PMI Aspen Snowmass 720 East Durant Unit E-7 Aspen, CO 81611

Consider the area where your home is located. Aspen and Snowmass travelers are seeking luxury, coziness, and classic, rustic mountain design. 

So choose furniture that creates this ambiance for your guests. You wouldn’t decorate a beach house with flannel blankets and pine wreaths. Don’t decorate your Aspen or Snowmass vacation rental home with surfboards and seashells. 

Add mountain-themed elements like wood beams, fire pits, stone accents, and evergreens. Keep it clean and simple, and be careful not to get too kitschy. Take a look at this beautifully designed home for some rugged Aspen inspiration.

6. Keep it Cozy

Although you want your home to be durable to high traffic, you still need to maintain a warmth that will keep renters coming back year after year. Your short term rental home should be as durable as a hotel room while feeling homey too. It’s a tall order! So invest in cozy. 

A warm, fluffy blanket thrown over an armchair. A sumptuous area rug next to the bed. Extra-large coffee mugs and sparkling wine goblets. Little thoughtful touches like these go a long way in providing extra comfort to your future guests—and making them want to return.

7. Focus on Lighting

One quick tip to add drama and a feeling of luxury to your vacation rental home— install dimmers. Having the option to dim lights will immediately add a feeling of warmth and spaciousness to any room. Use lighting to define spaces as well. Make sure the lighting in the bathroom vanity area and the kitchen are bright and gleaming. The living room area should have a flexible mix of floor and table lamps. The bedroom should have cozy bedside reading lamps. 

Invest in long-lasting LED light bulbs so you don’t have to worry about a bulb burning out during a guest’s stay. Also, add a “light check” to your pre-guest checklist to make sure all light bulbs are working. A common online gripe from guests is burnt-out lightbulbs. It makes the home feel neglected.

8. Provide Plenty of Storage

Smuggler Grove - PMI Aspen Snowmass 720 East Durant Unit E-7 Aspen, CO 81611

Guests staying at a vacation rental home are generally staying for a week—sometimes more. Make sure you offer plenty of storage space for guests to unpack and settle in. This can have a big impact on how your guests feel about their rental experience.

Dresser drawers should be empty, clean, and work well. Closets should be empty and stocked with high-quality hangers. Bedside tables should have working drawers. Bathroom vanity drawers should be empty and sparkling clean. Install hooks on the back of the bathroom and bedroom doors. Explore this home for awesome bedroom storage ideas.

9. Finish the Look 

A vacation rental home is a second home. Sometimes that can make it feel like an afterthought. Since you don’t spend much time there, your vacation rental can get a bit overlooked if you’re not careful. But don’t forget, for your guests this will be their home away from home. So, when you decide how to furnish your vacation rental home, go the extra mile to make sure your design is complete. 

Every room should have artwork and a few options for lighting. Tile and wood floors should all have area rugs. Finish all trim work, and cover all electrical outlets. All windows should have curtains or window treatments. Stock your bookshelves. Add a few items of interest to shelves and mantle pieces.

Beyond the basics of home decor and design, your goal is to maximize your vacation rental home investment by keeping your booking calendar full of happy guests. Accomplish this by investing time and effort into an appealing and timeless design plan. You might even consider hiring a professional decorator. Your home should photograph well, look great online, and attract the widest range of potential renters.

For help furnishing your vacation rental, contact one of the experts at PMI Aspen Snowmass. With years of experience in the Aspen and Snowmass vacation rental market, we can provide you with the guidance and resources to help design your home to provide the greatest return on your investment.