Vacation Rental Design: 7 Essentials for Getting the Most Rental Income

As the vacation home rental industry continues to grow exponentially, many people are choosing to add a vacation rental to their investment portfolio. However, to maximize rental potential, vacation homeowners need to consider several design elements before putting up the “for rent” sign. Below are some key things to have in your space in order to stand out from the competition and drive ultimate return on investment.

Know your target audience

Do you own a mountain retreat or a cottage by the beach? The first step to creating an amazing vacation rental experience for your guests is to know what they like and what they will expect. If you’ll be catering to families with kids, it’s important to create spaces where kids can play, and grown-ups can enjoy some downtime. If you plan on appealing to luxury travelers, updated & quality décor, along with deluxe linens and unique amenities are key. Do some research on other vacation rentals in your area to get a sense of what’s popular and how you can make your property stand out.

Start with the technology

Security and ease of use should be top of mind with every vacation rental homeowner. In order to know who is coming and going at your property, we recommend installing a video doorbell camera, wireless deadbolt, and a wireless security system. Additionally, you will want to be able to control the thermostat & the lights while the property is not in use. Systems like a Nest Home or Simply Safe work well. And don’t forget the threat of water damage! Consider installing a smart water leak detector to ward off any catastrophic water damage that may occur due to overflowing bathtubs, pipes breaking, or water heater failures.

First impressions are everything

Professional photos of your rental are key to getting attention and making sure that your property will stand apart from the competition. Work with a trusted real estate photographer to take photos of your space that you can use to market the property. And don’t forget the staging! Set the table so guests know how many people can sit and eat. Make the beds, turn on all the lights, showcase unique amenities, and refresh the front entry to showcase a warm and inviting home.

 Don’t skimp on the linens & amenities vacation home rental bedding

Nothing is worse than being away from home and having a poor night’s sleep. Purchase linens that are soft and cozy but also easy to clean. Our favorites are high thread count sheets from HC Collection and cotton towels from American Soft Linen. And don’t forget the mattress protector, which is a MUST on all beds in a vacation rental.  A great mattress and appropriately themed bedding for your location are also a must. Work to coordinate bedding with other accessories in the room and buy at least 2 sets for each bedroom so that you have extras should something get soiled. Additionally, if you have a vacation home in a seasonal location, don’t forget to have lighter and heavier blankets on hand so that your guests are comfortable no matter what the weather may bring.

Create that unique “Instagramable” moment

Who doesn’t love to document their vacation on social media? In order to drive excitement for your property, consider creating a truly unique visual in your space that guests will be proud to brag about. From a unique feature wall in the bedroom to the perfect lounging space on an outside deck – firepit and all – think about which spaces in your home will be most photogenic and capitalize on those areas. *Bonus tip – give your vacation home a uniquely branded name and create social media accounts for the home. Ask guests check-in at those locations and tag the property when posting to social media.

Maximize the space

Making the most of the space within your vacation home is key to getting maximum rental income. At the same time, you want to be mindful not to overcrowd rooms with furniture & accessories, which will make them seem cramped. Consider hiring an interior designer to come up with unique furniture options and/or a space plan so you get a good idea of how to utilize each room for maximum rental potential. Various formations of bunk beds, dining tables, coffee tables, and bedroom furniture placement can allow for more renters and better use of the space, which will equal more rental income in your pocket!

Light it up

Proper lighting in good working condition is very important to any vacation rental. Again, consider how your guests are going to be using the space and plan accordingly to properly light a room. Bedrooms should all be equipped with some overhead lights, as well as bedside lamps that can be used while your guests read or watch TV. Dining areas should have a chandelier or pendant lights to adequately light the space. And don’t forget the layers! All rooms should have various lighting sources that will work as task lights or ambient lighting, depending on what your guests are doing in the space. *Bonus tip – double-check all outlets and lamp cords for defects or needed repairs. Missing electrical outlets or lamps in poor repair can become a major safety hazard.

We’re here to help

Ready to take your vacation home to the next level? Feel free to reach us via email or phone for your free design discovery call today. We work with homeowners to create inviting and unique vacation rental properties – curating everything from the furniture to the silverware. 480-613-6537 or

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