What You Need to Know About Furnishing a Short-Term Vacation Rental in Your Home

By Suchi Rudra

Are you wondering if it’s the right time to set up a short-term vacation rental business in your home? According to experts, 40 percent of Americans have never stayed in a vacation rental, but the market is ripe with opportunity. Large hotel companies like Hyatt are getting in on the action, vacation rental service start-ups are creating successful apps, and existing players like Airbnb and HomeAway are upping their game with sleeker platforms for a more seamless booking experience.

If you want to be successful in this corner of the real estate market, you need to deck your house or apartment out with the right furniture, appliances, and accessories. Consider these ideas to help you select and arrange the most appropriate pieces without spending a fortune.

Themes and Color Schemes

Does the home have a theme that ties all the décor and furniture together? You could go for wicker furniture with comfy cushions if you’re renting a beach cottage, or opt for textured pieces with a vintage look for a bohemian-chic house in the countryside. Geometric shapes and patterns with bold designs may fit the style of a minimalist apartment in the city center.

Concentrating on color is another way to approach a theme. Mercedes Brennan, the owner of vacation rental interior design firm 1 Chic Retreat, says that including blue in your color scheme can turn your space into a winner.

“Too many people use browns, tans, and other earth-toned neutrals in their interiors, and the rooms end up feeling like the Sahara Desert. Think about how the ocean, a blue sky, and a mountain lake make you feel. Great, right? Well, all those elements are blue and hold those natural associations for people, which is especially important on vacation. Try blue pillows, a blue upholstered chair, or a blue rug to create a feel-good space.”

Think about a name for your theme. When you can name a vacation rental listing based on the theme of the space, it’s much easier for potential guests to get a feeling for what to expect, and that means satisfied guests.

Think About Comfort

Because guests usually rent vacation homes for actual vacations, they want furniture that has a vacation-friendly vibe.

“People spend more time laying down and sitting in a vacation rental than they do in their own home,” says Brennan. “So make sure your sofa has comfortable arms on which to lay a head or elbow and that your bedroom’s headboard is soft enough for a guest to lean against. Think soothing and soft instead of hard and cold.”

Think About Cleaning

Similarly, you should consider how easy or difficult it is to keep the furniture clean and dust-free, and choose your furniture accordingly. It’s always possible to rent furniture to determine the best options for your space without making a large financial commitment. Make sure your place is spotless before and after every guest, especially if you charge a cleaning fee for each booking. Many vacation rental platforms ask guests to specifically rate the cleanliness of their rentals, making easy-to-clean and maintain materials a top priority.

Place a Booking Magnet in Every Room

Humans are visual creatures, and your listing’s promotional photos can either make or break you in the vacation rental game. Hire a professional photographer to take the photos, and make sure each room has a visually appealing focal point. When a piece of furniture, artwork, or a rug is stunning, it captures the attention of potential guests. That’s what Brennan calls a “booking magnet,” a feature that has enough visual impact to lead to instant bookings.

A booking magnet could be a brightly patterned rug, painted furniture, unusual pillows, or a large-scale photograph that draws the eye. Exotic or quirky souvenirs from your own travels sometimes make great booking magnets.

If you want to test the waters of short-term rentals, it’s easy to rent the furniture you need to revamp your home for guests. CORT Furniture Rental offers a huge variety of styles to help you create the right theme for your space, and the entire rental process can be handled online with no hassle. You can also rent small kitchen appliances and housewares to stock the essentials for guests.

When it comes to vacation home rentals, it’s important to stand out from the competition. Focus on the details, and you may find yourself with a steady stream of guests who are happy to leave you raving reviews.