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Vacation Homes - Designing for Family, Friends, Even Rental Guests!

Summertime is in full swing! We're all in vacation mode and we want to make the most out of it. While the warm weather has everyone enjoying the outdoors more, it's still important that we enjoy our vacation homes indoors just as much as we do relaxing at the beach. So join us this month to learn all about how to design the ideal vacation abode, whether it's for our family and friends or for the rental guests you may have!

Our vacation homes may be temporary dwellings but we still want them to feel like home. But how do we do this when we only spend part of our time there? There’s more ways than you might think! Who, What, Where, and When are the questions to start with:

  1. Who are you designing/decorating for? Is it family only? Will friends visit as well? Will this property serve as a rental to guests?

  2. What will you do in your vacation home? Is it just a place to eat, sleep and shower? Will it be for entertaining and enjoying the space in between other getaway activities? Realistically, how much time will be spent here?

  3. Where is your home located? Where are the best views from it? How much does the location dictate what can and can’t be done here?

  4. When are you visiting this vacation home? Primarily summer, winter, or year round?

Now let’s break each one down and talk about the HOW to best design based on the answers to those questions.

  • The Who

  • If it’s mostly family spending their time there, you want it to be just as comfortable as your everyday home. Feel free to replicate some design ideas and styles for consistency. Reuse color schemes but mix up how you use them. Purchase the same brand of towels, linens and bed sheets as you have at home, but in different patterns or colors. But this is also a great chance to experiment! Maybe you want to try some new design styles out, this is a great place for it. That being said, consider what design elements and aesthetics make you feel the most at home. If you feel most comfortable in a simple, minimalist design, don’t go crazy with the colors and decor, and vice versa if you enjoy a more maximalist design approach. At the end of a long beach day or a hike through the mountains, be sure you’re coming home to a design that feels familiar to you.

  • Planning on having extended family and friends enjoy your home away from home also? There’s plenty that can be done to amplify their experience. While they may be guests, they still want privacy and a quiet comfortable place to sleep. Be sure to offer room for them where they feel like they have their own space when needed. Flexible living spaces are great for having guests! A small sitting room for guests can double as a play area for your children. Create a breakfast nook for morning coffee that can double as an area to enjoy a game night. Plan your bathrooms to be as flexible as possible. Every guest room doesn’t need a dedicated bathroom (although it is nice if you can), but plan for flexibility. Showers should be a minimum 36” x 42”. And be sure that anything a guest might need is in an easily accessible and visible spot through the home, the less they have to ask for things, the more comfortable they’ll feel!

  • Rental guests require much of the same things as previously mentioned, but there are a number of things to consider that will elevate their experience and get you those great Airbnb or Vrbo reviews!

  • Well stocked rooms. This means everything from towels and linens for the bathrooms and bedrooms, to toiletries in case they forget some of their own. Coffee, tea, sugar, etc for the kitchen as well as all the essentials needed for cooking

  • An updated and well decorated space speaks to rental guests. Neutral palettes will always be a safe bet. But there’s also a want for themed or eclectically designed spaces, to add to the fun of being on vacation. This can be successful if it’s not overboard or tacky. Updated, quality furniture is a must in rentals. No one wants to pay to sit and sleep on old, overused furniture. Return on investment in good furniture and finishes will show through when you get positive feedback from guests and more bookings.

  • Clean and organized! Most of us go on vacation to take a break from the busyness of our lives, from the everyday chores and daily routines. A rental vacation home that is cluttered or crowded can feel chaotic and unrestful. You can provide a well stocked rental while still maintaining a clean, organized aesthetic. Choosing the right kinds of rugs, fabrics, finishes, etc is also crucial to the cleanliness of your rental space. For more information and a great rental design program, visit the Vacasa Vacation Rental Interior Design Program.

  • Amenities, amenities, amenities. They often do not need to be fancy or exuberant, but rather practical and useful. You want the amenities you provide to make your rental guests’ stay easy and seamless. The question to ask is: What experience are your guests aiming for? Are your guests on vacation? A beach trip? A cozy wintry weekend with a book and a crackling fire? Consider what guests will need to experience their ultimate stay. Chopped firewood? A cabinet full of family-fun games? Beach towels? A bike? Robes and slippers? A s’mores kit? Give your guests what they need and win their hearts and their next reservation!

  • The What

  • Every great design starts with an intention. Starting first with how you want the experience to feel informs the rest of your design. If you plan to mostly use this home as a place to eat and sleep in between all the leisurely activities you’ll be doing in the area, then how do you design for this? Invest in the bedrooms, purchase good quality furniture and make these rooms as relaxing, inviting and restful as possible. There’s nothing worse than a busy day out, enjoying all that the area has to offer, than coming home to an uncomfortable bed and getting a crummy night's sleep. It’s hard to enjoy a good hike, ski or beach day when you’re overtired.

  • If you plan to entertain and host in your vacation abode, put a lot of love into the dining area, living room, and outdoor areas. This is another opportunity to invest in quality furniture that will withstand a lot of use. Consider using high performance fabrics that are easy to clean. A well designed and large kitchen can make such a difference in entertaining. Just as much as people love dining out while on vaca, they love having a fun, entertaining dinner party at their abode as well.

  • Your vacation home is the family retreat. Make it feel that way! Create an oasis for you and your family. Focus on designing the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces in a way that encourages a relaxing experience while also bringing the family together in the main areas such as the living room and kitchen. Adding touches of luxury will make this getaway spot feel that much more special. And even if you don’t have the budget for high end luxury adds, you can still make design decisions that will give your home a luxe feel. Pay special attention to finishes. These days, there are plenty of faux finishes available that can give you a look similar to more costly materials for a fraction of the price.

  • Overall, whether this is a place for simply rest or a full on retreat, you want to make it as inviting and comfortable as possible. Investing in quality furniture, finishes and accessories on the front end will save you money in the long run.

  • The Where

  • Beach house? Winter ski cabin? Condo in your favorite city? Regardless of where your vacation home is located, it’s about making the best use of the location and ALSO choosing the best location. You’ll want to make the location choice wisely before purchasing. If you need a quiet retreat, choosing a home in a busy shore town isn’t your best bet. When choosing a winter location, be sure that you’ll have the means for transportation there and back depending on the weather. If you want to be close to your favorite city without the hassle of city living, choosing a suburb area on the edge of that city is ideal.

  • A great view! Many vacation homes come with a view and it’s something we want to accentuate. Design around it. Place furniture, kitchen islands, sitting areas, strategically to enjoy the view. Make it a focal point and a motivator for the areas around and in front of it. Don’t let a good view go to waste, it’s one of the best perks of having a vacation home!

  • The When

  • Depending on the time of year you plan to use this property the most can dictate a lot about the design. For instance, if you have that great view, through a big window with direct sunlight, but you only use the home half the year or for one season, be sure to have good blinds or curtains to close it up while you’re gone. Long term sun exposure can damage certain fabrics and finishes.

  • Keep your vacation home stocked with necessary accessories and tools that are weather appropriate. While most wouldn’t think of winterizing a home on a mountain top is design related, without proper measures taken for the weather, the design of your home could suffer from things such as flooding, frozen/bursting pipes, etc. You don’t want to have to have stressful situations occur in your vacation home but it’s better to be prepared for them. When you DON’T use your getaway is just as important to consider as when you do use it.

Well, there you have it! The ultimate vacation home design guide. But this is only the start. Just like our everyday homes, there’s so many things to consider when designing our living spaces. Whether they’re permanent or temporary, we want them to look and feel like home, to provide the enjoyment and comfort we need. Bella Home Interiors realizes your design dreams and considers all the factors that are needed to guide you through your design journey! Make an appointment today for your design consultation!

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