Checklist of Furnishing Your Vacation Rental Property
OVERALL THEME/STYLE, COLORS
Your rental should reflect the area and region in which it is located because guests expect that. Coastal vibes are appropriate for a coastal location, as are mountainous themes best suited for the mountains. Other styles such as urban/contemporary are more likely to be found in metropolitan areas.
Some themes and styles complement each other beautifully such as a coastal - shabby chic - cottage style. Or you can feature a modern coastal vs. traditional nostalgic coastal or contemporary mountain rustic vs. traditional mountain rustic. Don't forget that your appeal should be to a range of guests, not entirely masculine nor feminine unless that is your target market. IE, a remote, rustic fishing cabin compared with a frilly, vintage Queen Anne or Victorian type of ambiance.
Be consistent throughout. If you are going with a sophisticated urban style, don't introduce a modern farmhouse vibe in a bedroom or bathroom.
Some theme/styles ideas include, but are not limited to the following:
THEME/STYLES: Coastal, modern/contemporary, urban, traditional or modern farmhouse, rustic, cottage, eclectic, shabby chic, Tuscan, tropical, Bohemian, vintage, early American, Victorian, Queen Anne, etc.
COLORS: Coastal blues, greens, yellow and white, Earthy, neutrals, monochromatic, bold, pastel, black/white, etc.
Rentals take a beating and it isn't only because of carelessness. The effects of nature also create havoc on your furnishings including sunlight and wind. Avoid unnecessary glass and breakables in your rental. By that, I mean why cause someone the agony of feeling bad when a glass table lamp is knocked over and broken from an accident or wind tunnel effect? Go with durable metal or wood instead. No one wants to spend their time away repairing or replacing broken items and it's a headache for you too.
Necessary glass includes specialty glass cut and polished to the exact size of all of your furniture surfaces and tabletops. It can be costly, but long term it protects the surfaces from scratches, stains and water damage from sweaty glassware.
Area rugs, pillows, accessories, bedding, linens, dishes, glassware, cookware, utensils and much more should be chosen with durability in mind.
EASE TO CLEAN
Whether you or your housekeeping staff are cleaning your rental, it should be easy to take care of from floor to ceiling.
Avoid "dust-collectors" such as fake plants, fabric head board or porous accessories and anything that will show too much dust over time.
Most housekeeping arrangements include cleaning the basics. Dangling pendant lights and elaborate mirrors, ceiling fans and chandeliers look beautiful, but keep in mind they can require extra efforts to keep clean. If you have wall art everywhere, it also needs dusted and cleaned. Be prepared to pay for regular deep cleans if you have more complicated furnishings.
Lighting is essential for every room and should not be overlooked. Bright lighting and lights with dimmable switches suit multiple purposes.
Furnish your rental with an adequate number of lamps, wall sconces and lighting. Bedrooms should have lights on either side of the bed, plus a lamp on the dresser and/or an overhead light.
Bathrooms should be brightly lit with vanity and overhead lighting. No one wants to spend time in any dark, poorly lit room.
Don't overlook nightlights. There are lighted switch plates available with sensors that can be installed in key areas to provide lighting at night. This helps your guests avoid tripping and falling and it saves energy. You don't want guests to have to resort to leaving regular lamps on all night to serve as a nightlight.
I shouldn't have to remind anyone of this, but here we go anyway. Provide enough of everything for the maximum number of guests that your rental accommodates. If your rental sleeps six guests, then your furniture/seating, linens and towels, cookware, plates, utensils and so forth should accommodate that number of guests.
I have seen online rentals that can host six or eight guests, yet there's an image of just four chairs around a small dining room table. If you are being conservative and only have two sets of towels and wash cloths per bathroom, yet there are up to eight guests, someone is going to be doing a lot of laundry, which ultimately adds wear and tear to not only your washing machine, but your electric bill will be proportionately higher.
As a guideline, a rental should have at least twice as much as silverware, glassware and plates as the maximum number of guests. This means a minimum of 12 of everything for six guests, 16 for eight and so forth.
ELEMENTS OF FUN / MEMORABLE
Ensure that there are some elements of fun in your vacation rental. This could be a lovely selfie-spot or a playful mural or accessories in the children's bunk room. If you rent out a vacation house with a private pool, oversized flotation devices such as swans and unicorns are a fun surprise. If your rental is located near a landmark such as Disney, a homage to the region is nice with some sort of mementos incorporated into the decor.
When your potential guests are shopping online for a rental, make sure your place is noticed and remembered for all the right reasons. It could be your stunning view/s, a beautiful chandelier, a stunning fireplace, gorgeous furniture, architectural elements, lighting fixture or accessory, mural or wall art that is particularly memorable or perhaps something else noteworthy. You want the potential guests to say, "I want the property that had the amazing dining room with seating for eight." Or "The place with the stunning electric fireplace with glass rocks and mountain view."
ROOM BY ROOM
Consider each room and the features you want to highlight or downplay. Features include a great view, fireplace, large television, wall art, built-in bookcases, furniture such as a buffet and interesting finishes such as bead board, board and batten, shiplap and crown molding.
Downplay windows without a view, walls or ceilings with unattractive finishes and problem areas such as an awkward layout or flow.
Show restraint with accessories and wall art. Your rental should not be a hot mess overload of your style/theme. The goal is uncluttered, clean and fresh.
Install mirrors where appropriate including one or two in the main living space. Full length mirrors belong in every bedroom. Bathrooms should have good-sized mirrors. Don't fall for trends of replacing large, sturdy bathroom mirrors with mirrors that are too small, practicality is more important.
A little bit of word art and sayings on the wall and so forth goes a very long way. No one needs a sign telling them to "RELAX" or "EAT." It's annoying and the last thing you want to do is provoke your guests with silly messages or cause them to remove your signage into a closet during their stay. If in doubt, don't include any word art or signage. If you feel compelled, make sure it is tasteful and understated.
--Welcome mat/s and area rugs
--At least one element to make the entrance inviting such as wall art, mirror/s, a drop zone, bench and place for shoes, depending on how much space you have.
--The entry way should be well lit.
MAIN ROOM + DINING:
--Comfortable, cohesive, consistent furniture and wall art and/or mirrors
--Properly sized furniture, including a spacious multi-functional dining table with adequate, sturdy seating. Even if you don't think your guests will be eating at the table very often, they may need space for game night, crafts, hobbies, computers/work/office and more.
--Hardworking multi-use furniture is smart, such as a dining table that also has storage drawers or an ottoman with built-in storage.
--High top bars or tables and chairs should be offset with a low top table and seating option to accommodate guests with physical limitations
--Bar stools should be appropriately sized for the height of the counter. Slippery, unstable or poorly constructed bar stools (or any furniture in disrepair) should be permanently removed no matter how trendy and fashionable they may seem.
--Adequate end tables, coffee tables or foot stools
--Flooring with appropriately sized area rugs
--Accents such as pillows and accessories, but don't overdo it. Spacious and uncluttered is the goal.
--An oversized or very large clock on the wall
--A large flat screen wall-mounted TV, preferably with no wires showing
--Basket or organizer for the remote control/s
--Books and games are expected in a vacation rental and a proper place for them such as in a drawer, on a shelf or within a server buffet helps keep everything organized
--Appliances should include a refrigerator/freezer, microwave, toaster, coffee maker, blender and perhaps an electric mixer, electric skillet, waffle maker or rice maker if space allows it. Wine refrigerators and separate ice makers are luxurious upgrades if there is space.
--Adequate supplies, utensils, cookware, skillets, pots/pans and dishware in good repair
--An array of sizes of plates, glasses and cookware
--A mix of ceramic plates and non-breakable plates/glasses are helpful for families with young children
--Plenty of fresh dish cloths and dish towels displayed in a small basket for easy reach
--Kitchen counters free of clutter and unnecessary items
--Wall-mounted shelving for extra coffee cups and glassware
--Drawer organizers and wire racks within cupboards for easier storage
--Dish rack stored under the sink for hand washed items
--A rack to hold wine glasses and/or wine bottles is nice if space allows for it
--Adequate furniture, end tables with lamps and a small area rug for each side of the bed
--A closet free of clutter with plenty of shelves, hangers and organizational helpers such as a wall-mounted rack for the iron and ironing board
--Extra sheets and blankets stored in marked plastic bags or clear plastic bins
--Wall hooks for ease of storing coats, hats, scarves, shoes, dog leashes, etc.
--Layers of window treatments for added privacy: slatted blind/s plus sheer curtains and room-darkening drapes
--One or more electric nightstand clocks, preferably with ports to charge a cell phone and additional built-in electric outlets
--Floor space for the pet's bed if your rental is pet-friendly
--A large flat screen wall-mounted TV, preferably with no wires showing
--Basket or organizer for the remote control/s, keys, sunglasses, etc
--Small decorative bowl or dish to put jewelry
--Adequate storage for linens and toiletries. If needed, install wall-mounted cabinets for additional storage.
--Adequate number and appropriately sized towel racks
--Adequate hand and bath towels, preferably three or more sets of each per bathroom. Wash cloths should be plentiful, preferably six+ per bathroom.
--Bath mats and washable bathroom rugs next to the commode and shower/tub
--Wall hooks for clothes, towels, robes, hats and more
--Practical items such as plungers and toilet brushes should be readily available, but preferably stored out of sight
--Organizational wall-mounted racks for detergent, hooks and so forth are always appreciated
--A plastic laundry basket is nice if there's adequate space available
--Polite signage recommending how to keep the equipment functioning, such as not putting sandy items in the washer, helps guests help you.
--Adequate sturdy outdoor tables and seating
--High top tables and chairs should be offset with a low top table and seating option to accommodate guests with physical limitations
--Comfortable cushions in good repair unless not necessary due to the type of outdoor furniture
--An outdoor rug if space and weather conditions allow for it