Alongside basic criteria such as location and size, the visual appeal of your holiday villa or country cottage is THE key factor when people book online, whether you market the property through the creation of your own rental website or one of the many online platforms.
We’ve put together four interiors tips to help you furnish and decorate your holiday rental and elevate it against the competition. The aim is to wow your guests by delivering comfort and exceeding their expectations, and doing it in style.
1. Take inspiration from the local area
The first of our interiors tips is all about where you are. Location is perhaps the most important reason why your guests have booked to stay at your holiday property. Are you renting out a sleek urban pad that is perfect for a city break? A rural cottage with plenty of nearby country walks with kids and dogs? A mountain chalet or beach villa? Let your guests get a sense of the locality they’re in and incorporate some thoughtful, place based touches into your interiors scheme.
Tap into the local scene by using colours, materials and themes that resonate with the locality. Display local artwork or photography of nearby landmarks, add quirky accessories for interest, and have a Welcome Pack with a basket of local delicacies and useful visitor information waiting for your guests on arrival.
Below is a great example of styling The Light House, a beachside holiday cottage on the Sussex coast. Note the clean blue & white colour scheme, the atmospheric lighthouse picture above the bed, the anchor cushions and bedside accessory, even the beach house shutters. The result is a bright, airy and inviting modern bedroom that echoes the local surroundings.
2. Add personality, but not necessarily yours
While it can be tempting to replicate your own style in a holiday property, bear in mind that your guests’ tastes may be very different to yours. Much in the same way as an estate agent would advise you to declutter and depersonalise your home for sale, the same approach should be used for furnishing and decorating a holiday rental.
That said, you do want the property to have some personality and character – a bland, boring room never enticed anyone to want to stay there. Just stay away from wild colour schemes and zany furnishings that can easily overwhelm. Instead, focus on a few feature items and devise an interiors theme that is fresh and welcoming, and one that will appeal to a wide range of guests.
The Light House does this brilliantly. Take the living room (left) where the modern maritime theme is effortlessly carried through from the bedroom. Red is introduced as an uplifting accent colour in lamps and cushions, while anchor motifs and storm lanterns complement the ambience. Note the clean white painted walls adorned with simply framed colour photos of the local area, simple white wooden furniture and bleached floorboards, and natural fabrics and textures used in soft furnishings.
3. Quality, practicality and versatility
The third of our interiors tips is about choosing the right furniture and furnishings. It’s not just a question of style but also of durability. While there’s probably no need to buy designer pieces (unless this is expected by the market you are hoping to attract), you are looking to furnish your holiday let so that it performs and looks good for many years, even with heavy use.
From hotel quality mattresses to comfortable sofas, sturdy dining tables and robust kitchen appliances, your guests will always notice where corners have been cut and substandard materials used; and this may put them off coming back for another visit. Instead, invest in quality pieces that are practical, attractive and won’t look tired after a season’s use.
This is demonstrated by the dining area at The Lighthouse below. An attractive solid timber dining table with simple bench seating can accommodate up to 8 people, while a glimpse of patio suggests alfresco dining facilities too. Note the practical white dinnerware and plain glassware on rugged coasters and table mats and tough hard flooring – geared up for family holidays.
The Light House does this brilliantly. Take the living room below where the modern maritime theme is effortlessly carried through from the bedroom. Red is introduced as an uplifting accent colour in lamps and cushions, while anchor motifs and storm lanterns complement the ambience. Note the clean white painted walls adorned with simply framed colour photos of the local area, simple white wooden furniture and bleached floorboards, and natural fabrics and textures used in soft furnishings.
4. Think about your guests’ expectations, and exceed them
Last but by no means least on our list of interiors tips: think about what you can do to make the visitor experience memorable to entice them to book again. Does your property have everything they need and more? Whether you rent out an urban loft, a house in the country or a beachside cottage, there are some key areas where you can always add a wow factor.
- The living room must have a cosy place to relax and read a book, watch a film or enjoy a drink. If you can provide books, DVDs or an internet enabled TV, or an outdoor seating area, so much the better.
- The bedroom should be a tranquil oasis and a haven of relaxation, with a big comfy bed and bedding – don’t ever skimp on the mattress! – for all those lazy lie-ins. Plenty of clothes storage is important too.
- The kitchen needs to have everything your guests have at home, so they can self-cater without restriction. Luxury touches such as an espresso machine, slow cooker or electric juicer are worth considering.
One final point to remember is that you should always listen to feedback from your guests. Prompt your visitors to let you know how much they enjoyed their holiday and ask for suggestions on how you can improve their experience next time. You can then use the information to review the property, hoping to reap the rewards with more bookings in the future.
Thanks to our regular contributor Annie Button for these four interiors tips to help your holiday villa or country cottage stand out from the competition.