Living spaces are places where we gather with friends and family. They become the backdrops of many holidays, birthdays, and anniversary celebrations and set the tone for those simple days at home.
How we furnish these spaces lends itself to conversation, relaxation and supports our time together and time for ourselves. The choices we make in these spaces will influence how we experience our homes and will be seen for a long time to come in family photos.
If you have a coastal vacation home, especially one that you rent out short-term, AIRBNB style, then you know that the choice of furnishings is so important for so many more reasons. You know you need things that are durable, but they should also be stylish, comfortable, and easy to clean. That’s a lot to ask from a sofa!! Going shopping for all that “stuff” can be a little overwhelming as well. After all, this isn’t your full-time residence, and other people will be staying there when you’re not home.
TOP 3 CONSIDERATIONS
DURABILITYIt’s true that vacation rental guests can be a bit hard on your furnishings. Some of our clients feel that they will go the route of buying the cheapest possible thing, plan on it falling apart and then get another. I disagree with this philosophy for two reasons:
a.) Do we really need to plan to put more furniture in the landfill?
b.) Every time you are doing a “project”, waiting on furniture delivery, and doing that “some assembly required” thing, you have lost a potential day of rental income, or possibly more. If you don’t live in the area now you are also paying someone else to handle that for you, on top of paying to ship multiple items. Spending a little more for greater durability at the outset can really save you money in the long run.
CLEANABILITYEven before the pandemic, it was important to be able to clean everything in a rental home easily and well. After all, it is essentially functioning as a hotel room. We select everything for our clients with this factor in mind from the flooring to the bedding. When everything is easy to clean, the homestays looking fresh longer. It’s also easier for the housekeeping staff when one group checks out at 10 am and the next checks in at 3 PM!
Pro Tip: If you have more than three bedrooms, install two washer/dryer sets so that the laundry gets done twice as fast!
COMFORTChoosing a comfortable item doesn’t always mean the biggest sofa. Comfort comes from multiple factors. Yes, it should feel good to sit in, so pay attention to the seating dimensions. It should also fit the room well, and the room should be planned to accommodate the correct number of people. If you sleep 6-8 then there should be seating for 8 people in the living room. If you only have 4 seats in the living room, half the party will not be very comfortable!
After years of designing rental homes, we definitely have some dos and don’ts and of course those go-to items. Here are just a couple of our favorites to help you get started below.
- Choose soft seating pieces with tailored slipcovers.
- Look for pieces with cushions that come off and zippered cushion covers.
- Use indoor and outdoor fabrics for upholstery and even drapery!
- Use embroidered fabrics for upholstery or drapery. It’s just too delicate for a rental environment. If you love it, have one pillow made and lock it in the owner’s closet for your personal use.
- Buy a mattress that you wouldn’t even want to sleep on just because it’s inexpensive.
- Buy core pieces like dressers and dining tables in particleboard or MDF. Look for solid wood dressers and tables with wood bases and glass tops.
Want more details? You’re in luck, we have a new book out with the whole scoop on exactly how we set up a rental home. You can find it here.
Some of our favorite seating pieces for coastal rental homes are right here.
Slipcover sofas that are super comfy, covered in washable performance fabrics, well made, and at a reasonable price point – yes, please!
CaroleMarch 13, 2021
This is awesome information – I am just exploring doing vacation homes in a mountain area. Will really take your advice to heart and am going to look at your book!
Leslie CarothersMarch 13, 2021
Tiffany: I love how much useful info there is in this post for vacation rental homeowners. I hope they all read this! I especially loved your point about investing in a bit better quality so that pouring more furniture into landfills is avoided.
And..congratulations on your new book!
lagnappeMarch 13, 2021
Thanks so much!
Anne DeCoccoMarch 13, 2021
Your work is just beautiful and this post is so helpful. And you’ve written a book! Well done.
lagnappeMarch 13, 2021
thanks so much!
Janet LorussoMarch 13, 2021
Such great information for rental owners! And I couldn’t agree more about the need to invest in quality up front and avoid the headache and ultimately the financial and environmental cost of replacing disposable furniture! And BOY do I want to come down there for a vacation right now 🙂
lagnappeMarch 13, 2021
You know now more than ever buying quality and keeping it seems like a good idea with the shipping and production delays in the industry! Please come on down for a visit!
Lisa A PeckMarch 14, 2021
You have such great insight into what makes a vacation rental home work both for the owner and for renting. Your book looks like a great guide for everyone who is starting this type of venture.
ChristieMarch 14, 2021
This is making me wish that I had a beach house!! Such great info!
Sheri BruneauMarch 15, 2021
This is such a great post with wonderful information! I too agree to invest in the core pieces. The age old saying, ‘you pay for what you get’ is so true.