Renting your home out as a vacation property is easier than ever, thanks to sites like VRBO and Airbnb. More people are choosing to rent homes rather than stay in hotels, and many individuals can now purchase vacation properties thanks to the additional income the rentals can provide.

Almost two million short-term rental properties are listed on VRBO, the most popular rental site in the US. According to VRBO, there are over 38,000 properties in the Caribbean that can be rented short-term for your next getaway.  If you happen to be so lucky to own one of those properties, you have some major competition for bookings.

Great design can help your property stand out from other listings, stay cleaner and fresher longer, and with less maintenance. This will help your listing to garner 5-star reviews from guests who will be back and recommend your property to their friends and family! Keep reading, for more information on how to create the ultimate vacation rental.

For an even deeper dive into all things that can elevate your vacation rental, check out our eBook, full of decades of rental design experience.



1. Local Art

Your décor should represent the surrounding region, and while we don’t want to be too over the top, you do want your guests to feel what is unique to the area. If they have come to the Caribbean for vacation, are you sure you want to market a farmhouse? Incorporating local art is a great way to achieve an authentic vacation experience. When you feature the work of local artists in your home, you also give back to the community, and in return, those artists are likely to have great things to say about your property. It’s a win all the way around and helps to bring everything within the design full circle.

Vacation Rental Must Haves

The painting over the sofa is by local artist Elisa Bryan.

The décor featured in this vacation rental has a coastal aesthetic. The rental is also located on a Caribbean beach, which helps support each piece and makes everything in the space look and feel appropriate for a Caribbean getaway.  We used colors that the homeowner would not have chosen for her primary residence in the Pacific Northwest!  The turquoise and coral are a fun Caribbean touch, while the natural textures of the rug and coffee table keep things feeling easy and casual.

2. Luxury Bedding

Unique guest experiences lead to great reviews and repeat business.  Since many people look forward to sleeping in on their vacations, make them comfortable.  It might be tempting to view linens as disposable to where you can just buy the cheapest thing available, but that is not always for the best.

Luxury Bedding


There is a certain way we always make up the bed in rentals. If you look through our portfolio pictures, you will see the same format repeated. The things you don’t see are just as important. You don’t see the amazing comfy mattress here that is firm in the core but has a nice thick memory foam top. You don’t see the mattress pad that is waterproof but doesn’t make crinkly noises when you lay on it. Lastly, I wish you could feel the silky bamboo sheets. They are so nice and cool and breathable on warm Caribbean nights and naturally stain-resistant.

3. Flexible Sleeping Spaces


Functionality is critical in a rental home.  Adding extra sleeping spaces leads to increased revenue.  A couple of our favorite ways to keep the sleeping arrangements flexible are with two twins that can combine into a king and adding ottomans that pop out into twin beds. Ottomans can also serve as a place for luggage to land during your guests’ stay.

Flexible Sleeping Spaces

This ottoman pops out into an extra bed and is perfect for a couple with a young child that wants to stay close or makes the room suitable for three kids.  The cover is a machine-washable slipcover made from durable outdoor fabric, making it both functional and practical.


Flexible Sleeping Spaces for Vacation Rentals
These two twin beds combine to make a king, and the wall mount headboard works perfectly with either setup.  Planning this ahead of time, has given the room a lot of flexibility.

4. Easy Care Materials

Housekeeping is essential! If you have a popular home in peak season, you will likely have days when one guest checks out at 10 am and the following checks in at 3 pm, leaving only five short hours to completely clean and reset the space for the next guest to enjoy. So set your housekeeping staff up for success on those days! Choose rugs that are easy to care for, and that can be spot cleaned. We always recommend slipcovers on furniture and buying a second set just in case. If someone has a spill on the sofa, pull that cover off, and put the new one on! The first one can be washed offsite and returned for the next group. You can learn more about slipcovers for seaside home furniture on our previous blog here.


Easy Care Materials


This light and beachy sofa is covered in Sunbrella outdoor fabric, and the covers come off quickly and easily to be machine washed.  We even did the pillows all in outdoor fabrics!

5. Great Photography Makes for IG Worthy Moments


This is where you can see your investment in great interiors work for you. When you create a space that photographs well, your listing will be more eye-catching. Breathtaking spaces will stop potential renters from scrolling past your listing and will help your home to book first. Great décor will get your guests talking, and there’s no better advertisement than having your guests send a picture to friends back home or post them on social media. I work with an amazing photographer and have learned so much over the years from his perspective on how to achieve the best Instagram-worthy moments from photoshoots. There are many ways to design a room that will help it to photograph better.


IG Worthy Moments


The front entry of this rental home lets you know from the minute you walk in the door that this place is going to be fun!  This space has also been the location for many selfies!  Creating little moments like this throughout the design is great for marketing and making memories!


6. A Well-Stocked Kitchen

More often than not, vacationers will choose to rent a home, over a hotel so that they can have a kitchen. This might be because they have young children that are hard to feed at restaurants or they may simply want to celebrate a holiday with their family in a new location.  Providing a fully stocked kitchen will be attractive to those renters.  We often set up kitchens for our clients with everything from the coffee maker to the dishes. To make the process quick and easy we’ve put together our kitchen checklist along with the bedding and safety items, in an all-in-one document that’s available to you on our website, here.

kitchen design

 

After remodeling this client’s kitchen, I was a little jealous of all the great storage space we were able to add! This helped to free up even more real estate within the vacation rental for those little touches like champagne and fresh flowers.

Here are some resources to help you get your vacation rental property set up quickly and easily. 

    1. Decorating and Designing Your Vacation Rental Property
    2. Vacation Rental Checklist

If you need more assistance with your vacation rental property, give us a call. We would love to help you on your way to renting your vacation property for a one-of-a-kind experience that is sure to receive compliments from your guests and repeat business.