11 Effective Ways to Improve Vacation Rental Interior Design — & Boost Profit!

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Potential guests are constantly judging your vacation rental based on how it looks. Photos and videos are the biggest sellers for your property, so vacation rental interior design is important. The better your property looks, the more attractive it is to book. The more reservations pour in, the more money in your pocket! And increasing vacation rental profit is reason enough to start improving your vacation rental’s interior design ASAP. 

With thoughtful decor, quality pieces, and an overall simple design, your vacation rental could draw in more bookings, capture younger audiences (like millennials and Gen Z), and foster repeat guests. Not to mention, putting effort into your vacation rental interior design can be the push you need to raise rates, boost occupancy, and generate even more revenue! 

Need a place to start? Our biggest interior design tip is to create an appropriate budget and stick to it! Consider hiring a professional interior decorator to determine if your property would benefit from any layout fixes with remodeling or renovations. Free tip: see our article on vacation rental improvement project contracts. 

Plus, we’ve put together a list of 11 effective design ideas to transform your property and make it more appealing to inspire bookings. Run through the list below and work with what makes sense for your vacation rental. And if you’re in the market for professional interior design in North Georgia, jump to the end to learn more about our Georgia CFY Dream Design Team.

1. Keep It Simple

Think about your guests and how they will feel in your home. Arriving at a vacation rental with tons of knick-knacks, family photos, and tons of patterns, textures, and popping colors…can be jarring. And that’s the last thing you want your guests to feel if you want them to recommend your property and return for future stays. Instead of going all out (unless you have a specific theme that makes sense for guests), keep it simple.

A minimalist approach will save you time and money in the long run because everything will be much easier to manage, like cleaning and replacing worn-out items. Calm, clean, open designs can lower blood pressure, alleviate stress, relieve anxiety, and even dampen depression. And that’s the first thing you want your guests to feel, inspiring them to return time and time again!

Minimalist Design Tips for Your Vacation Rental

  1. Each item should have a purpose. View amenities guests expect at vacation rentals.
  1. Keep your housekeepers in mind! The faster they can clean, the better. 
  1. Avoid too many trinkets. Dust settles fast. 
  1. Less is MORE! Feeling cramped isn’t fun. 
  1. Stick to a general theme and mood.
  1. Quality matters — match it to your current rates or the rates you’d like to have.

Pro tip: DIY can be a great way to save cash. Just note the time it will cost and remember that many guests will use this item. So…if you love it, we recommend keeping it in your own home. 

2. Choose Colors with Care

A great way to address the mood in your vacation home immediately is to update the color palette. To get started, choose colors that match your rental’s location and overall vacation vibes. For example, natural tones and stained wood really suit a mountain cabin in North Georgia, whereas pastels and bright whites are best left for a beach rental in Florida. 

Along with finding a balance to coordinate the entire vacation home, we have a super design tip! What’s the #1 color to use in a vacation rental? Blue — it’s the favorite color of most people, and it gives calming vibes almost instantly. Donning your rental home in earthy browns and beiges can give off a sense of decay and bring the mood down. With that said, adding all shades of blue in every room is overwhelming, so carefully plan before you paint! 

3. Balance Furniture — Size & Function 

You have a fully painted and stained vacation rental property with a custom design. Now, it’s time to add warm and welcoming furniture — balancing heights to add dimension and keeping every piece functional. We want to draw the eye up and down, not flat around. And what’s the point of furnishing your vacation rental if your guests can’t enjoy it? 

A Few Rules to Follow 

  1. Say no to furniture sets! It feels unoriginal…and you know at least 50 other properties in the area will have the same sets. Guests will compare and choose the one that stands out.
  1. Mix vintage and modern pieces to create your unique interior design style guests will notice.
  1. Keep surfaces clear. Cluttering the coffee, end, and dining tables with items makes “work” for your guests when they have to clear them off just to use them. Plus, your housekeepers will love you for it!
  1. Stay away from plastic furnishings, even outside. Plastic can easily fall apart, creating a hazard for guests and a waste of money for homeowners. And let’s not get into short-term rental liability issues… Sturdy, weather-resistant furniture is the way to go outside.

4. Add Local Art

Make every art piece in your vacation home meaningful by showcasing local art. Not only does it add to the memorable guest experience at your rental property, but it also supports small business owners in the area. While purchasing smaller pieces is okay here and there, we highly recommend adding larger statement pieces to bring a room together and pop in your online photos. 

Another great tip for vacation rental owners is to hang most artwork at eye level. If guests must strain up or down to enjoy the art…it’s not worth it. As always, don’t overdo it. A few art pieces per room is plenty. 

5. Toss in Throw Pillows & Blankets

On top of stand-out cabin amenities, it’s the little things that can add more value to your vacation rental experience. Guests want to be entertained, but comfort often overrules fun. Adding throw pillows and blankets to beds, sofas, armchairs, and even some outdoor furniture can boost the comfort level of your home and beckon guests to take it easy and relax for a while.

Plush extras can also help add a splash of color to a simple space, just enough to make it more attractive. Opt for locally made items where possible, another option to show off your fabulous vacation destination! And be sure to trim tags and loose threads before snapping photos.

6. Consider Hooks & Hangers

Something that can often get overlooked is the addition of hooks and hangers around the vacation home. Hooks are handy for guests to hang jackets, sweaters, coats, purses, shopping bags, towels, robes, cosmetic bags, etc. And hangers give your guests a designated place to hang clothes for an extended stay, keeping the property cleaner and helping your guests stay more organized. Lost or forgotten items are quite a hassle…for both parties.

Best of all, hooks and hangers won’t put a hole in your wallet and offer a simple solution for many guest needs. Plus, creating a space to hang items on walls or in closets means your rental will have fewer surface spaces to clean! Side note: adding seats and boot cubbies to the entryway isn’t a bad idea either.

Where to Place Hooks at Your Rental Property

  • Entryways
  • Halls
  • Kitchen
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathrooms
  • Outdoor Spaces (e.g. next to hot tubs, pools, and grills)

7. Put Thought into Lighting

Light up your vacation rental strategically. Consider how guests will want to use the spaces at your property. Add lamps with warm light to reading nooks, bedroom nightstands, and cozy spaces like the living room or den. Provide bright lights for chefs in the group to easily cook at any hour in the kitchen or by the grill outside. Is there a particularly dark area or room at your property? Make sure to add plenty of light to brighten the space — feel free to get creative!

Not to mention proper landscape lighting at vacation rentals goes a long way for safety and style. 

8. Place Plants Around the Home

Another top tip for designing your vacation rental is to scatter plants around the home. Plants can help the place feel more alive and add a little pizzazz to a dreary space. We recommend removing flowering plants as they drop petals and could flare up allergies for sensitive guests. Otherwise, it’s important to consider how the plants will be taken care of. 

If you live nearby and have a passion for plants, great! If you don’t or just don’t want to hassle with plant care, then talk to your housekeepers, right? Wrong. If your short-term vacation rental is littered with plants inside and outside, look into hiring a separate professional and consider the cost versus benefit. 

Not interested in plant upkeep in the slightest? Enter fake plants! They can be less expensive in the long run — and are perfect for pet-friendly vacation rentals. We want to make sure all pets feel just as welcome and safe in any space. Still deciding if your property should be pet friendly? Learn more about the pros and cons of owning pet-friendly vacation rentals.

9. Use Washable Area Rugs

We offer this vacation rental homeowner tip sparingly — add washable rugs to appropriate spaces. Just don’t overdo it and remember the upkeep of rugs. Machine-washable rugs are top tier in our books. Add washable rugs where they make sense, like the living room or entryway. 

And as stylish as it is in magazines, rugs under beds, coffee tables, or dining tables at vacation rentals are a big no-no! It’s difficult enough to clean “the unders.” Not to mention, food crumbs and stains can collect rapidly with constant bookings. 

10. Mix Textures

Mix it up with varied textures across your short-term rental property! Nothing’s more boring than the same wood grain on every furniture piece in a 2,000-square-foot lodge. Keep your vacation home looking fresh and trendy with different textiles, woods, stones, and modern touches. Adding mirrors here and there can help, too!

11. Decorate for Christmas — If It Makes Sense for YOU!

Should I decorate my vacation rental for Christmas? Yes and no. First, consider your budget. And if the holiday resonates with your property location, then go for it! Bringing a touch of this magical season to your vacation home can give your short-term rental a serious boost for the holidays. 

Christmas Decorating Tips for Vacation Rentals

  1. Don’t block selling features, like a mountain view or fireplace. 
  1. Skip Santa and religious pieces. Go for greenery, garlands, and wreaths instead.
  1. Play into silver, gold, and white to match any interior.
  1. Keep walkways clear.

New Photos, Drones & Videos

After putting so much effort into your vacation rental interior design, don’t forget to update your listing on every platform with quality vacation rental photography! Worked to make the exterior just as impressive? Get some drone shots added to your itinerary. And videos are a top priority for social media marketing. 

Design Pros with Georgia Cabins for YOU

Unsure when to update your vacation rental? Need help creating a custom design plan for your Blue Ridge Mountain cabin? At Georgia Cabins for YOU, our Dream Design Team comprises professionals who’ve been in the vacation rental industry for decades. If your property needs a vacation rental makeover, our interior decorators can curate a design to fit your budget. We can recommend vendors or even take over the whole design project so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the big reveal! You can be involved as much or as little as you want. 

Start by selecting from our design packages below. Questions? Reach out to 1.800.580.5524.

Interior Design Services & Pricing

  • Professional Consultation | Starting at $150/BR — entry evaluation of property
  • Freshen Up | Starting at $500/BR — quick-and-easy updates
  • Partial Upgrade | Starting at $1,500 — select specific rooms to update
  • Total Makeover | Starting at $4,000 — redesign your entire property inside and out!

Find the vacation rental interior design that works for you — with our Dream Design Team in North Georgia!