Landlording & Rental Properties

5 Tips for Decorating Your Vacation Rental Without Breaking the Bank

Expertise: Landlording & Rental Properties
59 Articles Written

Many new vacation homeowners — and even some owners who have owned their vacation home for quite some time — often ask me for advice when they are looking to refurnish or redecorate their vacation home.

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The main thing you have to consider is what the primary use of the vacation home is:

  1. Do you mainly use it as a second home for your family and friends and only rent it out when you are not using it or
  2. Is the primary use as a rental property?

If the vacation home is used primarily for you and your family, then my recommendations is to decorate it for your needs and wants. Here are 5 tips for redecorating your vacation home if you use it primarily used as a vacation home rental.

5 Cost Effective Tips for Decorating Your Vacation Rental

1. Replace Carpet With More Durable Materials

In the main traffic areas of your vacation rental, replace all the carpet with tile or hardwood floors. With the technology advancements in tile, ceramic and vinyl flooring, the cost to replace the carpet with more durable materials is minimal.

We recently had a homeowner replace his carpet with tile, and the cost was only 22% more. The owner figures he will recoup his money with the upgrade in less than 18 months, as he will not have to have the tile cleaned twice a year like he did with the carpet, and the tile should last much, much longer. We still suggest homeowners keep carpet in the bedrooms, as most guests do not like to get out of bed in the morning and put their feet on cold flooring.

2. Upgrade Your Bedding for Cheap

We suggest homeowners buy a nice quality mattress and box spring, but do not go over the top. We recently found that you can save yourself quite a bit of money and buy a lesser quality mattress and then add a 6 inch or 4 inch foam pillow mattress pad on top.

In some of our homes where the owners did not want to replace their current mattresses, we bought these mattress pads and guests raved about how comfortable the beds were over the Christmas holiday rush. We found these mattress pads online for around $70 for a king sized bed.

3. Paint Your House

If you want an instant upgrade in your vacation home, all you have to do is paint it. We suggest using an eggshell or satin finish on the walls and a semi-gloss finish on the trim. The semi-gloss finish on the trim is key; this finish gives it more of a pop.

Money saving tip on finding painters: If you can try and find a painter who paints homes from one of the national home builders such as Miranda Homes, Pulte or Centex, you can potentially save yourself a lot of money. When these painters paint a house for these national companies, they usually get more than enough paint to complete their job, and then whatever is left over, they get to keep.

Oftentimes we can get these painters to paint our vacation homes for much less since they already have the paint lying around, and we schedule them to paint our houses during low season. They usually come in and paint the houses at night. You can find the painters by simply driving up to a home site that they are working on or by going by a local Glidden Paint store in your area and asking them for painters who paint for these national companies.

4. Don’t Go With Top of the Line Furniture

This might shock you, but you need to ask yourself this question: “Would I like to have a new sofa for $3,000 and it be top of the line, or would I like to buy a $1,200 sofa from IKEA, knowing in 36 months I might have to replace it with a new one anyway?”

Related: Sound Advice for Buying a Vacation Home You Won’t Regret

The logic here is simple; your goals in life change all the time, and things come up. In addition, unfortunately guests do not treat your furniture like they would their own. We find that it is better to buy lesser quality furniture for less money — unless the rental income warrants splurging for more quality furniture.

5. Add Color

You can go to stores like the Kirkland’s or HomeGoods and buy vases, pitchers, coffee table books, dining room center pieces, lamps, etc. that will add color to your vacation home and make it a more fun and inviting vacation home for your guest. Most of the time you can add color to a vacation home for only a couple hundred dollars.

Related: 4 Questions to Ask Yourself BEFORE Buying a Vacation Home

The main thing to consider when you are redecorating a vacation home that is being used as a rental is that owning this home is a business. With all businesses, expenses need to be kept in line with income. It is easy to go overboard redecorating a house only to find that the rental income did not or will not support the upgrades. Oftentimes it is worth the extra money to pay a professional decorator who specializes in vacation homes to assist you.

For those of you who own vacation homes: What would you add to my list? How have you decorated your properties, and have the efforts paid off?

Leave a comment, and let’s discuss!

Trey Duling has been managing and marketing vacation homes in the Orlando and Disney World area since 2001. His passion is helping investors make their vacation homes more profitable. Please visit ...
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    Frankie Woods Investor from Albuquerque, NM
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Excellent article. Especially liked the ‘finding painters’ that work for national companies tip!
    Jeffrey Cervi Investor from Naples, Florida
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Keep the electronics as simple as possible while meeting the minimum expectations of your target market.
    Tracy Huckabee
    Replied about 2 years ago
    This is a niche that I’ve been focusing on. I’ve loved decorating my own vacation rentals with affordable, used pieces that I’ve begun offering my services to decorate vacation rentals. Please contact me if you would like to chat further.
    Tracy Huckabee
    Replied about 2 years ago
    This is a niche that I’ve been focusing on. I’ve loved decorating my own vacation rentals with affordable, used pieces that I’ve begun offering my services to decorate vacation rentals. Please contact me if you would like to chat further.