Vacation rental properties continue to trend as solid investments in most areas globally. As with all rules of real estate, location applies. After identifying the ideal property in the perfect location, it is important to factor in the fees to invest in professional design guidance and furnishings to meet industry standards. Interior design sets the tone, tells the story and provides the foundation for renters to experience a remarkable holiday. However, when it comes to interior design, most owners leave money on the table with a DIY approach.  Unbeknownst to them, they are hurting the optimal performance of their investment by committing these five major design mistakes:


Color psychology is rarely strategically and accurately implemented in DIY design. Every color tells a story, elicits a physiological response and aids in setting the mood for a relaxing yet energizing vacation. It is best to avoid numerous and outdated colors. For instance, red is one of the worst colors to use in bedrooms. Colors should complement and coordinate within the entire space to bring a sense of cohesiveness, stability and beauty.

Space Planning

Space planning involves laying out a room to maximize its space and to facilitate a sensible and functional flow of human movement. Most often, there is either too much furniture making a room too cramped or not enough furniture making a space feel too cold, stark and unusable. Other mistakes include configuring furniture at different angles that condense the size of a room and/or make movement around it difficult.

The size of furniture directly correlates to the size of the room. It is possible to include more furniture in a space than visually apparent. There is also a way to maximize minimal pieces of furniture to create a functional and inviting space.

The functionality and flow of a space are critical ingredients to making vacation rental spaces that truly accommodate all guests’, including those that are disabled, desires and needs.


Let’s be real. The typical, big-box store room-in-a-box set up is boring in vacation rentals. People want to stay in a space different from their own. There is a very high chance that they have a similar couch/loveseat combination in their house.

There is an escalating number of travelers that desire to stay in unique spaces. A growing number of hotels and resorts are answering travelers’ desires with rooms that defy the cookie-cutter norm. A signature of these spaces from the foyer to the guest rooms include furnishings that guests do not own, thus driving the fantasy of living (albeit temporarily) in a dream space.

Therefore, buying matchy-matchy furniture or bulky, outdated furniture are not ideal design components that set your vacation rental apart. Instead, opt for coordinating pieces in complementary colors, shapes and sizes. Consider mixing new, vintage and handmade items. Also, all pieces do not have to come from the same store or brand thus setting the tone for implementing creativity and creating a unique style.


Accessories such as vases, plants, decorative objects, books, and art are the finishing details that add personal touches, interesting stories and dimension in a space.

Art is the biggest stumbling block I routinely see in DIY design and sometimes with decorators. Art should parallel the sophistication of a space. It should also fit the scale of a wall and the room. It is not advisable to add something to a wall just because you have it hanging around. Your vacation rental is not the place to put up art from the ‘80’s stored in the garage or a mix of outdated landscape prints across from neon colored animal prints. Art reflects the type of room (living versus a kids play space) and price point of a space. When possible, avoid glass framed art in spaces that facilitate a lot of group activity especially game rooms and media/bar areas.

Accessories allow you to reinforce a design style, bring in accent colors and add a sense of personality.


Every human connection begins with a story. Are you capitalizing on a relevant story for your property that can be told through design? Some interesting connections to create with your guests include stories about the property’s history, displaying unusual artifacts, providing backyard adventures, installing locally created art, offering throw-back to contemporary game selections and creating areas that can become social media backdrops. Bring out the personality of your rental to emotionally engage with your guests with the intention of creating an enjoyable vacation experience for them and establishing long-term relationships.

As with any business venture, set yourself up for success at the start to benefit from reaping rewards sooner rather than later. When you hire the right professionals, you save money and time. Position your vacation rental to tell its unique story that attracts the type of clientele you envision. Learn more about vacation rental target audience trends here. If you need help, contact us for our vacation rental interior design expertise.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This