Whether you own a sprawling house or a cozy studio, your living room is the centerpiece that ties your entire home together. Not only is this where guests will linger the most, but a well-devised living space sets the scene for the rest of your vacation home and your guest experience.
When putting together your vacation rental living room, there’s more to consider than sofas and coffee tables. Think of all the activities that will happen there: TV watching, game playing, nap taking, book reading, working, and more. From furniture to accessories, here is a checklist to help you create a vacation rental living space that guests will want to splurge on and escape to.
Today’s travelers have high expectations for the vacation homes they book. They want a more luxurious experience that’s an escape from the everyday, while simultaneously offering all the cozy comforts of home. Impress them the moment they walk in by covering all the living room necessities.
A couch is so much more than a place to sit. Your seating area should foster conversations and togetherness. First, consider your home’s maximum occupancy and provide enough seating that would fit everyone comfortably. Then, intentionally position your furniture so guests face and focus on each other, not the walls or the TV. For the best investment, purchase couches with performance fabrics and hardwood frames that won’t sag or pill after just a few years.
Is your living room too small for a traditional couch? Consider just a loveseat or a pair of comfy armchairs with footrests. Want your living room to truly stand out? Get creative with alternatives, such as comfy floor cushions, a chaise lounge, or a daybed.
Vacation rental living room design tip
Increase your occupancy by turning your living room into an optional extra bedroom—opt for a sofa bed instead of a regular couch. Tuck extra sleeping pillows, clean sheets, and blankets in one of the bedrooms or in a basket nearby.
Give your guests a spot to set down their drinks, laptops, books, and your remote control. If your home attracts families, opt for a more kid-friendly round coffee table and avoid those made with glass. For extra storage (where you can stash extra pillows or throw blankets), think of purchasing a storage ottoman with a flat tray on top. If space is minimal, nesting coffee tables give guests the option of expanding or shrinking the surface area when needed. Other space savers include repurposing a bedside table or placing a narrow console table behind the couch.
Invite guests to log in to their own streaming accounts to watch their favorite shows or movies. This can save you from paying for cable, as guests pay for their own streaming subscriptions. Also consider leaving behind an HDMI cable so guests can connect their laptop to your TV. Don’t have a smart TV? Buy a streaming device, such as a Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick, that gives guests access to several streaming services. Remember to jot down instructions in your house manual.
Vacation rental living room tip
Accidents happen. Help prevent your TV from tumbling to the ground (and protect your guests) by buying straps that can secure your TV to either the wall or your entertainment center. Or, mount your TV directly to the wall.
Nowadays, guests travel with all of their devices in tow. Make sure your network name and WiFi password are easy to find, and include instructions how to reset the router in case of any glitches. Invest not just in high internet speed, but updated hardware that can handle online gaming and playing videos all throughout your home. You may need to add internet boosters in the rest of the house to make sure there are no dreaded dead zones.
Prioritize good lighting. Just as glaring fluorescent lighting can make a room feel stark and unpleasant, soft lighting puts guests at ease and sets a relaxing ambience. Include a floor lamp or smaller table lamps when guests want to read or have a movie night.
When managing your own vacation home, we suggest providing a one-stop spot for all the necessary details. This includes your WiFi passwords, check-in and check-out procedures, house rules, and simple instructions for your TV, streaming devices, and hot tub. This is also the ideal place to jot down your local recommendations and secrets to help guests explore their destination.
Empty walls can make your living room feel incomplete. Create an enticing and cohesive look with wall art that reflects your destination. Think beyond paintings and photographs, too. We’ve seen mountain cabins with vintage skis securely mounted on the wall or beach cottages with retro travel posters.
An area rug laid over hardwood or tile floors brings instant warmth, color, and texture to your living room. A rug can also complete your design aesthetic since it covers the most surface area. Some tips: Place a rug pad underneath for even more comfort, buy a color and texture that doesn’t show dirt easily, and consider a machine washable rug for hassle-free cleaning.
Outfit your windows with either curtains or blinds. This gives guests control over their privacy and the amount of light that streams into the living room. However, avoid vertical blinds or mini plastic blinds, as they can break easily.
Details matter. So, make your living room an intuitive place that offers guests what they need even before they need it. Here are small touches that can make every stay even better.
Provide an umbrella stand and keep umbrellas handy so that guests aren’t caught off guard during an unexpected downpour.
Smart speakers, like an Amazon Echo or Google Home, give guests more opportunities to personalize their stay. They can connect via bluetooth (remember to leave instructions in the guest manual) to play their favorite songs and create the ambience they want. These small speakers can also be moved outside for outdoor lounging and dining.
Have a fireplace or wood-burning stove in your vacation home? Supply your guests everything they need to safely enjoy it: wood, fire starters, matches, kindling, and instructions. Most importantly, place a fire extinguisher nearby.
These versatile decorating pieces can add pops of color and texture, freshening up your space in seconds. They complete the look of your sitting area, while also giving your guests some lower back support. Consider purchasing pillows with removable covers that can be easily thrown into the washing machine.
Plush blankets can make any vacation rental living room cozier. Include two or three tossed over the back of the couch or tucked away in a basket or linen closet.
No need to create a full library, but leave behind some books that showcase your destination, are written by local writers, or even reflect some of your own hobbies and tastes.
Games aren’t just child’s play. Guests of all generations have fun with some friendly competition. In fact, several millennial-inspired hotel brands have turned their lobbies into playrooms with life-size Jenga, Connect Four, and checkers. From a simple deck of cards to a video game console, offer games for all ages to enjoy during a day indoors.
Prevent guests from leaving behind unsightly water stains and coffee rings on your furniture. Provide a set of coasters on your end tables or coffee tables, where guests are most likely to set down their drinks.
Guests will appreciate a mirror so they can do a quick once-over before heading out for the day’s activities. Hang one near the front door for a last-minute check. Mirrors are also a smart way to make small spaces seem bigger, by reflecting light around the room.
Greenery not only brightens up your living room, it adds textures and beauty to a space. However, plants also require regular watering and pruning. For the same impact, but less maintenance, consider faux plants that simply need a dusting after every stay.
Your living room is the de facto gathering spot in your vacation home. So make it as comfortable and cozy as possible for whatever activity your guests engage in. While all guests have their personal preferences and aesthetics, some living room essentials should be included in every vacation home. This includes a sofa, a coffee table, good lighting, a TV, side tables, an area rug, throw pillows, and 1–2 throw blankets to tie everything together.
Your vacation home design should both draw in bookings and create a remarkable experience for your guests. While there are endless ways to decorate your vacation rental, we recommend decorating with a sophisticated, neutral look that has pops of (but isn’t saturated with) color, texture, and personality. Guests tend to be drawn to design that showcases their destination. Think beach-inspired art and accessories in your coastal condo, and rustic, woodsy decor in your mountain cabin. Whatever look or aesthetic you choose, keep clutter and small knickknacks to a minimum to ensure a relaxing, calming space that guests will want to return to.
Consider what today’s travelers look for in their getaways—luxury, comfort, and safety. In addition to all the necessities your guests would expect in their own homes, they want amenities that feel exclusive or elevate the everyday. Vacasa homeowners attract guests by offering coveted luxuries large and small, such as plush linens, outdoor firepits and dining areas, pool tables, and even putting greens. And on average, adding a hot tub can boost your revenue by 15–20%. For more ideas on amenities that draw in guests, take a cue from our 20 most-favorited homes of 2020.
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