One of the main reasons people choose a vacation rental over a hotel is to have access to a fully equipped kitchen. In stocking your rental kitchen, it’s important to keep in mind that guests do expect a certain level of professionalism during their stay. Simple touches like matching dishes and cups can go a long way in improving guest perception of a vacation home.

Mismatched mugs and plates might be charming in a family beach house, but your guests may not want a reminder that they’re staying in someone else’s home. They want to open up the cabinets to neat rows of glasses and high quality, unchipped dishes.

Here are some simple ways to make sure your kitchen is stocked with dishes that will impress your guests—and keep them coming back.

matching dishes

Consistency is key

White dish sets are the common choice for hotels and restaurants, and work well for vacation rentals, too. They look clean, are easy to replace, and never go out of style.

Buying colorful sets of dishes can be a great way to brighten up a kitchen, but is hard to pull off successfully and may be even harder to replace when something breaks. If you have four red plates and four blue plates and a red one breaks, it will be easy to tell something’s off when they’re stacked together in the cabinet.

Souvenir mugs and novelty cups might remind you of some great memories, but the same can’t be said for the guest staying in your home. Mugs and glassware should be matching, as they would be in a restaurant.

Biggest no-no: chipped and cracked dishware

Do restaurants ever serve you food on a damaged or dirty plate? No. They have no place in a vacation rental either. To avoid having to replace dishes frequently, choose sets that are built to last. Stoneware has a nice look, but chips far too easily. If you’re set on stoneware or a similar material, it’s best to buy directly from a commercial grade supplier like Front of the House. You can also purchase shatter-resistant cups and wine glasses.

Be sure to replace chipped or cracked dishes right away to maintain a professional look, but keep in mind if you only replace one or two at a time, the set will start to seem more and more thrown together from odds and ends. If half the dishes in a set have been chipped or broken, it’s probably better to just replace the whole set. You can also keep a spare set of dishes in the housekeeping closet so any broken dishes can be replaced right away.

More dishes than guests, always

A good rule of thumb is to stock the kitchen with 1.5 plates and glasses per guest, up to the maximum occupancy of your home. Two dishes per guest is ideal though, so they won’t have to do dishes as often. This is particularly true for cups, which guests go through faster than other items.

Stock your home with a variety of different styles of glassware, but be sure to have consistency in numbers. Imagine your guests opening a bottle of wine only to find one wine glass, two beer mugs, and a few small glasses.

It’s usually okay to have fewer specialty glasses (martini glasses, beer mugs, etc.) than ordinary drinking cups, but make sure there’s enough variety that a reasonably sized party of adults can enjoy a nice evening together.

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Author: Chris Brown

Chris is a Pacific Northwest-based interior designer with an extensive background in photography, operations, sales, and business development. At Vacasa, Chris plays a key role in the company's newly launched design service arm, and has conceptualized, organized, and managed design projects for dozens of company-managed properties from start to finish. Chris also provides design consultation services to Vacasa's 5,000+ homeowners on an as-needed basis.