A well-designed vacation rental is most effective when it serves as a seamless backdrop to the perfect getaway. Think about your own travel experiences. When you get in the car to head home, what’s the first thing you say? Is it that the bed was too lumpy, or is it about how you slept well, ate well, and enjoyed quality time together without any hassles?

Seattle vacation rental bedroom

Hopefully your guests are talking more about their positive experiences after a stay in your vacation rental! And fortunately, there are many simple ways to enhance your rental so guests feel more at home in your home.

Making small design and decor upgrades can go a long way in turning an ordinary trip into a memorable vacation guests will tell their friends about. Here are some ideas from our team of design experts:

Start with any problem areas

Read through your guest reviews: Is anything mentioned frequently? Whether it’s the mattress or the carpet, we recommend always tackling these tough spots first before moving on to the rest of the house.

Maximize comfort for every bed

A bad night’s sleep can put a serious damper on a vacation. Make sure guests have a comfortable retreat to lay their head each night. That includes the mattress, bed frame, sheets, pillows, and blankets. Replace mattresses and bed frames when they start to sag or squeak—standard mattresses have an average lifespan of five to seven years.

Since bedding is what gets cleaned most often in a vacation rental, it’s worth investing in (matching) sets that can withstand frequent washings and replacing them annually. A comforter in a duvet cover with some extra blankets and a few machine-washable throw pillows sets beds up for a restful night and an easy clean.

Make the kitchen the heart of the home

Many guests choose a vacation rental over a hotel specifically for the kitchen—so they can cook their favorite family recipes, or share a slow morning together over coffee and breakfast. Provide your guests with quality tablecloths and placemats so they can turn Grandma’s pot roast into even more of a special occasion.

A full kitchen remodel would obviously go a long way, but if you’re not quite ready for that, you can also spruce things up aesthetically by painting the cabinets or replacing their hardware.

Create cozy common spaces

Guests also choose vacation rentals so they can spend time together at home after a fun day at the beach or on the slopes. Make sure your shared spaces are set up to accommodate as many people as your home can sleep for both lounging and dining. And don’t forget about logistical features like side and coffee tables, so guests have a place to rest their bowl of popcorn when curling up for a movie night.

Dress up your windows

Curtains of any kind will help your rental feel more like a home, but consider the type of natural light the room gets. Blackout curtains can provide a more restful experience in a bedroom, while light and airy ones can help a bright room with a view feel open and welcoming all day long.

Add color where you can

Even the smallest intentional design and decor additions will be noticed by guests. Try replacing throw pillow slipcovers or adding a throw blanket for a touch of color and texture. Hang art that works well with the size and layout of the space and accents—without overpowering—the room.

Give your floors some TLC

Large area rugs help spaces feel more intimate and can protect your floors from frequent foot traffic. To keep rugs and carpets looking their best, plan to have them professionally cleaned each year and replaced every five to eight years on average.

If you intend to rent your home long-term, vinyl or laminate floor planks hold up best to high traffic and damage, often lasting 10-20 years. Vinyl flooring is also non-porous, making it easy to clean up after kids or pets who may be prone to messes!

Don’t overlook the bathroom

You don’t need to remodel to make a difference in this small space. A fresh coat of paint, updated fixtures, and a new shower curtain can give a bathroom a whole new look. Consider little touches here as well to create a relaxing retreat—like super-soft bathrobes or soothing essential oils.

Go above and beyond

If you feel as though you’ve got the bases covered, consider which amenities you can add to make your home even more appealing to guests. Additions like a hot tub, fire pit, or ping-pong table are practically guaranteed to help boost ROI.

Much smaller yet thoughtful purchases can also make an impact. From a collection of board games to a bedside jewelry dish, your guests will notice and appreciate the effort you’ve put into your home.

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Author: Allison Busse

Allison is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Vacasa in Portland, Oregon. She creates resources for vacation rental homeowners with the help of Vacasa's team of experts. Outside of work Allison loves hiking, biking, cooking, and reading.