How to furnish a vacation home rental, without breaking the bank?
Of course decoration is a matter of taste, which is different for you and also for your guests. But I am sure most of my guests were attracted by the interior design also, aside from location and price.
Please note I live in British Columbia, Canada, and I shop in North Vancouver or around Vancouver. This is NOT a sponsored post (unfortunately, haha!)
This is what worked for me:
Brand new beds. I buy my mattresses new, at Sleep Country.
Ask for discount. They do local free delivery.
I also advise to buy a firm mattress with a medium pillow top.
Why? My mattress downstairs feels like a CLOUD, but people with back problems have mentioned that for a long stay it can be too soft. Only 1 person mentioned BUT then I inquired others and the general consensus is that a medium/hard mattress is best overall.
I buy brand new because I can assess the quality and durability.
I also bought brand new couches for the rental suites, but once I did buy a couch on Craigslist for my shop and it was wonderful. So, if you trust the seller, and if the price and look are fantastic, why not?
For the Log House, Kika and I found an awesome couch at The Brick on Boxing Day for about $700. Great find. And for my long-term suite downstairs I bought an IKEA Ektorp couch also for about $700 (assembly required).
I then play around with tables, TV stand, and dressers. I use something I already have or buy used from Craigslist and Facebook. Check the Facebook groups in your area. In my area there are “buy and sell” groups for home “stuff”. A great place to find clean things in awesome shape!
In the beginning I used a vintage dresser in my suite and people loved the look, BUT I found it annoying that the drawers didn’t run smoothly. So, my advice would be to make sure the drawers run smoothly. You can buy an IKEA dresser, even used (and assembled) on Craigslist.
I leave the vintage stuff for tables and chairs and decor. I actually prefer vintage chairs as they seem much more durable and sturdy than the new ones. It’s EASY to find dining sets on Craigslist for not a lot of money. You can paint them if you want a brighter look.
Pictures! I shopped my home, home sense, IKEA and we were lucky enough to get a local artist pictures donated (for the Log House). So we have a mixture of everything. At the Log House, I put 2 of my favourite pictures: they are prints by my friend Doris from Ink & Dolly. I cleaned and painted old windows and Doris attached the prints to them. I love them.
I try not to put too much decor around, but those things are vintage as well – like the three pitchers at the kitchen window in the Log House. Vintage items are inexpensive and add warmth and interest to the place. You can find, for example, 3 white pitchers in your local thrift store for $5-$7 each. Buy different sizes and use one for your wooden spoons. Put them on your counter top. Voila!
For the Log House, Kika and I bought our utensils in several different places, all new.
Home Sense, IKEA (wine glasses, dishes, cutlery, plastic containers, closet dividers, curtains) and even the Dollar Store (measuring cups/spoons, that are not used frequently in a vacation rental).
Bedding and linens are all bought at Home Sense. We buy 100% cotton for everything. Sheets are always WHITE. This makes it easier to wash (you might have more than one bed and need to wash more than one set at a time), easier to clean any stains when that happens. I check that the thread count is at least 300. I don’t like very high thread count as they can get very wrinkled.
TOWELS are white and fluffy. All from Home Sense. Same for duvet covers and the duvets. I have two covers for each bed so they are changed with each guest. It’s a lot of washing but you want to make sure each guest has a fresh, clean bed!
I’m obsessed with blankets and throws and chenille… so I have some throws here and there that are vintage. Might as well put them to a good use! They also add interest and warmth to the place.
Things need to be practical. Lots of mugs, glasses, plates, and utensils. At the Log House, we have a lot of stuff because it’s a full house with 3 bedrooms. People book a whole week or 2 weeks. People book holidays which involves cooking. So we are prepared for that. We pay attention to the guests’ feedback and are always improving.
It’s important to keep the space UNCLUTTERED. I noticed from when I had students that they prefer a clean space with clean surfaces so they could add their own stuff. So early on I learned to HOLD my instinct to add decorations items.
I also choose soothing and peaceful colours. My guests comment on that a lot, that everything feels calm. That’s what I want: my guests to relax 🙂