The Five Golden Rules for Designing 5-Star Vacation Rental Homes

Aug 29, 2023

The Five Golden Rules for Designing 5-Star Vacation Rental Homes

Competition on booking sites like Airbnb and Vrbo is fierce, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help a vacation rental property stand out. 

Recently, we sat down with our partners at Showplace to talk designing and furnishing. Showplace has designed six vacation rentals for Arrived with more than 25 five-star ratings (and counting). In short: They know their stuff. 

Here’s what they had to say: 

Rule #1: Don’t underestimate the commitment 

Like all great home designs, creating a unique, show-worthy vacation rental experience is supposed to look effortless, but it is anything but. According to Showplace, most soon-to-be hosts need to pay more attention to the amount of work that goes into the process. 

Showplace works with a team of trained professionals, setting up furniture, ensuring everything is delivered on time, removing trash, and adding final touches — and that is just the final setup process. 

Creating the kind of stay that attracts potential visitors online and leads to five-star reviews (and repeat visits) is a big commitment. 

Rule #2: Consider lifespan when you buy 

When considering what to purchase for a vacation rental property, it is essential to consider the total cost of ownership. 

Take assembly-required furniture, for example. You can score huge discounts on DIY shelving and bed frames, but those pieces aren’t designed for the kind of wear and tear caused by hundreds of guests dropping by. Over time, those pieces will quickly wear down, and you’ll have to replace them. 

Hardier furnishings often cost more upfront but last longer, meaning your overall financial commitment is less. 

Rule #3: Embrace color

Online, fluffy white comforters, overstuffed white couches, and thick white shag rugs look fantastic. And in some homes (particularly those without kids or pets), you can actually live in the look. 

But in a vacation rental home? Not so much. 

It may look fantastic in listing photos, but light colors are hard to keep up with when you can’t control the environment. That means you’ll spend more time and money checking on the property, cleaning, and replacing items as needed. 

Instead, Showplace opts for darker colors and stain-resistant materials that can withstand all living conditions. 

Rule #4: Don’t skimp on the five must-haves

The cool thing about vacation rental homes: They’re not hotels that have to follow strict corporate rules. You can have a lot of fun with the design. Like at The Pickler, where we installed a full-sized regulation pickleball court. Or at The Lodge (our first winner in Arrived’s BYO Challenge), where we installed a mini rock wall and actual slide

But there are some tried-and-true amenities a vacation rental should always have:

  • Coffee maker (and coffee): Showplace loves the K-Duo from Keurig.
  • Wine glasses: Guests don’t mind to BYOW, but they don’t want to BYOWG. 
  • Quality linens and mattresses: A good night’s sleep is vital to higher ratings. Don’t skimp on thread counts. 
  • Entertainment: Showplace recommends smart TVs with the streaming services already logged in. 
  • Electronic locks: Smart locks make it easy to welcome guests remotely. 

Rule #5: Get camera ready 

Always remember the power of great photos in real estate. Whether you’re listing a single-family residential property for rent or posting a vacation rental home on Vrbo, having great images that tell the story of the space is key to getting interest. 

When it comes to getting great photos, the little touches make the difference. Showplace recommends putting an extra focus on those little decor pieces — like picture-worthy houseplants and vases filled with flowers to make a property look more inviting. 

And don’t forget the cord covers. Hiding cords along the wall is a low-effort way to significantly impact a space. 

Want to check out the whole conversation with Showplace?

Rather skip the time commitment? With Arrived, anyone can invest $100 to $15,000 in vacation rental properties. You can earn passive income and any appreciation as property values grow while Arrived takes care of the hard work for you. 

The opinions expressed in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual or on any specific security or investment product. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. View Arrived’s disclaimers

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