Tips on How to Decorate Your Rental Property



Whether you’re looking for a Northern cottage getaway or a mix of business and pleasure in an urban environment, companies such as Airbnb and Vrbo have made the process of finding a short-term rental incredibly streamline. For the owners, listing their rental property is also very simple. With just a few clicks on the website of your choosing, you can have your rental property listed and ready for business the same day but the question is, will anyone bite? Listing your property is the easy part but in order to truly achieve success, you have to put in a bit of thought and effort. Decorating a rental property takes an entirely different approach to decorating your own home. The goal is to make the space as appealing to the most travellers and vacationers as possible. Having worked on a few clients’ rental properties recently, we’ve learned a thing or two along the way. So if you’re looking to open up your home or investment property to short-term renters, this is what we suggest before you start uploading photos…

Think about who, what, where and why…

As you start to make plans to decorate your rental property, ask yourself a few practical questions before you dive in. The answers to these questions will serve as an incredibly useful guide as you go along! First, think about where your property is located. Is it in the downtown core? Or are you in cottage country? Or somewhere else entirely? This may seem like a rather obvious question but it’s incredibly important as it will determine an appropriate style for the home. Next, who is going to be renting your space? If your property is a condo downtown, it could be a single individual who is in town for a couple of days on business, whereas the cottage up North will likely be a family. The needs of these two types of guests are incredibly different. Then, think about what your guests will be looking to do or achieve in your home and why they are there in the first place. To use the previous example, the business traveller will require easy access to power outlets, a desk, chair and sufficient lighting for work. Maybe they’re from overseas and need a good sleep to adjust to local time in which case, an incredibly comfortable bed and blackout blinds are a must. 

To further illustrate, in our client’s Georgian Bay beach house featured above, we felt it was important to create a comfortable common area for families to spend quality time in and to enjoy lake views. The sofa and armchairs are incredibly plush and comfortable for cozy nights of lounging and watching movies. The coffee table is strategically large enough for board games and cards. We chose fabrics that are approachable and neutral but also tie-in the surrounding outdoors. The sisal area rug was the perfect finishing touch to define the space and reinforce the light and breezy beach-house vibe.

Consider your storage space…

Once you’ve answered the questions above, it’s worth considering your storage space and closets. In a rental, the requirements of a closet are entirely different than that of a standard home. Your guests won’t be bringing along multiple seasons worth of clothes so typically, big closets are not necessary. Think about what kind of clothes and items your guests will actually use and need during their stay and equip the rooms accordingly.  A chest of drawers and a simple wardrobe might be all you need. In the case of the Georgian Bay beach house, hooks were mounted in most rooms for easy access to towels, bathing suits, sun hats and beach bags.

Show personality, NOT your personal possessions…

People choose short term rentals over a hotel for various reasons. The freedom to “live like a local,” embrace the vibe and atmosphere of their surroundings and to stay somewhere with personality are just some of the reasons. When decorating, think about your location and surroundings and embrace them! For example, artwork depicting nearby sights, created by a local artist can be a beautiful touch. A framed photo of you and your dog however, will remind your guest that your home is not their own and take them out of a desirable headspace. The key is to decorate in such a way that allows your guests to play make-believe and pretend that your home is theirs throughout their stay. In the Georgain Bay beach house, paintings depicting the local landscape decorate the walls throughout to add colour and serve as a welcome reminder of the beautiful surroundings.

Be mindful of your design choices…

Generally speaking, the goal is to design according to the taste of the majority as opposed to your own personal style. This means choosing a more neutral palette for the larger items and then adding in pops of colour and personality with linens, rugs, throw pillows, plants and so forth. Instead of  committing to a heavily mid century-modern influenced scheme, for example, try to stay more general and inject personality with smaller pieces. In the beach house, we used vibrant bedding and selected these indigo-blue table lamps to add colour and playfulness. The result is a look that is fun and eye-catching but without the risk of being too extreme.