So you’ve bought an investment property and you’re ready to renovate it and start managing it as a vacation rental for AirBnb, VRBO, HomeAway, or Mr. & Mrs. Smith, etc. You likely have a lot of design-build questions! Not to fear, we’re here to help. These spaces are all about escapism and fun: an intriguing cross between hospitality spaces and cozy home environments. Just the kind of puzzle designers like us love to solve!
We get a lot of calls to work on renovating vacation rentals and we absolutely love it! We’re answering all of your questions like: What building materials are ideal for a vacation rental property? What materials should you avoid? Where should you prioritize investing in the renovation? Where should you save money? Read on, because we’re sharing 10 Tips for Renovating Your Vacation Rental Property:
10 Tips for Choosing Building Materials for Your Vacation Rental Property
New Floors for Your Vacation Rental Property
Floors need to be durable and easy to clean. We love luxury vinyl planks in a wood style. The floors are easy to put down, requiring less labor, and can be seamless throughout the unit into kitchens and bathrooms. An additional bonus to having one floor throughout is that it makes the space look bigger.
Cement or porcelain tiles are also great options, as they are beautiful, durable and can take on the look of stone, wood or decorative patterns.
Surfaces of Furniture & Counters
Make sure that the surfaces can take a beating and are scratch proof. Pro Tip: For wood surfaces on desks, buffets, book shelves, etc. place a piece of glass on top so things don’t get scratched.
Bathroom Appliances for Your Vacation Rental Property
Forgo bathtubs and install showers instead in the remodel. Showers save water which is not only great for the environment, but also your bottom line. Dual flush, low flow toilets will cut back on water usage as well.
In the shower, use as seamless a material as possible so cleaning is easier. When you don’t have as many grout lines, you’ll collect less mold and mildew, making clean-up easy.
Open up the entire bathroom by installing a glass panel for the shower. PRO TIP: having a panel without an operating door will save money on materials and installation AND have less chance of breaking.
Make sure you have a place to put items down in the bathroom. Some type of counter or storage space is essential. We recommend opting for a vanity, rather than a free-standing sink.
Kitchen Renovation in Your Vacation Rental
We love butcher block for kitchen counters. It’s a timeless look, and the surface can be sanded down if/when any damage or wear occurs. As an added bonus, installation and material costs are much lower than stone or tile.
Choosing Lighting for Your Vacation Home
With energy saving LED lights you can light the space like pro. Use a combination of ceiling light, floor lamps and sconces or table lamps in each room. Layering light is essential for enhances a guest’s experience. As an extra energy saving tip: Add automatic sensors for lights so when guests leave a space, the lights go off.
Heat and Ventilation in Vacation Rentals
Install Ceiling Fans in bedrooms and living spaces to circulate air. Be sure windows are easy to operate, and if you are in a hot, humid climate, air conditioning is a must. Install thermostats that control the space that guests occupy so they will be comfortable and have control.
Consider installing smart thermostats, which allow you to regulate going above or below certain temperature. We highly recommend the Nest, which is sleek in design, and easy to install and operate. As a nice bonus, it’s an inexpensive buy on amazon.
Install KeyPad Locks on Vacation Rental Properties
There's nothing worse than getting a call at 2AM from a guest who has lost a key. But this situation is all too avoidable! Keypad locks are an easy way to make sure this never happens and provide an easy check in and out for guests. There is not enough that can be said for the time-saving investment of a keypad lock.
Storage Space in Your Vacation Rental Property
Designate a space to store suitcases, luggage, linens and pillow, along with drawers and a hanging rod for guests’ clothing.
Paint & Where to Add Color
Cover walls in clean white paint. White is neutral and accepted across any and all demographics that could be staying at your place. Save any color for accessorizing! Add color with elements that are easy to change out like rugs, curtains, pillows.
If you have it, utilize any outdoor space to the max, even it's an entry with a few plants and chairs. Gravel or hard surface are ideal to keep clean and help to greatly reduce water usage. Install low maintenance plants wherever possible and privacy screens--your guests will certainly appreciate them!
If you don't have an outdoor space, create an area where you can bring the outdoors in. This can be done by having an area where natural light is available.
Consider installing a window with a view of trees outdoor or a skylight with a view to the clouds. Non-spiky succulents are a great plant choice for indoors as they only have to be watered about every 6 weeks.
To recap… 5 Things to Consider When Renovating Your Vacation Rental Property
You need the space to be easily cleanable if you want to turn your mini-hotel over quickly between check outs and check ins.
Any building materials you choose should be incredibly durable. Vacation rentals require surfaces and mechanisms that hold up to lots of foot traffic and wear and tear, especially if they are in a desirable outdoorsy location where sand or mud is likely to be tracked through the space.
We don’t usually suggest shopping for the ‘trendiest’ home decor because trends come and go and that means updating every year, as the season changes. But when it comes to a remodel for a vacation rental, trends can be your friend as a marketing tool. Vacationers often want to stay in the trendiest new spot! That said, do your research: Find trends that are going to last for 10-15 years until it's time to remodel. Following popular design blogs like the Green Blog is a great way to stay on top of lasting, luxury design trends.
Prioritizing Your Vacation Property Renovation
The kitchen and baths, just like a home, are areas people care about the most, followed by the much simpler: fresh coat of paint. When you're tackling those larger projects, think about the big picture: What is going to draw potential guests to select your place? Theme and cohesion helps with this: For this project we selected a California Bungalow style in a blue and white scheme.
This is all about creating that in-between experience: A hotel experience with a home-away-from-home vibe. One of the best ways you can control this is by maintaining the temperature, with good ventilation and heat.
If you have questions about how to shop for a piece of real estate to transform into your vacation rental property or have more design questions, check out this blog post here.