How to furnish a vacation rental property

Interior design that drives bookings


Design makes a difference on your success—a massive difference. Managing 40,000+ vacation homes in 500+ destinations has taught us that.

From thoughtful furniture choices to curated decor, every detail is crucial in how your vacation rental is perceived, and later reviewed. Attractive interior design has the power to:

But design is so much more than pretty colors and patterns. Here are expert design tactics to help you create a vacation home experience worth booking.

Consider your guests

First things first: Get clear on your target guests, based on previous guests or who would most likely book your home. For instance, a family booking a Pigeon Forge, Tennessee mountain cabin will have different wants, needs, and vacation plans than a group of friends booking a desert condo in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Some added tips:

  • Think about how your guests are going to use the space, rather than simply throwing things together. For instance, living rooms need tables, not just places to sit.
  • Make sure you’re offering guests enough open outlets, or else they may start unplugging items to recharge their devices.
The living area of a vacation rental in Blue Ridge, GA
The dining area of a vacation rental in Blue Ridge, GA
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Work within your budget

Whether your budget is lean or large, you’ll want to maximize every dollar. Here’s how to make the most of your design investment:

  • Prioritize your spending and start with whatever takes up the most surface area—the floors, then your walls. For instance, if your carpet is decades old and your walls need a fresh coat of paint, it makes sense to start there.
  • Resist cheap online furniture. Most of these pieces are made of faux wood or particle board that will likely need to be replaced after a few months or just one season. While real wood can be repaired, faux wood products can simply shatter or break even with minimal use.
  • Invest in high-touch items that guests will interact with the most, such as coffee tables and sleeper sofas. Then, spend less on items like a TV stand, which guests won’t touch often.
  • Spend more on big items first, such as a living room sofa and beds for each room. Then, make the space feel fresh and new by filling in the gaps with cost-effective touches, such as throw pillows or wall art.

Key elements to furnishing your vacation rental home

Let’s dive into the key elements you should focus on to elevate your rental's design and appeal.


  • Encourage guests to relax and socialize by investing in high-quality, comfy seating like plush sofas and armchairs.
  • Select durable, easy-to-clean furniture that can withstand regular use by guests. Opt for stain-resistant fabrics and surfaces.
  • Incorporate a mix of functional and stylish pieces, such as a statement coffee table, end tables, and a dining set.
  • Ensure your furniture arrangement promotes flow and conversation, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Decor and aesthetics

  • Immerse your guests in the destination by embracing the local charm and culture through your decor choices. For instance, when decorating a beach house evoke the seaside by bringing in coastal colors and natural textures.
  • Achieve a visually appealing and cohesive look throughout your vacation rental by sticking to a complementary color palette and design theme.
  • Incorporate natural elements like plants, wood, and natural fibers to bring the outdoors in.
  • Hang artwork, mirrors, and other wall decor to add visual interest and personality to the space.
  • Strategically place lighting fixtures to create a cozy and well-lit environment, both indoors and out.

Bedding and linens

  • Use crisp, white bedding as a foundation and layer in pops of color or patterns through accent pillows and throws.
  • Provide a generous supply of plush white towels, bathrobes, and other linens to create a luxurious, hotel-like experience.
  • Consider providing extra blankets, pillows, and other sleep accessories to cater to different guest preferences.
Vacasa's Vacation Rental Linen Program

 Get new hotel-quality linens and fluffy white towels every year. We launder, change, and replace linens as needed.


  • Stock your kitchen with a comprehensive set of high-quality cookware, utensils, and appliances so guests can prepare their meals.
  • Provide a selection of basic pantry items, spices, and condiments to make it easy for guests to cook up whatever they’re craving.
  • Include thoughtful touches like a coffee maker, coffee grinder, and tea kettle to make mornings seamless.

Technology and entertainment

  • Invest in high-speed WiFi to help guests stay connected and entertained during their stay. Vacasa provides homeowners with a powerful WiFi hotspot connection that guests can access with just one click.
  • Buy a smart TV and let guests watch their favorite shows and movies using their own streaming accounts. Another option: Buy a streaming device, like Roku or Amazon Fire TV stick.
  • Let guests listen to music or even control the lights with an Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
  • Ensure all technology is user-friendly and easy to operate, with clear instructions provided.

Things to consider that are easily missed

Don’t go shopping for furniture and accessories just yet. Here’s more to think about.

Make your home easy to clean

Who else is impacted by your furniture and design? Your housekeepers. Steer away from items that are hard (or impossible) to clean after each guest stay. Some things to consider:

  • Avoid high-pile or shag rugs that are difficult to run vacuums through.
  • Avoid throw pillows and comforters that can’t be tossed into the washing machine.
  • Instead of wall-to-wall carpets, go for a non-porous flat surface then strategically place an area rug to bring warmth.

Your outdoor decor and design also matters

Outdoor spaces are hugely important to attract guests and to elevate their experience. Some tips to deck out your deck, patio, or backyard for the best guest experience:

  • Skip the inexpensive, plastic Adirondack chairs you see at local stores. They’re often made with a thin plastic that can easily fall apart.
  • Look for outdoor furniture made with POLYWOOD® lumber, which is weather resistant and ultra-durable, and has long-lasting color.
  • Consider how guests will use your outdoor space. Guests will want to sunbathe by the pool, so purchase all-weather chaise lounges instead of stackable chairs.
  • Add lighting to set an inviting ambiance at night.
  • Purchase storage for your seat cushions to protect them from rain or inclement weather.

Don’t underestimate the time and effort needed for assembly

It could take 3–4 hours just to assemble one piece. Plus, you’ll end up with much more packaging material and trash than you’ll know what to do with. It’s not uncommon to make several trips to the dump just to throw packaging away. So, even with a desire to DIY, think about what your time is worth.

If you want to put your design together quicker and more efficiently, consider hiring professionals.

Vacation home furniture FAQ

Where you buy furniture isn’t as important as what your furniture is made of. Avoid filling your vacation home with cheap furniture made of faux wood or particle board. Those pieces can break easily, are hard to fix, and are unlikely to last more than just one season. Your vacation rental is a business, so look for furniture that was built for heavy use. For instance, on Wayfair, look for the commercial logo, which shows furniture that was specifically designed for repeated use. For furniture like sofas and armchairs, look for those made with performance fabric, which are easier to clean and more durable.

From bedroom mirrors to coffee tables, cooking utensils to fluffy towels, stocking a vacation rental can be a tedious (and seemingly endless) task. Make the process easier by using our room-by-room checklists for your bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, and living room. Or, download our ultimate vacation home inventory checklist so you’ll know exactly what to stock throughout your entire home.

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