Lake houses are undeniably nostalgic. It’s where time slows down, the water is calm, and the outdoors are always calling. A beautiful lakefront location goes a long way, but your vacation rental’s interior needs to be just as attractive to compel a guest to book. Our Vacasa Interior Design experts have outlined their top seven experiential and design essentials that reel in guests and help you stand out from the competition.
(If you’re looking for room-by-room inventory checklists for your vacation rental, we have those, too.)
Rely on Mother Nature to steer your design, advises Kimberly White, Vacasa’s Head of Home Quality and Standards. Guests want the outdoor experience, both indoors and out. Milena Marzulo, Vacasa Design Associate, suggests selecting textures and colors inspired by the local environment. Think deeper teals and blues, accented with cream or white. Or, try various shades of brown for a woodsy palette, along with metal and wood furniture.
The secret to modern interior design: don’t take your destination literally. Avoid cliche lake house paraphernalia, like paddle boards and compasses. Milena advises to take a more abstract and subdued approach. “Make it personal with a custom sign of your lake house’s name, mount a map of where your lake house is located, or show off a piece of art that subtly evokes the lakeside experience.”
Let’s face it. No matter how stunning your lake home is, your guests’ favorite highlight will be the view. So, leverage it. If space allows, create a comfy lounge or conversation area near a window or on your outdoor deck overlooking the water, Milena advises.
Plus, avoid heavy curtains on sliding glass doors and windows. Let your guests have uninterrupted views of the lake from the warm comfort of the inside.
Your furniture (both indoor and outdoor) will have to put up with a lot time and time again. Think barbecue sauce stains, muddy paw prints, and wet bathing suits. Kimberly advises vacation home owners to invest in durable furniture that can withstand it all, like pieces made of teak or POLYWOOD®. Plus, look for performance fabrics that are easy to clean, like Sunbrella®—a favorite of the Vacasa interior design team. Avoid outfitting your space with inexpensive plastic chairs from your local hardware store. These flimsy pieces can wear down and break after just one season.
Your outdoor patio or deck will become the de facto social center of every stay. Your guests will likely spend hours soaking up the sun, watching their children splashing on the shore, and cooking out. Consider buying all-weather chaise lounges, in addition to an outdoor dining table and chairs. Don’t forget ambient lighting for evening happy hours and storage for your seat cushions.
Make it easy for guests to dive right into an adventure by providing thoughtful and playful extras. Items like life jackets, floating coolers, marshmallow roasting sticks, plastic plates and cups (picnic on the shore, anyone?), outdoor towels, and outdoor folding chairs allow guests to seamlessly live that lake life. “If you want your lake house to stand out from all the others, details like these matter,” Milena says.
Lake house getaways are almost always a family affair. Make the entire family—even four-legged family members—feel welcome and safe with the right amenities. Not only does that show you’re savvy about your guests’ needs, but you’re also allowing parents to pack lighter for their stay.
For children, offer items like a portable play yard, high chair, baby gates, and family-friendly games. Pet-friendly vacation homes tend to generate 10–20% more rental income than homes that aren’t. Keep the dogs (and their owners) happy with items like a dog bed with a machine washable cover, extra dog bowls and leashes, dog waste bags, and towels to wipe muddy paws.
Want more ways to design your lake house for bigger profits? Learn how to decorate your vacation rental like a professional interior designer. Or, check out our Vacasa Interior Design program for personalized vacation home interior design services that can help you boost bookings and revenue all year round.
Lake house guests will spend their days canoeing, swimming, playing on the shore, and barbecuing on the deck. Provide guests with the playful water amenities they need to immediately dive into fun. Think foldable beach chairs, inflatable float tubes, beach towels, beach games sets, and perhaps even kayaks and paddleboards. Alfresco dining will likely be on your guests’ agendas, so outfit your outdoor space with a firepit or barbecue grill, roasting sticks, melamine plates and utensils, warm outdoor blankets, and ambient lighting.
One of the most fun aspects of buying a lake house (besides vacationing in it, of course) is personally branding it with a unique name. Naming your vacation home gives it a distinct identity and will help it stand out on vacation rental booking sites (also known as channels), such as Airbnb, Vrbo, and Booking.com.
One idea is to use a name that is personal and meaningful to you, such as Edward’s Edgewater Escape. You can also consider your lake’s ambience. Is it lively and boisterous? Names like All Decked Out, Lake Daze, and Shore to Please could be fun options. Or, is your lake house a peaceful retreat? Names like Tranquility Bay, Sunkissed Serenity, or Barefoot Bungalow can convey the calm guests are looking for.
Yes—a lake house can be a worthy investment. Your lake house not only will serve as a place to create new cherished memories with family and friends, you can also earn income when you use it as a vacation rental. When it’s time to retire, your home could also be a future retirement home or a nice nest egg. Before purchasing a lake house as a vacation home, consider these expert tips on investing in a vacation rental.
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