Top Considerations When Decorating a Vacation Home

Top Considerations When Decorating a Vacation Home

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Have you recently purchased a vacation home that you now want to do up inside and decorate to make it look its best? Or do you perhaps own a property that you’ve been renting out to holidaymakers for years that you know needs an internal refresh?

Whether these situations apply or another, decorating a vacation home is always a little different from focusing on the design of a standard home or investment. Here are some considerations to keep top of mind.

Let the Location Guide You

Consider the location of your property as you design its interiors, as this can help guide your choices. For instance, if you have a beach house near the water, you’ll likely want to select light shades to give your home a relaxed vibe. Blues, greens, and sand colors often work well in areas near the ocean. Also, you won’t want to decorate with precious furnishings that will be badly affected by sand and saltwater.

However, if you have a place in the mountains, say, this won’t be a concern, and you’ll more likely want to go for a darker, cozier color palette in your property. Deep shades such as browns, grays, reds, greens, black, and the like can work nicely here, as can the use of wood paneling or flooring. Plus, don’t forget to add snuggly, soft fabrics to add more warmth.

Get Clear on the Main Uses for the Property

Something else to think about is how you expect to use your vacation place. Your decorating choices will depend on who will use it and for what. For example, if you plan to rent the space out much of the time to strangers, you won’t want to put in pieces that are too valuable, unless you plan to rent it as a very high-end option.

Similarly, for rentals, it’s best to avoid adding in too many personal touches of your own, such as treasured artworks, inherited family tables or chairs, or other keepsakes. If, however, the property will be mainly used by you, your family, and your close friends, you can be much more liberal with what you spend on outfitting the place and the items you add to its design.

Buy Quality Beds, Mattresses, and Bed Linen

Regardless of whether you plan to spend a lot of time in your vacation abode yourself, it pays to invest in quality beds and mattresses. You and your loved ones or renters will want to sleep soundly when you stay. We all want to catch up on rest when we holiday, after all, and try to enjoy some sleep-ins.

It’s wise, then, to buy new bed bases to properly support mattresses to keep them firm and stop them from sagging. Plus, choose mattresses you think will give decent firmness and suit a variety of sleepers (e.g., back, side, or stomach) and other needs. You might like to purchase a natural mattress that is excellent for those with asthma or allergies and minimizes the number of chemicals in the product.

Don’t forget to pick out some good pillows, too. It helps to have a few options available for each bed so sleepers can choose the item that suits them best. For a vacation house, you also want to splurge a little and buy beautiful bed linens that are breathable, feel soft on your skin, and will wash and wear well over time.

Keep Things Reasonably Casual

Another tip when decorating your vacation property is to not go too formal in the design. When we go to holiday homes, we want to relax and rejuvenate ourselves, rather than feeling like we’re in a museum or somewhere we can’t kick our shoes off and chill out. You can still create an elegant, luxurious, and timeless vibe while making your interior design casual and comfortable, though.

Do this by choosing easy-care materials and furnishings and avoiding things you’d stress about too much if they broke or got damaged. You might like to pick up some refurbished or recycled items to save money and add some personality, or you could incorporate locally-designed and made products to give your vacation home more of a unique yet local feel.

Other considerations to keep in mind are to use a consistent color palette throughout the property, decorate around views, and finish off your designs by bringing in little luxuries such as soft, thick towels, plush accent pillows, handy coffee machines, aromatic diffusers, and flowers.

As you make your decisions along the way, think about how you can create a space that you or others want to return to over and over again.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.