Beachfront income properties have their own particular set of concerns when it comes to interior design. Condo packages may meet budget goals, but often contain inferior quality pieces that don’t last. Vacation renters inflict heavy use; they track in sand, walk on carpets dripping wet, sit on furniture in wet bathing suits, and set drinks everywhere. Sofa cushions fade quickly from pool chlorine and dining chairs are spotted and stained; and it seems like the kids use the curtain rods for monkey bars! The sensible owner will make planned purchases annually to ensure the unit’s interior will continue to be fresh and properly functioning. The following Resort Rental Design ideas can help ensure that your beach house or condo investment will remain desirable and profitable.
Be sure to have enough seats to accommodate the number of people sleeping in the beds. A sleeper sofa may not be used often, but it adds to the bed count, and thus to the rental price. Some of the better manufacturers offer upgraded sleeper units that are quite comfortable, perfect if you have a small condo.
A larger living room may even have room for two sofas, instead of a sofa and loveseat. The cost is nearly the same. If the room is small, ask about townhouse sofas, which are about 6” shorter than a normal sofa and can be used as a pair for more seating.
A good fabric for a poolside rental is outdoor acrylic, such as Sunbrella or Outdura brand. If you purchase your furniture from a shop that specializes in resort rental interiors, outdoor fabrics should be part of the selection. They are resistant to chlorine, repel stains, and come in bright, vacation-friendly colors. These fabrics cost a bit more, but continue to look good for years longer than a cotton fabric. In more upscale rentals such as private homes, washable heavy cotton slipcovers are often used, combining an elegant look with ease of care. While slipcovered sofas are more expensive in the initially, a replacement slipcover is half the price of a new sofa, so they are much more cost effective over time.
Plan on recovering or replacing sofas and chairs every 5-7 years.
End tables and coffee tables need to be able to take a beating; painted surfaces may chip, so be prepared to touch up. Tabletops in antique pine that is already distressed or glass tops that can be washed work very well.
Again, match the number of seats to the number of beds. If the dining area is small, barstools along the counter offer more dining space; just pay attention to the traffic paths, because crowding makes it hard to get in and out from the table. You need at least two feet to push out your chair and get up. Ordering an extra-narrow dining table can be a space saver; a 32” wide table is perfect for dining, but eliminates food being served in the center.
Choose sturdy chairs – with minimal ornamentation. Carved details or grooved designs will catch food and dirt, and the chairs will end up sticky and dirty. If you have an older unit and the dining set is looking tired, try painting the chairs a coastal cottage color like sky blue, yellow or light green. Outdoor acrylic fabrics are excellent for chair seats, as they stand up to chlorine and can be easily cleaned.
Resort rental bedrooms are best when sparsely furnished – nowadays guests like to live out of their luggage. Each room needs one chest, preferably tall and narrow to save floor space. We recommend a bench also, for laying out an open suitcase, and a peg rack on the wall near the door for hanging beach gear and extra towels. Benches designed for an entry, with cubbies below, are perfect for luggage, personal gear and shoes in a resort bedroom.
Make sure bedside tables are sturdy and have a pair of good, tall lamps with heavy bases, so vacationers can read in bed. Lamps designed for hospitality use can be bolted down if breakage has been a problem.
Bedding needs can vary according to the type of property. Some management companies require bedspreads for ease of housekeeping. Custom bedspreads can be expensive, but they are significantly more sturdy than store-bought. Inexpensive “bed-in-a-bag” ensembles are often flimsy fabrics, and ill-fitting as well. Make a good impression with a custom bedskirt that matches the curtains, combined with a store-bought quilt or mattelasse’ coverlet.
Be sure to provide flexibility with bed sizes; a pair of twin beds can become a king bed with a “swing king” mechanism. Provide a second set of sheets and coverlet so the bed can be made up either way – this is excellent for golfers, as two friends can share a room with twin beds, and it can be made up as a king for a couple.
Quality window coverings are a must in a resort rental. Guests are on vacation, and will expect at least the comfort level of a hotel suite. This means room-darkening coverings, in all bedrooms, especially on the ocean. Custom curtains with blackout lining and a commercial grade rod are the best choice. Commercial grade curtain rods can’t be purchased at a hardware store – they should be ordered from a specialist, but they needn’t be very expensive.
For curtains, we recommend a simple fabric with one or two colors, such as a stripe or small repetitive design. A new sofa or bedspread can be added more easily if the curtain pattern is easy to coordinate. If properly made and lined, curtains can last fifteen years or more, so it is best to plan for other things in the room to be replaced during the life of the curtains and keep the fabric simple.
Living areas can have wide-slat blinds with a valance for color. Keep in mind privacy if there is a sleeper sofa in the room. The wide-slat style allows for a good view out, so they are never raised up and down and hence rarely are broken. Vertical blinds, which are popular because they are so inexpensive, can be a big mistake – they quickly jam and break, costing much more to repair than their initial price.
Area rugs are now available in outdoor fibers that are washable and long-lasting for use indoors. Natural fibers can perform beautifully if the right ones are chosen and they are properly sealed. We usually recommend seagrass, which is elegant and affordable. Ordering carpet that can be bound into a custom sized area rug is great for adding color and fun textures or patterns. It’s soft under foot and another affordable option. The carpet should be low pile and preferably a nylon fiber for cleanability. Carpet designed for heavy-traffic or family rooms in a low sisal weave is an excellent option.
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