Decorating a holiday property can be a difficult job; it is, after all, your home, but one which you need to make appealing to others. Adding your own personal touches all over the house will make the property the ideal country retreat for you, but if it’s too personal you could put off potential guests.
Needless to say any holiday home should be well presented, but finding the right balance in terms of style. This involves establishing your main target market – families, young couples, retirees, active outdoor types – and thinking about how your tastes may overlap with theirs. You should also take into account the location of the property, as visitors to a country retreat may expect something a little more cosy and homely than guests at a beachfront home. Once you’ve decided on a general theme and look, you can start applying this to specific design schemes that will make your holiday let an attractive and welcoming proposition.
The first thing to do is to set a budget. Trying to achieve the perfect look can quickly result in costs getting away from you, and turning a profit in the first year of a holiday let is tough enough without high expenditure at the outset. So set a budget and stick to it, factoring in all the costs associated with bringing your home up to the standard you want. It may involve making compromises in certain areas, but you can always make upgrades at a later date, once the business is thriving. However, making the most of this budget also involves choosing hard-wearing products that will not need to be replaced a year or so down the line.
If you own a country cottage near popular walking routes, it’s likely to be a hit with ramblers. However, walkers bring with them muddy boots and damp gear, so a high-quality cream carpet just inside the front door is not a good idea. Instead, look to easy-clean wood flooring, or designate a porch area for muddy boots and wet clothes. A wooden floor will also work well at a beachfront property, as the sand that is sure to be walked in can easily be swept up. Alternatively, a luxury, relaxing country retreat would benefit from carpeting, or at least attractive rugs to make the property feel more homely.
Wallpaper typically gives a cosier, more ambient feel, but is not as long-lasting or practical as a painted wall. For balance, perhaps use wallpaper in the bedrooms, where a warm and relaxing feel will be more appreciated, but stick to painted walls in high-traffic areas such as the kitchen and living room, where ease of cleaning and longevity are more important.
You may enjoy mixes of dark reds and browns in your home, but it may not appeal so much to guests. Neutral colours have the broadest appeal, and are the most adaptable. This gives you the chance to change the look of the rooms in future with furnishings and accessories, without having to completely redecorate.
Curtains or blinds?
Window dressing should fit in with the overall décor of the room, so the choice between blinds and curtains is not straightforward. Blinds are more practical, but curtains provide a more homely feel. However, it is worth remembering that guests will appreciate blackout blinds or heavy curtains in bedrooms, so morning sunlight does not disturb sleep.
If you do have a desire to personalise your holiday property – it is somewhere you want to feel at home, after all – try and utilise accessories such as ornaments and wall hangings. This way, you can easily remove them and store them when you leave. The property will then be more neutral and appealing to guests, while your treasured items will be protected from damage.
Electrical gadgets such as TVs, stereos and kitchen gizmos can be a big draw for some guests while for others they are just unnecessary clutter, so try and find the right balance with these devices and don’t let them overpower your rooms.