How to decorate and furnish your holiday let

Now more than ever people are choosing a staycation over a holiday abroad, which in turn has lead to a lot of owners deciding to rent out their second home as a holiday let, or investing in a property to turn into a holiday rental. 

According to “During the pandemic there has been a sharp rise in the interest in staycations instead of overseas holidays. Research in 2020 found that 42.7% of people would rather enjoy a staycation compared to 24.7% of people voting to go abroad.”

With average occupancy rates on airbnb at around 80% per month, it’s easy to see why people are turning to jump on the bandwagon and buying a holiday home to act as a financial safety net or retirement fund for the future.

But with so many folk doing it, you’re always going to get those who do it so so wrong and make costly mistakes due to inexperience. While hiring an interior designer may seem like a luxury or too expensive for your budget, making the investment early on can lead to higher returns on your investment. Having a well designed and functional holiday home is key to happy guests and great 5* reviews. In this article we’re going to run through room by room all the things that should be considered when planning the furniture and furnishings for your holiday home.

The Kitchen

First stop is the heart of the home and where most people will spend their time, the kitchen. 

If you’ve got a large space for a kitchen-diner already, this is great as guests love open plan spaces, especially on holiday when they will generally interact more than at home. If you don’t have a large space but have the potential for it (i.e. a separate kitchen and dining room next to each other) check out costs to have the wall removed and create one big room. If this isn’t possible, not to worry, many of the advice below can still be applied in a smaller space!

When choosing colourings for your kitchen, try to keep it light and neutral, nobody wants to be cooking in a dinging dark space, plus neutral colourings and style will prevent the kitchen from dating too quick. As potentially the most expensive room of the house, it’s crucial to get this right and invest in a quality kitchen that is going to withstand a lot of use. The shaker style kitchen is a timeless style which can suit both modern and more traditional style homes and can be completely customised with a pop of colour or with the hardware such as the handles. A brass cupped handle can transform a middle of the range kitchen to one that looks super expensive and luxurious. 

When we consider seating, a proper sit down dining table is preferable and also keep in mind the size needed for the amount of guests you can accommodate. If your rental sleeps 6 people, it’s best to find a medium sized table that can comfortable seat up to 6 people. A breakfast bar or island is also great for adding in a couple of bar stools for casual seating where you can plonk yourself while the other person cooks in the kitchen or to sit at with your morning coffee.

Keep the worktops free of clutter with wall shelving and well organised cupboard space. Carefully consider the kinds of kitchen utensils and crockery you’ll need to provide to your guests without going into overkill and cluttering up your cupboards. Remember to leave space for the guests to store their own food. A little idea is to use trays and attractive pots to store kitchen essentials, it keeps them neat and tidy while looking great too.

The flooring in the kitchen needs to be durable and withstand spillages and sometimes heavy pots and pans being dropped on it by accident. When selecting the flooring ensure you’re not being swayed by the aesthetic and instead look for what would be most suitable. Luxury glue down vinyl floors have really come on in recent years and can almost look as convincing as the real thing with the added bonus of them being 100% waterproof. Tiled floors with underfloor heating look and feel luxurious and would be a long term option for the flooring, so go for something neutral that could fit in with different style kitchens.

Multi-level lighting in the kitchen is an absolute must and comes in many different forms.

Spotlights are great as general overall lighting with the addition of statement or accent lights above an island or dining table to add to the styling of the space. Little touches such as lighting under kitchen cabinets or cooker hoods add a soft glow that can bring a lovely atmosphere to the kitchen.

Finally add the finishing touches with accessories in the form of faux plants and flowers to add in a touch of colour and to freshen up the space. Wooden chopping boards can be arranged to create a display and using your wall shelving can also be a great place to add in a little design flare. Remember again not to go overboard as too much can clutter the space and become a haven for dust collecting.


The bedroom is the tranquil haven your guests are craving while they’re on holiday. A restful nights sleep is potentially the main point of reference when they leave a review and boy you’ll know if they’ve had a bad nights sleep due to design flaws within the bedroom.

For this reason, and I cannot stress it enough, is to invest in your bed frame, mattress and the bed linen as much as your budget will allow. Have you ever slept on one of those awful cheap mattresses where you can actually feel the springs in your side as you sleep? It’s not an experience you’ll want to repeat! Go for a really good quality mattress that is firm enough to support your guests back and sleeping posture and top with a deep filled mattress topper for that soft luxurious finish. 

When it comes to sheets, always white, anti-allergy where possible and with thread counts above 200 (200TC is considered to be high quality) to provide a sumptuous hotel style feel. 

When styling the bed, make sure you’ve got 2 pillows each side for the guests as a lot of people like the choice of 1 or 2 pillows. Keep it simple and symmetrical with 2 large cushions and 2 smaller cushions to sit in front of them. This is where your design flare comes in to play as you can put a pop of colour and pattern in these to bring the design together. Layer the bed end with a throw or blanket to add to the cosy vibe.

The bed frame style will be chosen to suit the interiors aesthetic which could be in metal, wood or fabric finish. But again, quality and sturdiness is key, nobody wants a bed squeaking and wobbling beneath them while they sleep. If you can, get a frame with underbed storage – this is great for storing of clean and extra linens to save taking up cupboard space.

A bedside each side is paramount for a number of reasons, extra drawer storage (especially if the room is short on space) a place for mobile phones, a glass of water, glasses, jewellery etc to sit while you sleep. They’re also great for being able to stand a lamp on for low level lighting and accessories.

The 2 main types of lighting needed in a bedroom are the main lighting (ceiling lights) and bedside or task lights for low level lighting. It goes without saying, the main light should provide plenty of light in the bedroom, especially if you’ve gone for dark colours on the walls. Ladies (and maybe gentlemen too) how annoying is it trying to get ready and apply make up in a room with inadequate lighting? Keep that in the forefront of your mind when selecting your ceiling light.The bedside lights can be table lamps, suspended from the ceiling or wall lamps. Again this will be decided by your style and possibly space restrictions.

The window dressings can vary on style as long as they have a blackout option. So if you want light sheer style linen drapes at the side of the windows, that’s great, but make sure to include a blind of some description that can provide privacy and black out daylight, which is especially important in the summer months. 

Feature walls are still very much a thing and although their identity and style morphs with the times it’s still a great idea to use them on the bed wall. One of the biggest styles at the moment is panelling and the great news is there’s loads of different style options and is relatively inexpensive but looks very effective. The panelling can be painted in a different colour to the rest of the walls to create a contrast or them same colour to blend seamlessly.

Try to include some type of wall art on your feature wall, be that in the centre above the bed, or either side, it just brings in that style element that will set it apart from other holiday homes and ties your scheme together.

The bedroom needs ample storage for your guests needs, but don’t worry they’re not moving in forever so no need to go overkill, a wardrobe and chest of drawers for hanging and folded items are probably sufficient for their holiday needs. Shoe storage downstairs is recommended to encourage the guests to leave shoes by the door instead of trailing them all around the house.

The Living Room

A living room within a holiday home should be a nice relaxing environment where guests can come together to chill out and spend time together. Most importantly, like in the dining area, you want to consider the amount of seating needed for the amount of guests you can accommodate and have a few different types of options. Guests who like to get cosy and put their feet up would love a comfy snuggly sofa, while the older generation or people with back issues, may prefer to be sat in an armchair with more structure for their posture. A great and textbook layout would be to have a large pouffe or coffee table in the centre with the sofas and armchairs placed around them. This zones a space and creates that intimate feeling, even in a large room where the furniture can look scattered if not centred around a focal point. If you’ve got hard flooring in your living room, an even better way to zone is by using a rug under the furniture to connect it all together.

For the lighting in the living room the possibilities are endless, but as a standard you should have a main ceiling light, and any of the following; floor lamps or table lamps (space permitting) or wall lights if you don’t have space for the previous, to allow for low level lighting in the evening. An inexpensive way of really creating an indulgent atmosphere is to have lighting behind shelving or alcoves which gives off a beautiful glow and accents any accessories on display.Keep the tv on the wall where possible (this will help avoid any accidents of TV’s being knocked off units either by quick moving toddlers or clumsy adults!) and any freeview/digital boxes, DVD boxes etc hidden away in a cupboard to avoid cluttering the space.

Use shelving to really maximise on your design of the living room, adding accessories is a great way of creating a theme for the room and can be changed easily and inexpensively to revamp the space from time to time. Likewise with cushions and throws, these are great for brining colour, patterns and texture to the space and can be changed really easily if you feel like a refresh or update. 

When picking a sofa, go for middle of the road options. Cheap ones will fall apart in no time at all and wont offer your guests the comfort they desire, but overpay and that beautiful delicate fabric you picked can be destroyed before you know it.

Go for fabrics that will be durable and wont shows signs of dirt or wear and tear easily, if you can get a sofa with removable and washable covers even better as they can be cleaned periodically as needed.

Don’t forget to provide cushions and throws for your guests, not only does it provide comfort on colder evenings but it also looks great to create a snuggly environment for your photographs.

Artwork and mirrors on the walls are a great idea in a living room, mirrors can open up the space in smaller rooms, while artwork can help develop the rooms theme and style. 

The living room is probably your best room to go wild with accessorising as you’ve got the most free space to add little pops of colour in faux plants and dried flowers in vases. Have fun with it and remember, the best thing about accessorising and creating a ‘shelfie’ is it can be moved easily, meaning you can play around with it until you’re happy with the layout.

The Bathroom

Ahhh the bathroom, a place for quiet and tranquillity. At home, for most people, the bathroom is place to get in and get out while you’re doing the mad dash to get ready on a morning before work and dropping the kids off at school. So getting to have a soothing bath with a glass of wine and time to read a book is a luxury usually only reserved for holidays and weekends. 

You’re going to want to re-create this harmonious environment in your holiday home, especially if your target audience is for couples on a romantic getaway. 

If you’ve got the space and the budget, it’s always recommended having a separate shower cubicle and stand alone bath so guest have the option of which to pick.If you don’t have the space for stand alone, then a shower above a bath would be the way to go, especially if your target market is for families who have babies or young children that would really welcome having the option of using the bath for them.

Just like in the kitchen, you can add elements to create the illusion of luxury and glamour in the hardware for a reasonable price. Matt black and brass handles, taps and other hardware are super popular at the moment and can be changed for little cost a few years down the line if trends change (however I think they’ll be sticking round for a long while yet!)

Tile any areas that are potentially going to be exposed to water and splashes as a result of using the sink, drying hands etc. Tiles are much easier to clean down and keep looking fresh than painted walls. That said, opt for a split between the 2 to keep the cost down and put more into the budget to do a really high quality feature wall to create a wow factor. 

Lighting in the bathroom should be bright and allow for guests to get ready, apply make up etc. Keeping the colour scheme bright and fresh will really help with this as it wont absorb the light. You can get some really fab mirrors that have built in LED lighting either in the front of the mirror or backlit to create a soft glow which can assist in this.

Add spa-like touches by the side of the sink using luxurious looking hand soaps and hand creams in a little tray with flannels rolled up ready for use. You could even do like the hotels do and provide the guests with little miniature toiletries to use during their stay. Although things like this seem small, they go a long way with the guest, especially if they’ve forgotten to pack theirs and they can be a life saver.


Wow, we’re at the end of our crash course in holiday home interior design! This guide really just hits the basics of holiday home design but we hope It’s been a helpful insight into the kinds of things you need to consider and has set your creative juices flowing.

If its’ filled you with more dread than excitement, then please get in touch at to discuss how we’d be able to help you out with the design process.

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