One of the biggest struggles Hawaii vacation home owners have is tastefully furnishing their properties. A lack of furnishings and home decor options combined with spending much of the year away from your vacation rental is a recipe for an uninspiring space.
Set your vacation rental apart with these seven tips from interior design professional and fellow vacation rental owner, Maisie Knowles.
1. Your Vacation Home is an Investment
First and foremost, prioritize your vacation home as an investment. With the right strategy and mindset, you can turn your vacation home into a great money maker when you aren’t using it. This change in priority will affect the decisions you make, not only while furnishing your rental, but in other aspects of management as well.
2. Don’t Make it Personal
Once your priorities are properly established, adopt the hospitality mindset of an innkeeper focused on guest satisfaction and comfort. Don’t tailor the design of your property to your personal preferences and creature comforts. Instead, think about what will appeal to a wide variety of guests.
Current and trending design styles, like coastal chic or a modern surf shack, are appropriate for furnishing a Hawaii vacation rental and are visually appealing to the majority of people. These design styles may not be your personal preference, however choosing the right interior design direction can make or break your vacation rental investment.
3. Leave Hawaii Outside
Resist the temptation to take a Hawaiian tropical theme to the max when furnishing your vacation rental. This is the approach Oprah took with her Maui home after interior designers presented her with a full tropical design complete with pineapples and giant flowers. She said, “Whoa! If I want to see Hawaii, I’ll just walk out my door.” Instead, Oprah’s final interior design is centered around an American Heritage theme.
4. K.I.S.S (Keep It Stylishly Simple)
Don’t over clutter your property with knick-knacks, unnecessary furniture and decor items. Simple design touches such as a large piece of wall art, a few colorful throw pillows, or faux greenery might be all you need to make a living room feel welcoming. These small designer touches will keep your property looking fresh, clean and tidy. Plus, your cleaning staff will appreciate less surfaces that need to be dusted.
Continue this simplicity in bedrooms and bathrooms by using white bed linens and towels. These hotel style linens quickly convey the cleanliness that a guest is looking for. Add a simple pop of color on the bed with throw pillows and a blanket at the foot of the bed.
5. Source Furnishings Off Island
With very few stores in Hawaii dedicated to quality furnishings and home decor, most vacation rentals end up with the same boring tropical prints and wicker furniture. Don’t settle for this. Instead, take your search online, starting with retailers that have a brick and mortar presence on your island. Oftentimes, these retailers will ship items to the store, free of charge or at a reasonable rate. Some online stores that I like to use are Target, Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot and Amazon Prime.
6. Stock All The Right Things
Aside from furnishings, it’s important to stock areas like the kitchen and closets with appropriate items. A kitchen should have enough flatware and dinnerware for the number of guests a property can host and then some, along with standard kitchen appliances and cookware. Closets can store things for families traveling to Hawaii, such as a pack and play, highchair and sand toys, in addition to hangers, an iron and ironing board.
Guests visiting Hawaii have come to expect beach chairs, beach umbrellas, beach towels, a cooler and ice packs to be readily available within a vacation rental. A great host will go a step further by including recreational items like snorkel gear, body boards, tennis racquets, board games and books.
7. Ask for help
Furnishing and stocking a vacation rental is a daunting task that you do not have to do alone. Enlisting the help of an interior designer with experience in vacation rentals will save you on costly mistakes and get your property ready to rent as quickly as possible.
With an interior designer on your side, you will also gain their expertise on quality furnishings and receive access to custom designer furnishings that will help your property stand out from the competition.
Maisie Knowles is a residential interior designer specializing in complete vacation rental design on Maui. Maisie and her husband own the luxury vacation rental brand Knowles Maui, and consistently receive 5-star reviews as AirBnB Superhosts and Vrbo Premier Partners.
Maisie currently resides in Northern Colorado with her family, while spending several months a year on Maui working and enjoying the island life.