Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Decorating a Holiday Rental - The Kitchen/Dining Space

Above: A holiday rental in Alabama with cabinets by Vance and Sons 

Want to find out how to create a desirable holiday home on a limited budget, today we focus on the kitchen/dining area. This is part of a series of posts to help get maximum bookings for your holiday rental.

The past few weeks I've been focusing on rental properties with advice on curb appeal, home staging and photography tips, (links at the end of this post). I will also be writing a post on advertising a rental, and although I am not covering payment or rent collection, you may be interested later to read an informative post on Best Strategies for Collecting Rent on Time from Guenther Management. 

The most important point to remember when it comes to decorating a holiday rental is to make sure it appeals to a wide audience. My recommendations are to keep things neutral, such as painting walls and ceilings a shade of white. A light, neutral palette throughout will add a sense of space. Keep colour and pattern limited to soft furnishing and decor pieces and make sure there is continuity throughout the house.

The Kitchen:

If you are building or replacing existing cabinetry, keep your cabinets a light colour, a warm shade of white works well in almost every situation. If you have dark, wooden cabinets I would suggest re-painting them white, you will be amazed how this can modernise and open up a space.

Above: A beach rental gets a makeover. Cabinet doors have been repainted, lighting updated and the dated curtain removed. This inexpensive makeover has given the kitchen an entirely new look for much of the cost of a can of paint - Image via Beachbrights

Bench Tops:

If you are building a new kitchen or renovating an old one, I recommend stone/granite bench tops, this can be expensive, however there are many engineered stone/granite surfaces that are reasonably priced and look the real deal. Stone, engineered or otherwise, will last for many years and there is less chance of damage by someone leaving a hot pan on a surface, so in the long run, it is worth the initial extra outlay. One warning I would give you is not to use 'natural marble in a holiday or rental home as it will stain easily.

Keep surfaces clear, less clutter, means less breakage to items. Have a designated cupboard for all your dinnerware and glassware. Use white dinnerware, this makes it easy to replace any broken items. Pottery Barn, Freedom, even Target and K-Mart have basic white dinnerware that can be purchased at low cost. For only $25.87 you can purchase a, Corelle 16 piece set from K-Mart. 

I am not going to list kitchen items for your rental, however I will advise a 3 bedroom let to purchase sets of 8, eg; 8 glasses, plates, beakers etc. You should have a well equipped kitchen, you don't want guests complaining there was no toaster or microwave etc. It is also nice to include a welcome pack for your guests which you can leave on the kitchen island or dining room table where it's easy to find. There is a post on holiday let welcome packs at Promote my which will give you ideas as to what you should include and little extras you may want to think about.

Above: keep bench top surfaces clear apart from a few decorative pieces. A pop of green does wonders in an all white space

Above: Keep things organised, this draw divider make it easy for people to find necessary kitchen items. You can purchase plastic draw dividers quite reasonably at DIY stores -  images above, via Sola Kitchens


Have good lighting in your kitchen. You can update the look of a kitchen by adding or replacing lights above an island bench. I like to see two or 3 lights hanging over a kitchen island, depending on its length. Replacing or adding a light fitting can make a huge impact on the space. I wouldn't advise glass shades as they are the can show grease and dirt and need weekly cleaning (spoken from experience). Kitchens and open plan kitchen/living areas will have more grease in the air, a magnet for light fittings. Also, an expel air fan is a 'must' in a kitchen and bathrooms.

Above: 3 lights look great over this kitchen island - Image via Sola Kitchens 

Above: Cane lights are economical options and add texture to a space - Image via Vanessa Wood Interiors  who has beautifully decorated this budget holiday rental
Above: Shelving can be an economical option instead of wall cupboards. Make sure it is wide enough to stack some breakfast bowls, side plates and if possible dinner plates - Design via Elizabeth Lawson Design 

Above: Image via Allee Architecture & Design

Above: A tiny kitchen eating area with all the requirements - Image via Gunther Wachgekusst

Above: In a small rental that has no room for a dining table, a breakfast bar with stools is the perfect solution -  Image via OSR Interiors and Building Design

The Dining Space:

Your dining space may be within the kitchen itself, adjacent or a separate room, whatever space you have, make sure your table is the right size and shape for the room. A round table that can extend is perfect for smaller spaces. If you have plenty of space, you could opt for a larger, rectangular table. Choose a table that suits the surrounding decor. If you have a beach house with whitewashed floors, opt for a light oak or washed wood or even a white painted table. If you are on a very tight budget search EBay etc for a second hand table you could paint yourself. However, IKEA has tables that are perfect for a holiday rental with some as low as $89. Look at options such as an extending table that will take up minimum space but allow for extra seating should it be required.

As far as materials are concerned, a lot of the cheap tables can be made from veneer and high density fibre, I wouldn't advise these as with much wear and tear they will deteriorate. If the paint or veneer gets damaged and water is spilt, the wood will swell. There are economical options for wooden tables and after a few years of wear and tear you can sand it back, give it a coat of polyurethane and it will look like new.


This is where you can have some fun, personally I wouldn't try to match your chairs with your table. You could buy a set of second hand chairs and have them spray painted professionally or paint them yourself to look like new. Alternatively you can buy a new set from somewhere like IKEA. I would advise a set of matching chairs or a combination of bench seat and chairs depending on your table and space. As far as materials are concerned, solid wood, polycarbonate, anything durable, sturdy and easy to clean. I would not recommend upholstered chairs for a dining table unless they are loose covered and easy to wash. 

Above: This set of provincial style chairs suit coastal and country rentals - Image via Vanessa Wood Interiors 
Above: A small, circular rustic table fits perfectly in this tight corner. The comfortable stools make it easy to get in and out of this small space - Image via Dalgleish Construction Company
Above: Metal chairs are cheap and durable and look great against this rustic wooden table - Image via Collected Interiors
Above: The reverse, a white polycarbonate style table and wooden chairs makes a more contemporary statement- Design by Kate Hayes Design
Above: Pair up some chairs with a bench seat. In this situation, the bench seat allows a better view through the adjacent window - Design by Elad Gonen 

This series is to make you think about how you can improve your holiday rental, it may even be an eye opener as to why your place may have too many vacancies. There are thousands of properties advertised on the Internet and you want to make your property stand out, but that doesn't mean bright colours and weird and wonderful furniture. It needs look beautifully restful and welcoming, and above all pristine. Next week I will be discussing furnishing and decorating the bedrooms in a holiday rental. You may be surprised to see how easy it is to have your rooms looking hotel standard once I show you how to dress these spaces properly.

Missed the previous posts, you can catch up here...

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