Tips for Furnishing Your Vacation Rental

Our team has been inside a countless number of vacation rentals in the Lowcountry.  We have seen what works, and what doesn’t work, with owner furnishings.  Here are some helpful tips for choosing furniture, decorations and other home items that will stand the test of time!


Pots and Pans – We consistently get complaints from owners about how quickly their non-stick pans get scratched up. Often this is because they have purchased metal cooking utensils that obviously do a number on the non-stick surface.  We recommend furnishing your vacation rental kitchen with non-stick pots and pans, but remember to also get utensils that are compatible with a non-stick surface.

Small Appliances – Don’t go overboard when purchasing toasters, microwaves or blenders for your vacation rental. Going super high-end will be a mistake because, inevitably, a guest will have an accident that leads to its’ demise!  We once responded to a maintenance call where a vacationer had buttered their toast before putting it in the toaster.  There was so much butter that it melted down and shorted out the toaster.  It ended up in the garbage can!


Table – Stay away from fancy finishes and glossy stains.  You want a surface that can take a multitude of spills, heat, dents and all that comes with having big groups gather around the table for a big seafood meal.  Remember that kids (and adults) are going to be leaning and sometimes sitting on the table.  Spend the money to get a DURABLE table, with a tough finish and a sturdy base.

Dining Chairs – I can’t tell you how many times we get called to do dining chair repairs.  Stay away from using dainty family heirlooms or cheap ikea chairs.  It’s best to invest in sturdy chairs that are less likely to get broken.


Couches – Simple, clean lines with materials that are easy to clean are a MUST.  Stay away from those white sofas that look so good in the magazines.  Trust us, they won’t stay that way!  Also, don’t break the bank buying super nice sofas for your vacation rental. We had a client who put a high-end leather sofa in their beach house and were super disappointed when wet bathing suits and big groups ruined the nice leather.  Keep it simple.

Electronics – Invest in a high quality television and focus on easily accessible hookups for game systems.  A lot of families bring along an Xbox or Wii and SO many owners have a web of wires, making it nearly impossible to hook up the system.  Have a good DVD player but, once again, not a unit that is too high-end.  DVD players get broken easily, so you want to be able to easily replace them–without lamenting how much you spent on the previous one.  In addition, simplify your remote situation (2, instead of 5) and provide clear instructions on how to use the TV.

Rugs – Go for neutral patterns that can easily hide stains.  Spills are definitely going to happen, so if you put in that expensive turkish rug…it’s going to get ruined!  Sand, wet footprints and guest volume means that rugs will take a beating.


Mattresses – Be sure to have plastic covers on every mattress in the home.  Bed bugs aren’t fun to talk about, but they CAN be brought it my any of your guests — and they are expensive nuisances.

Sheets and Towels – It’s all about the turn around here, folks.  Keep everything uniform and consistent — all white is best.  And, you might be sensing a theme here, but don’t go to high-end on your linens.  Sheets will get ruined, people will use towels as rags for a number of things you probably don’t even want to think about!  You want to make these easily replaceable.  For bathmats, choose the type that you see in hotels that can be washed along with the other linens.

Mirrors – We suggest putting full length mirrors in all bedrooms.  Remember that big groups and families will be sharing bathrooms. When everyone is getting ready for dinner at the same time, having mirrors in the bedrooms frees up needed bathroom time.  Seems like a small thing, but trust us…it makes a difference!


Deck furniture – It needs to be sturdy and reliable.  Cheap, plastic deck furniture will be a constant problem–for both safety and replacement.  We had some clients that replaced their metal deck furniture with a plastic set. They had to replace it twice before the end of the high season.  Those plastic rocking chairs that seem like a great deal WILL NOT LAST.  Spend a bit more money with your outdoor furniture because it takes a beating from the coastal weather AND constant usage.

In summary:

  1. If you’re going to spend money on items, spend it on durability.
  2. Nothing with a personal attachment. No family heirlooms.
  3. Focus on items that are easy to clean and maintain.

If you need help or additional advice outfitting your vacation rental, feel free to give us a call at 404-754-0242 OR email us at [email protected].