The promise of sunshine, a breeze, and the sound of waves continues to have a strong appeal among vacationers. Forty-two percent of Americans plan to take a vacation this year – and most of these are heading to a warm-weather destination, according to a survey by AAA.
If you’re in the process of getting a beach rental ready for visitors, or are considering updating the one you have, setting the right tone can have a big impact. “Try to create a home away from home for your guests,” suggests Art Freedman, CEO of Max Warehouse.
Follow these guidelines to furnish your beach rental in a way that will entice vacationers back for another stay.
1. Bring in the sea with color.
Since guests will likely arrive with sand and waves on their mind, taking steps to incorporate those sensations into your home can enhance their experience.
Consider painting walls and shelves a soft yellow or blue to set a beach mood. Natural shades such as beige, white and gray can help set a whimsical look too.
Then look for places where stronger tones will stand out. “Have bright colored, ocean-themed prints on the walls,” advises Freedman. “Bright orange, yellow and blue throw rugs can bring sunshine inside even on rainy days at the beach.”
2. Use accessories to reflect a laid-back lifestyle.
If your place is near a popular fishing spot, think about putting a sign by the entryway reading “Gone Fishing” or “Live Love Fish.” Another option: add a set of wooden boat paddles to the living room. Small touches such as a fish table lamp, fish on a string, or a fishing basket holder for toothpicks can be sprinkled throughout the home as well.
For a beach theme, try adding large seashells to tables or shelves, suggests Freedman. Fill hurricane lanterns with shells or sea glass. Put up a sign that states “Fun in the Sun” or “The Beach is my Happy Place” near the door. And for a statement in the main room, consider hanging whale art or adding starfish-designed throw pillows.
To provide a layer of comfort, “opt for finishing touches that enhance your guests’ experience,” suggests Jim Kabel, owner and general manager of Case Design/Remodel, a design and remodeling firm based in San Jose. This might include an updated master bathroom with spa elements such as clean white towels and locally made soaps.
3. Help guests stay organized.
“With a beach house, it is a great idea to keep a location for flip flops,” says Elizabeth Dodson, co-founder of HomeZada. “These simple shoes seem to get lost easily if there is not a central location for all the pairs.”
Consider placing a basket or rack near the door for all footwear. Create a spot where towels and beach bags can easily be hung after spending some time at the shore. Place woven baskets or trays in rooms so travelers have an easy spot to place items such as sunglasses, keys, books and phones.
“Outside amenities are crucial,” adds Freedman. If you have a patio area with beach chairs, consider adding a closet or space outside where items can be stored when they are not in use. To make an outdoor grill simple to use, keep all grilling utensils in one spot that guests can easily find.
4. Stock the kitchen with essentials.
“Have a well-accessorized kitchen with a coffee maker, wine chiller and Belgium waffle maker,” suggests Freedman.
Also invest in a high quality blender that can handle crushing ice. Since visitors may eat outside, stock cupboards with solid acrylic dishes. Outdoor table linens or plastic placemats will be appreciated as well. Margarita glasses and colorful plates can help set a festive tone at mealtime.
If you keep a cooler, ice and a beach blanket on hand, families will be able to pack a lunch or snacks to enjoy at the beach.
5. Add protection from the elements.
“All beach homes have common enemies – salt air, sand, mold, mildew and storms,” notes artist and designer Pablo Solomon.
Putting in an outdoor shower or hose can help guests clean off sand and sunscreen before entering the home. When purchasing furniture for a deck, look for fabric that is salt water and sand resistant.
To keep indoor furniture in good condition, consider slipcovers that can be removed and laundered as needed.
Since tabletops can quickly accumulate dirt and moisture, consider covering them with a protective layer. “Glass tops on all tables are great to prevent scratches and watermarks,” notes Kabel.
For outdoor decorations, try using large, colorful pots for sturdy plants such as cacti and succulents. “These make a huge visual impact and can withstand wind,” explains Kabel.