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Designing a Vacation Home (Hint: It isn't with furniture leftovers)

Nobody wants to sit on a sofa that looks like it came from your grandmother's basement. That's not a hard one to figure out. But the Pros who own successful vacation rental properties know more about not only what should go into a home to attract a visitor, but also what kind of furniture and decor qualifies to be there.

1. Contract Grade

"Can a 2-year-old jump off of it and survive?" This is a question my client, who owns several successful vacation properties, posed as we were looking for coffee tables. No flimsy furniture will do in a qualified vacation home. Look for items that are contract grade. This means they have been built and tested to hold up to commercial use.

2. Performance Fabrics

That patterned hand-me-down sofa that barely fills the space will never impress a guest who will pay a premium to spread out on a comfy sofa that hasn't been questionably used for 30 years. Especially if it's a long stay. As Shania Twain says, that don't impress me much. Fabrics on everything from sofas and chairs to headboards will take a beating. Performance fabrics are generally rated to take up to 40,000 rubs and will not rip, pill, or fade with use. Fabrics are a huge factor in what you present to prospective guests, and will play a role in not only how much you can get for your nightly rate, but what you invest over time to keep replacing upholstery or furniture, or what you will sacrifice with just one bad review.

3. Surfaces Over Storage

Honestly, I think I can only remember one time when I put clothes from my suitcase into a hotel dresser. And I don't think I have ever used a nightstand drawer. You're on vacation and probably being a slob, so just put it on top of the nightstand, am I right? Side tables are a more affordable option than nightstands, as long as they are sturdy. In a small space, a bench can replace a dresser. You can also opt for a three-drawer dresser instead of paying for a full-sized dresser with six drawers.

4. Luxury is Spelled L I N E N S

With several loads of laundry to do between guests, most cleaning crews are up against the wire with a small window to get everything washed, dried, and presentably back on the bed. Splurge in the comfort department and think layers with bedding options. Ditch the duvet and opt for a duvet insert wedged between the top sheet and a decorative blanket on top. This eliminates time buttoning and unbottoning a duvet, and is technically one less sheet. Let the climate dictate your sheet choices. Your guests will notice.

5. Be Safe or Be Sued

The only thing worse than a terrible review is a lawsuit. There are plenty of items to avoid when it comes to a vacation rental. Glass is no good. Neither are rugs with fringe. Reducing the number of breakable items in your vacation rental is paramount to creating a safe space for guests of all ages. Rugs can create tripping hazards, so choose durable, low-pile options, and maybe consider taping them down on the bottom with double-sided tape to make sure nothing can flip up.

6. It's the Little Things, Especially in The Kitchen

The comforts of home go beyond just a coffee pot and casserole dishes. This Summer, we stayed in a gorgeous Airbnb in Sedona, Arizona. In my review of what the host could do better, I admitted that I felt like a jerk, but did say it would have been preferable to have an ice maker in the refrigerator. But it's a realistic critique. We went to the grocery store, several miles away, at the beginning of the trip, BEFORE filling up flasks of water and realizing we would need to refill ice cube trays or take another trip to the store. Luxury rentals with luxury rentals should have luxury amenities, all the way down to the ice maker.

Visit to book this stunning vacation rental in St. George, Utah.

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