Setting up a holiday let, to ensure that the home is both appealing and practical, doesn’t happen by accident. By following the advice below you can be certain that your property will stand out from the crowd.
Before any improvements to the property are implemented, scaled plans of the property, and possible furniture layouts, should be drawn up. These will guarantee the best use of the available space and will inform all elements of a refurbishment – namely lighting positions, radiator locations and plumbing routes – well ahead of any furniture choices.
MAKING AN ENTRANCE
Make a good first impression with an organised porch. A practical porch, or defined entrance area, will defend your interior from the spread of wet, muddy or sandy clothing. Plan for plenty of boot and shoe storage, with pigeon holes and wellie trees. Provide plenty of pegs (the more the merrier), as these help to keep clutter off the floor. If there is a utility/boot room consider the addition of a walking boot warmer for appeal to the top end of the market.
Really comfortable furniture should be obligatory – but bulky designs should also be avoided. The scale of seating should suit the demands of a cosy cottage or a cavernous, open plan living room. Mix it up here, and resist the temptation to buy all from one source. Your interior should appear to have evolved and should include pieces that appear to have been gathered over time, with an eclectic appeal.
Underfloor heating maintains comfortable room temperatures throughout the year and maximises available floor area for furniture. It also encourages dogs to stay on the floor! Combined with an easy to light, modern wood burner (and a plentiful supply of chopped wood) the essential cosiness of your property is assured.
Choose furnishing fabrics with great care! Explore the growing number of fabrics with enhanced technical features, such as complete resistance to spillages! Consider loose covers for your upholstery – even contemplate Summer and Winter sets for even greater seasonal appeal and photo opportunities. Use replaceable scatter cushions to add pattern, and convey the style of your interior.
Furnish the walls with interesting art. Perhaps engage with local artists for your inspiration, and for work that will resonate with visitors. You might even negotiate to include their studios in your visitor’s guide – for exclusive access for your guests.
More generally, settle upon an interesting neutral paint colour, against which all colours look good, and opt for those boasting a wipeable surface.
Relaxed guests will have a happy stay – and are more likely to return. Supply throws and blankets for sofas and chairs – for snuggling up and for protection from general wear and tear. Make it easy for your guests to respect your home! Include seasonal room diffusers – fresh scents for Spring, spiced aromas for Winter
BEDROOMS AND BATHROOMS
in the most comfortable beds that your budget permits, and protect that
investment with mattress protectors and mattress toppers. These can be easily
laundered or replaced, whilst a good mattress will last for 10-15 years if
Selection of “ottoman” style bed bases below the mattress will provide ample storage for “turn around” linen – all of which should, of course, be fresh, white and 100% natural.
As far as the property allows, do plan for a healthy ratio of washrooms to bedrooms. In bathrooms consider fully tiled walls – both for design appeal, but also to diminish the annual decorating exercise. Include generous towel radiators (on concealed timers) and plenty of ledges/shelves. Stand-alone showers are more appealing than those over a bath, and if you do find room for a bath – look at double-ended models.
Remember the lighting rules in these intimate spaces, and provide for ambience, tasks and even a night light.
LIGHTING AND TECHNOLOGY
Your furniture plans should inform your lighting design, but the choice of fittings is one of the most important keys to creating an appealing interior – in any property. Blend task with ambient lighting, but ensure that all lighting is “indirect” – ensuring that the source (the lamp/bulb) is shielded to prevent unpleasant glare. All lighting should be LED (to minimise running costs) but do consider the option to dim some circuits, and offer multiple lighting circuits that allow flexibility for the visitor.
Select fittings that are neither fragile nor precious, and mix it up! Combine selective use of downlights with “pocket of light” floor lamps (for reading) and softly shaded wall lights. Include a statement table lamp in a protected corner, and quirky pendants above a table. No holiday let should be without effective, dependable WIFI and a Smart TV (unless escape from technology is your USP). Even the inclusion of “Alexa” style gadgets might appeal for its novelty (as I write) and will surely become “de rigeur” before long.
Practical, hypoallergenic, pet and child friendly – the criteria is demanding! However, there has never been a broader range of appropriate floor coverings available. Timber floors still hold great appeal – but this “look” can also be achieved with convincing porcelain or vinyl planks. Bleach cleanable woven carpet offers the appearance of seagrass (without the drawbacks) and vinyl versions of the same idea are an outstanding, durable choice for small bathrooms. In all areas, consider the addition of forgiving rugs and runners (even machine washable products are now available) – for protection, but also their furnishing value.
Aside from the requisite “tick” list of appliances and equipment, a stylish and inexpensive Nespresso machine is still regarded as a treat for many visitors, away from home. On the floor selected one of the many design-led vinyl floors, to complement adjacent flooring, as these are soft underfoot and more forgiving for falling crockery.
If you follow these guidelines you will have a property that singles itself out and will photograph well. For the photoshoot itself, do not overlook the opportunity to convey the atmosphere, at different times of the day, the quality of furnishings and the outlooks. You might even consider “staging” a dinner party so that prospective guests can envisage themselves in your home.
Ashton House Design