The difference between decorating a rental investment and a holiday home investment is that where a rental property must be very neutral to suit all tastes, a holiday home can feel a lot more like your own personal home and should have a very comfy, lived-in, child-friendly ambience.
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According to the holiday rental companies, the very traditional, cosy cottages let the best. If you have an inglenook fireplace you will score very highly. A thatched roof also appeals, as does a country-style kitchen. Remember, these people want an idealistic vision of the country style for a maximum of two weeks. They’re not investing a lifetime in your property.
If you want to make money out of a holiday home you will need repeat business, therefore the furnishings and décor are an important part of guaranteeing that. If a family are happy and comfortable in your home they will return year after year. They need to be warm, have space and be able to sleep well. There is nothing worse than an uncomfortable bed.
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If you can provide facilities such as a swimming-pool, table-tennis, sauna, tennis court etc. then obviously that would be a bonus but it’s not really necessary. The holiday cottage companies will send you lists of what you should provide which will include extras such as a cot, a high-chair, a stair-gate, an extra foldaway bed etc. and washing facilities with full instructions.
Checklist for furnishing a holiday home
The style should be cosy and warm.
Choose hard-wearing fabrics.
Keep chintziness to a minimum but make it cosy, not sterile.
Use warm colours in fabrics and upholstery.
Choose a heavy-duty carpet.
Leave pictures, vases and rugs around to create a home from home.
Buy good quality mattresses as they last longer and ensure repeat business.
Make sure the heating is efficient and plenty of hot water can be provided.
Provide good, clean linen.
Provide extra duvets, blankets and pillows.
There should be plenty of comfy chairs and sofas.
There must be a TV, DVD, video and stereo. (Some even provide a good selection of videos.)
Bathrooms don’t need to be up to the minute but a white suite is preferable and a shower is a plus.
The kitchen should be fully equipped with enough crockery for however many the house can sleep. (Everything will be on the list). Good cutlery is a plus.
The whole place must exude a pleasant, comfortable air that makes people feel relaxed. That is the idea of a holiday, after all.
Washing machine and dryer should have instructions nearby.
One of the bedrooms should have twin beds.
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Your house will be graded by an inspector from one of the holiday companies (if you choose to go through them) and they are likely to offer advice on any changes they deem necessary. They want you to get the highest rent, so they get a higher commission! Obviously, the more your house has to offer in terms of style, comfort, location and facilities the higher the grading will be. A grand Georgian rectory with eight bedrooms is bound to be in a higher band than a two-bedroom cottage but it won’t necessarily let as frequently.
The regulations regarding gas, fire and electrical safety are the same as for non-holiday lettings so all furnishings must meet fire protection standards and upholstery fabrics must be fire retardant.