How to Furnish a Vacation Home – 2024 Guide

Whether you’ve purchased a beachside cottage for you and your family to enjoy as a second home or are taking the plunge into the vacation rental market, how you choose to furnish your vacation home will have a huge impact on those who stay there. The experience a family has when coming in from a long day of enjoying the sun and sand can make or break a vacation experience.

Most people don’t visit the beach in order to feel the same way they do at home. The change in surroundings is part of the experience of getting away from it all. With that in mind, let’s talk about a few ways you can make sure every trip to your vacation home is memorable in all the right ways.

Showcase the area


Let’s face it: no one visits a vacation home just to be in a different house. The operative word in the term “beach house” is beach not house!

As with all interior design work, you should begin furnishing by deciding on a color pallet. Colors should be appropriate to the environment that drew in your visitors in the first place. If the draw is bright sandy beaches, use light blues, tans, and whites reminiscent of sand, seashells, and sunshine. If your draw is a deep cape with excellent fishing, choose rocky grays and deep blues to evoke the mystery of the deep.

Keep the color scheme in mind as you decide on the theme and art for your home. Do your best to (tastefully) bring as much of the festive feeling of the beach experience into your home as you can. Choose wall art that celebrates the wind and waves. Furnish with ceiling fans that will make guests feel more like they are at a resort in Cabo than just another house.

One of the easiest tricks you can use to bring the beauty of the outdoors into your vacation home is the clever placement of mirrors. If you’ve got a killer ocean view from windows on one wall, put a few mirrors opposite the windows. The reflection will feature that amazing view from more than one direction. As a bonus, mirrors almost always make a room look bigger than it is, giving the illusion of a larger space!



It’s important to show intentionality in decorating a vacation home. Having a hodgepodge of differing tables, couches, and chairs can make it seem as if furnishing the home was an afterthought. Worse, it can ruin the carefully curated aesthetic you’re going for if it looks like you used assorted secondhand furniture.

The best way to avoid this is by purchasing a matching set of furniture. When you incorporate a matching set, it’s much easier to choose a suite that creates a cohesive picture for your vacation home. You can shop locally or buy quality furniture for your vacation home online on 1stopbedrooms. Pick a set that meshes well with the color scheme you’ve already got going but still reflects your area well. Nautical blues and cream or pearly whites work well in beach houses.

Also make sure the material of your furniture is a good match for the environment, particularly for vacation homes right next to the ocean. Opting for a material that can be vacuumed easily will add years to the life of your furniture because you’ll be able to get that abrasive sand out of cushions. It’s also a good idea to invest in a sturdy rug that can be beaten out or washed between visitors. Rugs are a better choice than carpets in any room because they clean up better, can be replaced far more easily, and can be updated as trends change, click here for more information. This leads us to our next point:

Stay up-to-date


When your guests visit your vacation home, you want to make sure they feel like they’re stepping into a retreat, not back in time!

It can be easy to get complacent on this point, but the expense is worth the reward. When on vacation, visitors are choosing to escape from the stresses of life, often at a significant cost. The last thing you want to do is cheapen that experience for them because you thought you could squeeze another year or two out of that old microwave. Dealing with outdated furnishings and appliances can feel like an affront to vacationers who took money out of savings to have a nice time with family. While you might save a little money in the short run, a single bad review that mentions how “cheap” the owner was can be devastating to prospects for landing future reservations.

You can squeeze a little more life out of your furnishings by choosing styles that are more “timeless” than others. Stainless steel appliances have shown good sticking power over recent decades, and the appearance might help cover the fact that your refrigerator might not be as smart as the newest model. Leather furniture, while expensive, is very durable and has proven to be a lasting style. Just make sure whatever you choose matches the theme you’ve been working toward.

Feature local flavor


This will be more difficult in some areas than others. If you can feature local artists’ paintings or photographs of local attractions, you’ll be making your home look more like an extension of their destination. It has the added effect of promoting attractions in your area to your customers. The more they enjoy what’s around your home, the more likely they are to be repeat renters. It also gives you, as the owner, a touch of credibility as a knowledgeable local.

If you follow these four tips, your vacation home will be more than just another house. It will be an escape, an extension of the environment that drew you there in the first place. Visitors that notice these details are bound to mention them in their reviews. Visitors that don’t notice them will wonder why they enjoyed your home so much. Either way, you’ve succeeded!

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