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Pulling In The Guests

Pulling In The Guests

Mary-anne Tobin, of Design Addiction, shares her knowledge around how to best style your holiday rental.

By: Mary-anne Tobin

24 October 2023

Choose a design style which fits with the architecture of your property.

What design style would you like for your short-term rental: farmhouse, modern, rustic, coastal or traditional?

If you are unsure, look at the architecture of your property. If you have a villa, architectural features could be crown moulding, colonial detailing, high ceilings or wooden flooring. In this instance a farmhouse style may be more suitable as your preferred design. If you have a modern apartment with large windows and open living, a modern style may be better.

Now that you have your design style, set a colour scheme. Neutral earthy hues set a relaxing and calming tone which works well with existing wooden features. Brass adds warmth to your property. Resene Amaranth, from the 2024 collection, is a popular choice as an earthy tone. If you’re looking for classic neutral, you can’t go wrong with Resene Seafog which contrasts nicely against darker hues.

Create a great impression with your entrance space.

First Impressions

The first impression starts with a great entrance. When a guest walks into your property it is the entry point that dictates what to expect going forward. Place a console near the front doorway, for practicality and aesthetics. A popular option is to add an oversized circular or decorative mirror above the console.

Next add a large vase or table lamp either side of the mirror (varying heights help create visual interest).

Add a stack of books in front of the mirror with a small bowl on top (for guests to store their keys). This may also prevent scratching to furniture. If you have the budget or garden, add fresh flowers or foliage to the vase.

Group a collection of pieces on your coffee table.

Enhance The View

If you have a view, then emphasise this by bringing the outdoors in. Use artwork that mimics the exterior setting; it adds repetition and flow. For example, if you have a rural or native setting, choose artwork that relates to the greenery. If this is a beach house, then a coastal print would be more suitable. A small floral painting in the kitchen may be appropriate for a beautiful garden view.

If you have space in the master room, then always invest in a full-length mirror. These are a great touch; your guests can see themselves before heading out for dinner and use it for a quick touch-up. It also adds dimension to a room and can help reflect outdoor views.

Round bread or chopping boards against the splashback add texture.

Finishing Touches

I always play by the rule less is more, and where possible add texture. For example, using fresh linen in your kitchen such as a soft waffle-textured tea towel. Add a soap dispenser by the kitchen sink (I love to pair a soap and moisturiser dispenser in the bathroom for added luxe). Adding fresh flowers in a vase or palm leaves will give an organic feel, adding movement to a room. Lean breadboards against the splashback in the kitchen; add a couple of oil or vinegar dispensers near the stovetop; place a wooden spoon on a ceramic spoon rest (on trend). Round shapes will always help soften a room. Here are more kitchen styling touches:

  • cookbook on a stand
  • stacked bowls on open shelving (organic in shape)
  • large round breadboard placed/leaning against the wall
  • vase to hold functional yet display items such as a rolling pin, wooden spoon, salad mixers
  • for a country vibe add fresh herbs in the kitchen
Fresh flowers or palm leaves in a vase add movement.
Round shapes will soften the feel of your room.

Capture The Breeze

An outdoor setting can add viewings to your listing; visual appearances create and recall memories. I like to think of every room as an editorial opportunity; how better to sell your short-term rental than with a stunning picture of an outdoor setting.

If there’s room, place a circular outdoor table with two chairs. Style this with a water carafe and two glasses; add a lemon slice to each glass and ice. Place a magazine on the table, with a cushion on each outdoor chair for added comfort and style, then take a snap!

Outdoor planters can also add life to images. Find a romantic cue with overhead fairy lights; add a rug with a tall and short floor lantern and citronella to make it more usable.

Outdoor planters can bring life to your images.

Found Is Free

I love the expression “found is free”. We live in a country with such beautiful surroundings, look outside for decor inspiration; think driftwood, branches, a jar of shells (may be more suitable for coastal property). Try grouping a collection of pieces (vignette) on a coffee table for conversation. When grouping decor, a key rule is using three, five or seven – items appear to look more aesthetic by grouping in odd numbers. Varying heights also adds layering.

It’s the small details that help unify a home. If you have existing accents, such as brass handles or hinges, touch on them to establish flow from room to room by adding related decor such as a brass picture frame or small brass ornament.

The Candles

Candles are debatable. They are a beautiful touch, yet some may be sensitive to the smell, and they can be seen as a fire hazard. Popular choices such as french pear, cinnamon and vanilla, caramel, coconut and lime are some of my favourites. A room spray provides optional choice.

Personally, I like to spray underneath the kitchen rubbish bag, you can also buy scented rubbish liners to disguise odours. For the WC, a diffuser may be a better option; it lasts longer and does not leave residue.