top 10 holiday home tips

If you’re in an enviable position of owning a holiday home, you want to make the most of every single second you spend there. It’s like you’ve just added a dream on top of a dream right there. Just because you add the word ‘holiday’ in front of the word ‘home’ doesn’t mean you should give this home any less attention than the one that you live in most of the time. Make some good choices now and you’ll enjoy making memories in your holiday home for years to come. 

You want your holiday home to be robust and effortless. You need it to wear well no matter what you throw at it. Getting some of the basics right at the start will set you up for years of making amazing holiday memories. From flooring to furniture, to those pesky unexpected guests here’s our top 10 tips on designing your holiday home.  

Design for the location.
Design your holiday home to suit the location. If you’re beachside, a ski chalet design style will give the wrong vibe for the activities that are most likely to take place. That doesn’t mean you’ll be decorating with sea shells and starfish but it does mean that using rich warm textiles is going to make you feel hot and sweaty when all you want to do is feel cool and calm. 

Choose the right furniture.
Rest and relaxation should be a high priority, after all it’s a holiday home! Choose furniture and soft furnishings that are comfortable and allow for easy downtime. Choose fabrics that are durable and are going to handle a little bit more wear and tear than usual. When we’re on holidays, we become more relaxed and we can tend to forget some of our own home rules so make sure your pieces are fit for purpose.

Get the best light.
Many apartments and holiday homes already use natural light to their best ability but also consider how you might want to block out the hot midday sun or make the rooms dark when sleeping. If you need to update or add to the current window treatments then do so. Using a double layer is ideal so you’ve got control for both day and night.

The right flooring.
For good long-term wear and tear consider using heavy residential or commercial grade flooring. If you can, use hard flooring throughout and if you need to soften things up add floor rugs instead of carpet.

Plan ahead.
Stock your holiday home with essentials. Think cooking, washing, cleaning, linens, towels and anything you’ll need for indoor/outdoor activities. No need to cart these things with you each and every time! Less headache, more time to enjoy yourself. 

Make storage a priority.
Give storage a high priority in an apartment or any type of holiday home. If you’re looking to add extra storage without renovating adding a simple long boxed bench seat in the courtyard or on the balcony will serve as extra seating as well as bulky storage for things like surfboards, snowboards, fishing rods or beach umbrellas. Add a sturdy lock and you’ll be able to store these without the need to transport them back and forth.

More storage tips!
Many holiday homes, regardless of their size, will have simple shelving units in the kitchen so swapping these for pull-out baskets will free up a lot of wasted space. Leave the doors and just replace the shelves with pull-out baskets. Improving the internal workings of your kitchen cabinetry will give you that much needed extra storage for other items such as linens, towels or board games.

Choose hard working furniture.
Choose furniture that is hard-wearing, washable or easy to wipe clean. Removable washable covers are a great option as are stackable items. Make these work even harder by looking for items that incorporate storage. Obvious items like the TV cabinet provide great storage, but think beyond this. There are many sofas, chaises and ottoman options with built in storage that will make your apartment stay clean and your time spent there so much more enjoyable.

Extra guests.
Depending on the size of your holiday home, you may consider including a sofa-bed for those unexpected or extra guests. Although these are only used infrequently, purchase one with a spring mattress rather than foam so that your guests wake up refreshed. Sofa beds though are not the only option. If you’re really tight for space you could look at a fold down bed that can be cleverly concealed when it’s not being used. I’ve got one in my office that sits within a wardrobe space so its packaged away most of time, but when guests stay it folds out from within the wardrobe. There are a stack of ingenious ideas on where and how you can install a fold away bed.

The right temperature.
If your apartment is in a warm climate install ceiling fans to ensure a comfortable, good nights sleep without the need to run the air-conditioning all night long. And if you’re in a cool climate, consider under floor heating for that touch of luxury.

This article was first published 23 January 2019. Update published 7 October 2020.

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